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The Official LiverKick.com Rankings

  • Published in Rankings
Heavyweight (Per 7/17)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Daniel Ghita
3 Errol Zimmerman
4 Anderson Silva
5 Benjamin Adegbuyi
6 Peter Aerts
7 Hesdy Gerges
8 Mirko Filipovic
9 Ben Edwards
10 Zabit Samedov

Light

Heavyweight (Per 7/17)

1 Gokhan Saki
2 Tyrone Spong
3 Danyo Ilunga
4 Nathan Corbett
5 Saulo Cavalari
6 Artem Vakhitov
7 Mourad Bouzidi
8 Igor Jukovic
9 Michael Duut
10 Andrei Stoica
Middleweight (Per 7/17)

1 Artem Levin
2 Joe Schilling
3 Wayne Barrett
4 Filip Verlinden
5 Simon Marcus
6 Alex Pereira
7 Sahak Parparyan
8 Melvin Manhoef
9 Jason Wilnis
10 Israel Adesanya
Welterweight (Per 7/17)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Joseph Valtellini
3 Marc De Bonte
4 Karapet Karapetyan
5 Artur Kyshenko
6 Raymond Daniels
7 Karim Ghajji
8 Aussie Ouzgni
9 Alexander Stetsurenko
10 Paul Daley
Lightweight (Per 7/17)

1 Davit Kiria
2 Andy Ristie
3 Robin Van Roosmalen
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Murthel Groenhart
6 Buakaw Banchamek
7 Dzhabar Askerov
8 Andy Souwer
9 Ky Hollenbeck
10 Aikpracha
Featherweight (Per 7/17)

1 Mosab Amrani
2 Yuta Kubo
3 Masaaki Noiri
4 Gabriel Varga
5 Sagetdao
6 Liam Harrison
7 Shane Oblonsky
8 Yodkhupon Sitmonchai
9 Chibin Lim
10 Marcus Vinicius
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Only in Japan: Jerome Le Banner vs. Josh Barnett Set for August

  • Published in Kickboxing

I'm not joking, Josh Barnett and Jerome Le Banner will square off on August 27th at the Ryogoku Kokugikan -- Japan's Sumo Hall, and this bout between the titans will be for a world championship. Who is promoting this bout? None other than Antonio Inoki, the grandfather of MMA in Japan and a pro wrestling celebrity. It is hard to believe that the MMA world and the Kickboxing world will be colliding like this, until you realize that it is under Inoki's IGF banner, which is professional wrestling.

Yes, Josh Barnett of Strikeforce fame will take on Jerome Le Banner of K-1 fame to declare the first IGF World Champion in August. IGF ran a tournament on the 10th in Japan that involved some pretty big names, including Ray Sefo, Eric Hammer, Josh Barnett, Jerome Le Banner and Bobby Lashley. Eric Hammer tapped Ray Sefo out in the qualifying round with an armbar, Josh Barnett tapped Bobby Lashley out with an armbar as well in the semi-finals. Hammer met Jerome Le Banner in the semi-finals by knocking him down five times, which sets up Barnett vs. Le Banner in the finals.

Something about this just reeks of awesomeness.

Barnett, Inoki, JLB

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So, K-1 Hasn't Paid Alistair Overeem

  • Published in K-1

Alistair OvereemYou know, with all of the hype going into the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP, you'd think an interview with Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion from ESPN wouldn't slip through the cracks, but it did. To me, that speaks volumes for just how tired of hearing about K-1's financial problems people are, as well as how few people pay attention to ESPN's MMA Live. No offense intended for MMA Live, but the close affiliation to UFC and the complete lack of coverage of the rest of the world of MMA (it serves as an afterthought, usually) has made the show less-than a must-see for most fans.

Well, regardless of how worthwhile it is to watch MMA Live, over the weekend they spoke with Alistair Overeem, and most MMA websites picked up the interview for purposes of predictions and to gaze into Overeem's dreamy eyebrows, but what struck me was that Alistair Overeem claims that K-1 has yet to pay him and that he would actually prefer not to fight in Japan this year, he would rather just fight in America.

This just serves as a gentle reminder of how business matters in Japan have effected the sport of kickboxing as a whole. If everything is in order for K-1, it looks like Alistair Overeem has no plans on fighting for them this year and will continue to fight in the United States for Strikeforce instead. Watch the below video at about the 4:30 mark as Anik asks if K-1 has paid him and Overeem jovially says they didn't. Ouch.

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Strikeforce in Japan: Why It'll Work and UFC Won't

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) Dave Mandel/Sherdog.comThere have been rumors since the announcement of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP that Strikeforce's head honcho Scott Coker had plans on running a leg of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP in Japan, of all places. He wants this tournament to have a "global" feel to it, and running in a new market like Japan seems like a no-brainer.

I really haven't given this much thought, as it seemed like big plans with no follow-through. Especially after Coker had all of this big talk about running Cowboys Stadium in Texas, a feat that a Manny Pacquiao fight sold 50,000+ tickets to. A bit of insanity if you ask many, as UFC has yet to even approach such a large stadium. Japan, on the other hand, seems to be a very real possibility. On Tuesday night I spoke with MMA Torch about the announcement from the UFC in regards to their "Japanese expansion" and Jamie surprised me with a question about Strikeforce running Japan.

