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LiverKick.com Heavyweight Rankings

  • Published in Rankings

Heavyweight

1. Alistair Overeem
2. Peter Aerts
3. Semmy Schilt
4. Remy Bonjasky
5. Badr Hari
6. Gokhan Saki
7. Kyotaro
8. Ewerton Teixeira
9. Daniel Ghita
10. Hesdy Gerges
11. Tyrone Spong
12. Jerome Le Banner
13. Nathan Corbett
14. Errol Zimmerman
15. Ashwin Balrak
16. Ruslan Karaev
17. Zabit Samedov
18. Brice Guidon
19. Melvin Manhoef
20. Pavel Zhuravlev
21. Mourad Bouzidi
22. Anderson Silva
23. Rico Verhoeven
24. Mighty Mo
25. Raul Catinas

Welcome to the first edition of our LiverKick.com rankings.  These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 25 fighters in two different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 77kg limit, and Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit.  We'll be posting rankings on roughly a quarterly basis, with the inaugural Middleweight rankings out tomorrow.  Before we discuss, I want to stress that all rankings are inherently subjective, and are sure to ruffle a few feathers.  To be clear, our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses, and as such, we hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand.

The biggest talking point here is likely the ascension of a new #1.  Alistair Overeem, with only 14 pro kickboxing fights to his credit, rises to the top spot by becoming the 8th man to win the K-1 Grand Prix crown.  Always a subject of controversy, many fans still view him as an outsider to kickboxing, and can't fathom The Reem as the #1 man.  But with wins over Saki, Aerts, Hari, Teixeira and Spong, plus the GP victory, it's hard to place him elsewhere.  Beyond that, there's also the question that if Overeem is not #1 - who is?

Also making a huge move up the ladder is Peter Aerts.  Aerts looked like his time near the top was at an end just a few months ago, but with a history making win over Semmy Schilt, Aerts moves into the #2 spot.  Glad to see the Dutch Lumberjack there one more time.

A few fighters are near the point of being removed from rankings due to inactivity - most notably #4 Remy Bonjasky.  Bonjasky has not fought in over a year, and may have one last fight in him before retirement.  If he doesn't announce another fight soon, it will be hard to keep him ranked.  It's a similar case with the often unreliable #16 Ruslan Karaev, who likewise has not competed since the 2009 GP Finals.  Finally, #15 Ashwin Balrak may be dropped out of the rankings, as his next few years could be spent behind bars after his 2010 cocaine bust.

Looking ahead, there are not a huge number of big heavyweight fights currently announced, which is always the case as the year ends.  A few cards are worth noting though.Alistair Overeem

At Dynamite!! on Dec. 31, #7 Kyotaro will face Gegard Mousasi under K-1 rules.  Also competing on that card are Overeem and #12 Jerome Le Banner, though both fights are under MMA rules.

January 30 marks the 2nd round in the Ultimate Glory world series event.  This round of 4 includes #6 Gokhan Saki v. Wendell Roche, and #18 Brice Guidon v. #21 Mourad Bouzidi, with the winners meeting at the April 21 finals.

Finally, It's Showtime heavyweight champion #10 Hesdy Gerges has a busy time ahead of him.  He faces #9 Daniel Ghita on March 6 in an absolute blockbuster of a fight, and Alexey Ignashov on July 3.  That Gerges v. Ghita bout could be the biggest heavyweight fight of the next 6 months, though it could see some competition from the It's Showtime/K-1 Qualifying Grand Prix event on May 21 - no names yet announced for that show, but expect some big fights.

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Let's Kill that Bobby Lashley vs. Overeem Rumor

  • Published in K-1

As with anything FEG-related, it is best to approach anything you hear like a one night stand; carefully, with protection, and to do your best to forget about it the next morning. Our friends at NightmareOfBattle learned that the Lashley vs. Overeem bout is indeed "off" -- as if it was ever truly on.

From what we are hearing currently, Lashley's management turned down the fight due to not having enough time to prepare for a bout of that magnitude, which all-in-all is a very smart move. Liver Kick is still waiting to hear back from Alistair Overeem's management as to what the future plans are, but we do know that Bobby Lashley will not be the opponent, nor will Satoshi Ishii, who is fighting Jerome Le Banner instead.

The current rumor is that Golden Glory fighters will clash in the fight that fans across the world were waiting for at this year's World Grand Prix; Alistair Overeem vs. Semmy Schilt. No word on the validity of this rumor, or if it would be DREAM or K-1 rules, but we should have more details within the next few days.

