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Up Next for Hunt, CroCop in the UFC

  • Published in Kickboxing

Mirko CroCopLast week we talked about the much discussed Strikeforce Heavyweight tournament and why fans of K-1 and kickboxing should have some interest in these events, even if they don't care at all about Fedor Emelianenko.  Well, Strikeforce is not the only MMA game in the US to feature notable K-1 veterans, as the UFC has a handful of fights on tap worth a look.  At the moment, the UFC has 3 former K-1 heavyweights on contract (a 4th, Antoni Hardonk, quietly retired last summer with little notice), and all 3 have fights scheduled in the coming weeks.  Let's take a look at what's next for our former kickboxing names, and take a quick look at their chances:

MIRKO CROCOP vs. Brendan Schaub, UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans, March 19 - Without a doubt, Mirko CroCop Filipovic remains the gold standard by which to judge any K-1 fighter looking to make the transition to MMA.  After leaving K-1 behind in 2003, CroCop was dominant in MMA, terrorizing Pride with his brutal head kicks.  But in recent years, that dominance has looked more and more like a thing of the distant past.  He's had a lackluster 4-4 run in the UFC, and is coming in off a dull loss to Frank Mir where the former K-1 GP finalist was KO'd by jiu jitsu fighter Mir.  There were flashes of the old CroCop in his fight with Pat Barry, but those flashes are increasingly rare.  Schaub is a young fighter and relatively new to the UFC, but is currently on a 3 fight win streak.  His last win was a career best victory for him, as he defeated Gabriel Gonzaga - the man who famously CroCop'd CroCop in what was the beginning of the end for the Croatian's career.  No doubt at all I'll be rooting for CroCop here, but Schaub is young, hungry, and a deceptively tough challenge.

MARK HUNT vs. Chris Tuchscherer, UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch, February 27 - Like CroCop, Mark Hunt traded in K-1 success for a strong run in Pride.  And like CroCop, he's recently fallen on hard times in the ring.  The 2001 K-1 Grand Prix champion is on a dreadful 7 fight combined losing streak in MMA and K-1, and has not won a fight since retiring Tsuyoshi Kohsaka back in May 2006.  Recent fights have seen the once unstoppable Hunt KO'd by Melvin Manhoef and repeatedly submitted, seemingly with ease.  This show takes place in Australia, and maybe this will be a good opportunity for Hunt to take part in his final fight, as he just doesn't seem to have the drive any more.  His opponent, Chris Tuchscherer is a training partner to Brock Lesnar, and has yet to show much of note in the UFC, but I still find it hard to pick Hunt over him.  Despite Hunt's recent troubles, I'm still glad to see him in the UFC, and it's particularly satisfying that with this fight and Overeem vs. Werdum in Strikeforce, MMA fans will see two of the K-1 Grand Prix champions in action next month.

PAT BARRY vs. Joey Beltran, UFC: Fight for the Troops 2, January 22 - The least K-1 experienced fighter of the bunch, Barry is also the youngest and the one with the most potential for a future MMA career.  While CroCop and Hunt are winding down their decorated careers, the 31 year old Barry seems to be just getting started.  Barry competed in a handful of K-1 events from 2005-2007, with his biggest wins coming against Gary Goodridge and Rickard Nordstrand.  A former Ernesto Hoost trainee, Barry has now been in the UFC for just over two years.  His last fight was a good match with CroCop, where the young kickboxer seemed a bit star-struck and allowed himself to be awed by Mirko's legend before being choked out.  Previous to that fight, he showed good skills against Antoni Hardonk, proving that he is a worthy prospect.  He faces the unfortunately nicknamed "Mexicutioner" Joey Beltran, best known for wrecking the much anticipated UFC debut of Rolles Gracie at UFC 109.  Beltran is a lot like Barry - another tough young fighter looking to move up, making this a good, even match.  In the end I think it will be Barry's stand-up skills that earn him the win, although his 7 month layoff could make him rusty.

Add in Alistair Overeem, Ray Sefo, and Sergei Kharitonov in Strikeforce and that's 6 current or former K-1 fighters competing in major American MMA promotions in the upcoming months.  Definitely should be some exciting fights to watch.