Honestly, Strikeforce has a much better chance of running Japan than the UFC does, this year next year or after. The logic behind this is very, very simple, but also very solid. The big thing is that to run in Japan, you have to be ready to make concessions and promote in Japan. UFC's expansion is, well, underwhelming. They have an obscure pay-TV network they run on and will now feature some mobile video services, but none of this is very interesting to fans in Japan. Without live shows, a broadcast television network and some star power the UFC has no real hopes. Their attitude of "all or nothing" will be their achilles heel in Japan.

Strikeforce, though, seem to know what it means to do business in Japan, and according to ESPN.com's Josh Gross, Scott Coker is planning to meet with Real Entertainment to discuss an April 9th event. When I spoke with MMA Torch, I explained that the only real way for Strikeforce to promote in Japan would be to work with another company, and with FEG's future uncertain, the DREAM partner company, Real Entertainment made perfect sense. Real has fighter contracts (most of the DREAM fighters), production staff, television partners, sponsors and a lot more.

If you take into account fighters like Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Josh Barnett, Antonio Silva, Fabricio Werdum and Sergei Kharitonov, all of these fighters have established name value in Japan. For Fedor Emelianenko this would be a grand homecoming for him. For Alistair Overeem this would be the K-1 and DREAM Champion fighting in his home away from home turf. Also consider that Satoshi Ishii could have a Strikeforce contract by then and that Tatsuya Kawajiri just defeated Josh Thomson at Dynamite!!, so a possible bout between Kawajiri and Gilbert Melendez could be big for Japanese fans as well.

Strikeforce also seems to be considering working with Real Entertainment even more, says Gross. Real Entertainment is going to take some of those fighter contracts that they have and with Strikeforce's help, put on a Lightweight tournament, with our without DREAM. It looks like Strikeforce is taking Japan seriously and are willing to "play ball." Now, if it will pan out financially for them, that is another story for another day (or another site, like FightOpinion.com).

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Sergei Kharitonov vs. Mighty Mo on May 28 in Russia

  • Published in Kickboxing

Sergei KharitonovThe GLORY World Series event on May 28 in Moscow just keeps getting bigger and bigger, as yet another big name kickboxing bout was added to the event yesterday. The promotion announced that two K-1 veterans, Mighty Mo Siliga and Sergei Kharitonov will meet in the ring under K-1 rules. Mighty Mo had a bit of a career resurgence last year when Andrei Arlovski had to pull out of his scheduled appearance at the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 due to a broken nose and Mighty Mo happened to be in Seoul, South Korea to attend the show. The right place, right time worked out for Mighty Mo, who was able to defeat Raul Catinas via decision and move on to the Final 8.

Sergei Kharitonov was a late fill-in to start his K-1 career, when Chalid Arrab got injured and Kharitonov stepped in to fight Daniel Ghita at the tail end of 2009, only to be outclassed. Kharitonov didn't give up on K-1, making a return to the K-1 ring in 2010. Kharitonov scored a first round knockout over Takumi Sato at the Final 16, which secured him a spot in the Final 8 show in a reserve bout where Singh Jaideep utterly outclassed Kharitonov, knocking him out in the first round.

Kharitonov enters into his fourth professional kickboxing bout against Mighty Mo with the fight being a tossup. Mo is coming off of a loss to Peter Aerts in the Final 8, while Kharitonov is coming off of a win over Andrei Arlovski in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. Kharitonov scored a first round knockout of Arlovski, backing Arlovski up and putting him down with a barrage of punches, proving that he has dynamite in his fists. Kharitonov is eagerly awaiting the next few bouts from the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP, where he'll find out who his next opponent is. It comes as no surprise that Kharitonov will appear on the Golden Glory card, as many of the members of the Golden Glory gym tend to fill up the bigger Ultimate Glory/Glory World series cards.

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Gokhan Saki Wants to Fight Melvin Manhoef in Strikeforce

  • Published in Kickboxing

That headline will read as downright odd to anybody who follows kickboxing. Gokhan Saki is known as being one of the most exciting high level kickboxers in the world, who has overcome the odds over and over again. He is one of the few fighters who is always undersized going into his bouts, but always puts his all into every fight, leaving nothing to question.

Well, according to Saki's Twitter account, he wants to fight in Strikeforce.

My arm is oke I hope to fight at glory and in the summer for strike force!

 

 

 

If you are like me, you don't even know what to read into this. It is good that his arm is doing better now, and is perfectly logical that he wishes to fight for Golden Glory's next show, which is coming up in a few months. The surprise is that he wants to fight in Strikeforce. This, coming off some rather substantial rumors that It's Showtime is looking to break into the United States market next year and that their relationship with Scott Coker is "healthy" makes one wonder if maybe there is a chance of seeing some of the best kickboxers in the world fight in the US, regardless of the banner in 2011.

Of course, the kicker was him taking a pot shot at rival Melvin Manhoef.

Yes I like to fight manhoef at mma fight I win for sure by submussion heheheeheh!!!