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A Look at Mousasi v. Kyotaro

  • Published in K-1

Kyotaro at the Dynamite Press ConferenceIn the recent batch of Dynamite!! 2010 fight announcements was a fight worth a closer look.  Under K-1 rules, it will be K-1 Heavyweight champion Kyotaro v. Dream LHW champion Gegard Mousasi.  This is one of only two kickboxing fights currently scheduled for Dynamite!!, and although Mousasi is primarily an MMA fighter, this is a very intriguing fight.

The backstory of this fight largely stems from Dynamite!! 2008.  There, Mousasi made his K-1 debut, easily dispatching Japanese veteran Musashi in under one round (check out today's daily fight or click here to watch).  Since then, Musashi has retired, and Kyotaro has picked up the mantle of Japan's top heavyweight, winning the K-1 heavyweight title, and scoring upsets over opponents like Gokhan Saki, Peter Aerts, and Jerome Le Banner.  Given Japan's national pride, the story here is clear - Kyotaro wants to avenge the honor of Musashi and K-1.  As the champion himself stated: "I saw Mousasi KO Musashi 2 years ago and now I want to prove that K-1 fighters are stronger... I want to win back our prestige."  That story alone gives this fight a nice edge.

In ring, the fight should deliver as well.  Mousasi is a very strong all around fighter who can not be discounted here.  Kyotaro is more experienced, but far from invincible, and if Mousasi fights a smart game, he could bring his K-1 record up to 2-0.  Kyotaro will no doubt be looking to pull Mousasi into his game and get the Dream fighter moving forward and attacking.  From there, Mousasi could be exposed to Kyotaro's beautiful counter-punching attack.  That ability to counter-punch has been the demise of fighters with considerably more stand-up experience than Mousasi, and Gegard will need to be well prepared to avoid the same fate.  I think those skills will guide Kyotaro to victory again here, but I certainly don't think it's a lock.

The Dynamite card is now shaping up nicely with 11 confirmed fights and 1 confirmed by everyone but K-1.  Here's the line-up:

 

DREAM Rules:

Andy Ologun v. Furuki Katsuaki

Hideo Tokoro v. Kazuhisa Watanabe

Hayato Mach Sakurai v. Jason High

Kazushi Sakuraba v. Marius Zaromskis

Jerome Le Banner v. Satoshi Ishii

Josh Thomson v. Tatsuya Kawajiri

MINOWAMAN v. Hiroshi Izumi

Kazuyuki Miyata v. Caol Uno

Bibiano Fernandes v. Hiroyuki Takaya

 

K-1 Rules:

Tetsuya Yamato v. Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura

Kyotaro v. Gegard Mousasi

 

Mixed DREAM/K-1 Rules:

Shinya Aoki v. Yuichiro Nagashima

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Sakuraba Injured at Dynamite

  • Published in K-1

I'm sure I'm not the only one here who holds Kazushi Sakuraba in high esteem.  One of my absolute favorite MMA fighters of all time, Saku is rightly hailed as the God of Japanese MMA.  But tonight was yet another hard to watch loss for the legend.

Facing Dream champion Marius Zaromskis, Sakuraba suffered an early ear injury that brought the fight to a close before it could get going.  The owner of one of the worst cauliflowered ears in all of MMA (and that covers a lot of ground), Sakuraba took a quick shot that popped the ear, causing it to bleed.  A few minutes later, he took another blow and immediately recoiled, holding his hand to his ear.  Doctors stepped in, and it looked like Sakuraba's ear had been partially torn away from his skull, resulting in a much needed stoppage. The stoppage was reminiscent of Kimbo Slice v. James Thompson on CBS, but unlike the Kimbo fight, we thankfully did not get any graphic footage of Sakuraba's ear.

Overall, it was a fight that didn't say much about Zarmoskis, and once again demonstarted that Sakuraba's time is done.  He's had a lot of loses recently, and sadly has looked old in those loses.  The lasting image of him here, with his hand covering his bloody ear, is not the way anyone wants to keep seeing this legend. 

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Yamato and Wicky Draw at Dynamite

  • Published in K-1

The final K-1 fight at Dynamite!! 2010 featured K-1's 63kg Grand Prix champion Tetsuya Yamato facing Dream fighter Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura.  It wasn't a fight that received a lot of hype heading into the show, but turned out to be a very entertaining affair.