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Glory 17 and Last Man Standing Live Results

  • Published in Glory

Glory 17 Feather weight tournament Live on Spike

Gabriel Varga Vs. Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai - Gabriel Varga Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27 all 3 judges) 

Shane Oblonsky Vs. Marcus Vinicius - Shane Oblonsky Wins by Unanimous Decision (Shane scored 2 knockdowns throughout the fight)

Andy Ristie Vs. Ky Hollenbeck - Andy Ristie Wins by KO 35 seconds into Round 1 (He landed 1 left hand, wobbled Ky then finished with another left hook)

Featherweight Tournament Final - Gabriel Varga Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the Featherweight Tournament Champion (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Mirko Crocop Vs. Jarrel Miller - Mirko CroCop Wins by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Last Man Standing PPV card

Artem Levin Vs. Alex Pereira - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Melvin Manhoef Vs. Filip Verlinden - Filip Verlinden Wins by Majority Decision (28-28, 30-27, 30-27. Filip scores a head kick knockdown in Rd 1)

Joe Schilling Vs. Simon Marcus - Joe Schilling Wins by KO in the last 20 seconds of the EXTRA round (Right hook CRAZZZZY FIGHT!!)

Wayne Barrett Vs. Bogdan Stoica - Wayne Barrett Wins by KO 58 seconds into Round 3 (Left hook counter while Stoica came in with a flying knee)

Marc De Bonte Vs. Joseph Valtellini - Joseph Valtellini Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Welterweight World Champ. (47-46, 47-46, 47-46)

Semifinal #1 - Levin Vs. Verlinden - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Semifinal #2 - Schilling Vs. Barrett - Joe Schilling Wins by Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)  

Daniel Ghita Vs. Rico Verhoeven - Rico Verhoeven Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Heavyweight Champ (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)

Final - Schilling Vs. Levin - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Middleweight Tournament and World champion (29-26, 29-26, 29-26)

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Glory 17: Last Man Standing Open Workouts and Press Conference Highlights

  • Published in Glory

With only one more sleep remaining until the biggest kickboxing card since the K-1 WGP days, I find myself looking for every hype video I can possibly find to kill time until Glory 17.

This video shows us some short clips of some of the fighters doing an open workout and the best parts of the press conference. Seeing the different ways and contrast between the way fighters train is always interesting to watch (especially for me considering sometimes i can use some of their tricks). For example watching Simon Marcus, a more Thai style fighter hit pads is very different from watching Jarrell Miller, more of a boxer, or even Rico Verhoeven who is a Dutch kickboxer. Each fighter's skills are looking world class and they are looking in top condition.

Now on to the press conference, I'd just like to say how happy I am to finally see Daniel Ghita come out of his shell and and say more than two words. Its great to see how bitter he is about his last fight with Rico and we will see tomorrow how hard he has trained to show us that he believes he is the real champion. Its also nice to see no matter how confident they are everyone is still respectful and realizes how dangerous every other fighter is.

As if I wasn't excited enough, this video really pumped me up. I have really missed 8 man kickboxing tournaments and I feel that most of the new American kickboxing fans are going to watch this and realize what a real fight card is.

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Glory 17: CroCop Vs Jarrell Miller Pre Fight Interviews

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st at Glory 17 Live on Spike TV Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller will get his chance to avenge his loss against Mirko CroCop. Their first fight was in CroCop's hometown of Zagreb, Croatia, March of 2013 and lets say he had a bit of a hometown advantage.

Jarrell Miller has not had any kickboxing fights since his loss to Crocop but has been knocking out a steady string of opponents in his boxing career, so he is by no means rusty and wants revenge. Miller without a doubt will be looking for the knockout this time because he does not want to go to the judges and risk what happened last time. He has very heavy hands, pretty slick boxing defense, and also blocks kicks well for a boxer.

During CroCop's interview he calls Miller a Big mouth, which i'm sure most people would agree with, but its nice to hear CroCop talk a bit of smack as well, it shows he has some fire towards this fight. CroCop will not be able to clinch and smother as much as he did during the first fight with the Glory rules being a lot more strict when it comes to clinching. It would be nice to see CroCop not only go for the high kick but also try and break down the legs of miller as most boxers are very susceptible to leg kicks. 

Miller wants to knock out Crocop, avenge his loss, and then return to his boxing career. That won't be an easy task considering he has a kickboxing veteran known for his  powerful kicks with a plan to beat "Big Baby" for the second time. It only takes one punch or kick from either of these men to end anyone's night early.

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