Through the first two rounds, the fighters were mostly even, with Wicky perhaps edging out a slight advantage by using his speed and unorthodox style to keep tagging Yamato.  Open scoring was on, and all judges gave the first two rounds 10-10.  With no extension rounds at Dynamite!!, the fight came down to the 3rd.

Both men really stepped up their game in that 3rd round, turning in a fun final stanza.  Nishiura reverted to some of his MMA habits, making things a bit sloppy at times, but both men kept the speed up, working hard to take the win.  In the closing minute, Yamato finally started to land, rocking Wicky and stumbling him.  Great ending to the fight there and some of the best action of the night so far. 

I thought that final exchange earned Yamato the round and the win, but only one judge saw it that way.  The other two again went 10-10, resulting in a majority draw.  That's not a great result for Yamato, who sould have been able to defeat the MMA fighter, but it was the kind of fight that will earn both men new fans regardless of the outcome.

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Nagashima Knocks Aoki Out Cold

  • Published in K-1

In the odd K-1 / DREAM hybrid rules bout, it was K-1 MAX Japan champion Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima who stood supreme, knocking Aoki out cold in a dramatic finish.

The two men started with a 3 minute K-1 rules round that was marked primarily by Aoki's flopping and stalling.  Aoki spent the majority of the 3 minutes throwing himself to the ground, shooting takedowns on Jienotsu, and using a two handed clinch - basically doing anything he could to avoid standing and exchanging with the striker Nagashima, despte the rules.  It was perhaps a sound strategy, but frustrating to watch.

As they came out for round 2 and 5 minutes of MMA action, Aoki immediately went for the takedown, but was hit perfectly by a Nagashima knee and knocked completely unconcious. 

Great determination by Nagashima, who came into the MMA round at a huge disadvantage, but continued to fight his fight and earned the huge victory.  Good to see a bit of redemption for K-1 as well after Kyotaro's defeat.

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Overeem Destroys in 19 Seconds

  • Published in K-1

You knew it was a hard road for Todd Duffee.  Facing the rampaging Alistair Overeem, on short notice, under MMA rules where The Reem can use his killer knee?  That's a tall order, and unfortunately for the ex- UFC fighter, he wasn't up to it.

In just 19 seconds, Overeem landed a series of blows, including that murderous knee, to knock Duffee down and out.  Duffee's chin has been a question mark since his UFC loss to Mike Russow, but those blows would have put almost anyone away.  Such is the power of the K-1 champion.

With that win, Overeem claims the Interim Dream Heavyweight title, making him the current Dream, Strikeforce, and K-1 champion.  I know he has his detractors, but that's an impressive accomplishment.

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Dynamite!! Live Results

  • Published in Asia

Dynamite 2010Dynamite!! 2010 is currently on air at HDNet.  As it airs, we'll be updating all the results here.  A note - the HDNet broadcast is actually on a bit of a delay from the live action, but we'll be giving results as they air on HDNet.

#1 - BOB SAPP v. SHINICHI SUZUKAWA - No Fight

This fight was cancelled shortly before the event started because Sapp pulled out.  Which I guess is a new personal record for Sapp and how quickly he can get the fight over with.  No slap of Inoki fighting spirit for the Beast tonight.

#2 - ANDY OLOGUN def. KATSUAKI FURUKI - Unanimous Decision

A pretty close fight, with Ologun hurting Furuki at the very end of the 3rd and maybe winning it there.

#3 - KAZUYUKI MIYATA def. CAOL UNO - Unanimous Decision

Miyata does his thing, outwrestling Uno to a win.  He also threw a nice suplex in round 3, so that's something.

#4 - HIDEO TOKORO def. KAZUHISA WATANABE - Armbar, Rd. 3

This was ALL Tokoro, who tried roughly 274 submissions before finally locking one all the way in and tapping Watanabe.  The MAX fighter was spirited as he always is, but didn't have much to offer except energy.

#5 - HIROSHI IZUMI def. MINOWAMAN - Ground & Pound, Rd. 3

Yeesh, not a great showing here from Minowaman.  An all around somewhat lackluster fight, with Minowaman totally controlled and ineffective.  Remember folks - Minowaman vs. Super Hulks?  Good.  Minowaman vs. regular opponents?  Not entertaining.

#6 - SERGEI KHARITONOV def. TATSUYA MIZUNO - KO, Rd. 1

True to Kharitonov's new K-1 aspirations, this was all standing, with Kharitonov stalking Mizuno before crushing him with nasty punches and a kneesto put Mizuno out cold.  Brutal.

#7 - GEGARD MOUSASI def. KYOTARO - Unanimous Decision

Upset win for Mousasi here as he takes out his 2nd K-1 Japanese superstar.  Mousasi dropped him in the 2nd to take the win.  And thanks for the shout out Voice - right back at you!

#8 - YUICHIRO NAGASHIMA def. SHINYA AOKI - KO, Rd. 2

After an awkward first round of Aoki stalling, Nagashima landed a hard knee to open the MMA round, knocking the Dream champion out.  Very impressive showing from Nagashima, and a great redemption for K-1.

#9 - ALISTAIR OVEREEM def. TODD DUFFEE - KO, Rd. 1

It took The Reem just 19 seconds to stop former UFC fighter Todd Duffee with a barrage of blows, ending the American's night quickly, and earning the new Interim Dream Heavyweight title in the process.

#10 - SATOSHI ISHII def. JEROME LE BANNER - Unanimous Decision

Good fight here, but Ishii was able to control much of the action, turning in an impressive 3rd round where he almost finished JLB with a kimura.  Fans booed the decision, but it seemed right to me.

#11 - MARIUS ZAROMSKIS def. KAZUSHI SAKURABA - Doctor Stoppage, Rd. 1

With Sakuraba, you knew this could get ugly, and that's sadly what happened.  Saku's massively caulifowered ear first popped, then partly tore away from his skull, forcing the doctors to stop the fight before it even got started.

#12 - TETSUYA YAMATO v. AKIYO "WICKY" NISHURA - Majority Draw

This K-1 rules fight was an entertaining, if somewhat sloppy affair.  Both men were even going into the 3rd round, and for this fight there were no extension rounds.  Yamato connected late in the round, but it wasn't enough to get the win.  One judge gave the bout to Yamato, with the other two ruling it a draw.

#13 - JASON HIGH def. HAYATO "MACH" SAKURAI - Split Decision

I have to be honest, this was a technically sound fight with a good ending, but 13 fights in, it wasn't all that memorable.  High gets the split decision win using his superior wrestling.

#14 - TATSUYA KAWAJIRI def. JOSH THOMSON - Unanimous Decision

Thomson tried, but this was all Kawajiri.  The Crusher turned in one of his career best performances, dominating Thomson in a way very few have ever done before and taking the definitive decision

#15 - HIROYUKI TAKAYA def. BIBIANO FERNANDES - Unanimous Decision

A good contest in the main event between two very evenly matched fighters, but it was Takaya who consistently pushed ahead just a bit, winning exchanges on the feet and on the ground to get the decision win.  Takaya now claims the Dream FW championship to cap off a great 2010 for the fighter.


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Mousasi Upsets Kyotaro

  • Published in K-1

In one of the 2 K-1 rules fights at Dynamite!! 2010, Dream fighter Gegard Mousasi improved his K-1 record to a perfect 2-0 with an upset win over Kyotaro.  The K-1 Heavyweight champion came into the fight looking to avenge fellow K-1 fighter Musashi's loss to Gegard in 2008, but instead found himself added to Mousasi's mantle.

The first round was close, with both Kyotaro effectively using his superior skills to keep Mousasi at bay.  But in the 2nd, Kyotaro slowed down and Mousasi caught him, scoring a knockdown that had Kyotaro doing the proverbial chicken dance.  It looked like Mousasi would stop him in the 2nd, but Kyotaro survived until the final bell.  The decision was academic, as Mousasi easily claimed the victory on the judges' scorecards.

An unfortunate ending to an otherwise superb year for Kyotaro.

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Ishii Grinds Out Le Banner

  • Published in K-1

A year ago, the much hyped Satoshi Ishii made a dissapointing MMA debut, failing to impress at Dynamite!! 2009.  Tonight, the decorated Olympian showed off his vast improvement in the last year, defeating Jerome Le Banner in a very good fight.

For much of the fight, Ishii was able to outwrestle and control the stand-up fighter Le Banner.  But JLB is a far more skilled MMA combatant than many other kickboxers, and was frequently able to reverse Ishii and take advantage.  In the 3rd round, Ishii took clear control of the fight, locking on a tight kimura that looked to end it.  JLB gutted it out and miraculously survived, but the strong sub attempt made it clear who had won. 

Ishii took the justified unanimous decision, and interestingly, the result was booed.  I think that stems more from Japanese loyalty to JLB than displeasure with the decision, but it's pretty shocking to see a Japanese sports hero booed like that in Japan.  It was a good reminder that, although Ishii has improved, he definitely has not caught fire with the Japanese crowd as many hoped he would.

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