 

 

 

Gokhan by armbar, somebody book this.

UPDATE: We've received word that this wasn't just a one-off joke post by Saki, there is some weight to this. Saki is in talks with Strikeforce.

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The Return of Badr Hari: A Look at Badr vs. Alistair Overeem, 2009 WGP Semi-Finals

  • Published in Kickboxing

Badr/ReemOver the past week we've taken a look at some of the fights from Badr Hari's 2009, the year after his meltdown in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Remy Bonjasky and his loss to Alistair Overeem at Dynamite!! in K-1 rules. 2009 was Badr Hari's year for redemption, where he looked to avenge past losses and finally capture the K-1 World Grand Prix Title. He was poised to take over the world at this stage.

Entering into the Semi-Finals of the tournament, Badr Hari had already made short work of Ruslan Karaev in the Quarterfinals earlier that night. He was walking into a big rematch for himself, and a bout that a lot was on the line for Badr himself as well as the K-1 world. At the time, Alistair Overeem was billed as a MMA fighter "invading" K-1 for storyline purposes. His interviews were following the same narrative; he was a MMA fighter and he would prove that MMA was stronger than K-1. For Badr Hari, he was embarrassed in 2008 against Overeem after shaming himself by getting disqualified in a fight that he could have still won.

The Badr Hari that entered the ring against Overeem was a determined fighter, with his eyes not on revenge but on winning the K-1 World Grand Prix. The often-emotional "Bad Boy" was composed during this fight, taking on Overeem's great timing and clinch work with aggression and technical combinations. The fight opens up with Overeem's trademark at the time; clinching and sweeping Badr onto his back. A move like that would score him points in Muay Thai competition or be a takedown in MMA, but in K-1 rules it is just an annoyance. He used this technique throughout 2009 to frustrate his opponents and prevent them from getting their rhythm.

Overeem's movement frustrates Hari during the round, as Hari goes head hunting only for Overeem to time them and move out of the way and clinch before Badr finds an opening and lands a few body shots. Overeem continued to clinch while Badr was finishing his combinations with body shots that connected until Overeem made his first big mistake; throwing Badr Hari into the corner. Literally just throwing him into the corner, giving Badr a few moments to regain his composure and pick himself up. Much like we've seen in the past with Badr, if you plant him to the mat, he gets up and looks to take your head off. Overeem threw a left hook that Badr was able to time perfectly and slip a right hook of his own in that landed square on the temple. Overeem stayed on his feet until another quick, short right planted him face first.

Badr smelled blood at this point, and emotions were running high for both men. Overeem knew he was in trouble and Badr Hari wanted to keep good on his promise of knocking him out in under 3 minutes. Badr Hari swarmed at Overeem with rights and lefts, with the odd body shot to throw off Overeem's rhythm and leave an opening. Badr went for a head kick but overshot it, leaving his leg in Overeem's possession for Overeem to plant him on the mat. Hari followed up using the same combination of throwing a series of lefts and rights and finishing with a right body shot and what finally put Overeem out of the tournament was that combination with a left head kick at the end sending Overeem crashing into the corner.

For Badr Hari he had overcome yet another demon of his past, and left him heading into the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix Finals against Semmy Schilt, the fighter that he had made short work of earlier in the year. Things were finally looking to fall into place for Badr Hari. Catch the video of the fight after the break.

Badr Hari returns on May 14th at It's Showtime Lyon against Gregory Tony after a year layoff. This series we are doing, "The Return of Badr Hari" looks back at the moments that led to Badr Hari's meltdown and time spent in jail, leading to his one year layoff from the world of kickboxing. The next one will cover the Semmy Schilt rematch from the Finals of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009.

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Amsterdam Mayor NOT Looking to Ban Martial Arts Events

  • Published in Kickboxing

Eberhard van der LaanA while back, it was reported that Amsterdam's new mayor, Eberhard van der Laan had been looking to crack down on organized crime, with a distinct focus on Martial Arts events. He was even quoted talking about mobsters being "VIPs" at Ultimate Glory and It's Showtime events. This, to many, set off alarms as there was talk of outright banning these events to keep criminals out of the public eye like that, being paraded around as important figures.

Thankfully for us, one of the reporters in the Netherlands who posts on Mixfight.nl scheduled an interview with Mr. van der Laan to discuss organized crime and Martial Arts. The picture that he paints is much different than the original article that ran in de Telegraaf (which has been known to be a "sensationalist" newspaper at times). This is very important as Tokyo, Japan goes through a tough time, all eyes are on Amsterdam to be the capitol of the kickboxing world.

"I think that there was a big miscommunication. If we can clearly communicate mutual understanding, and cooperation. " Van der Laan continued this by explaining that he used to participate in a lot of sports. He played a lot, and has learned important things from sports. Things like health, discipline and social development through meeting people, few things. The one issue where he is-strongly opposed, is the connection between upper and lower world that currently takes place in the martial arts events, and robust studies with cooperation of the police has shown that this dynamic of criminals mixing with average citizens indeed takes place at martial arts events. This is the connection that he wants to remove, and to do this would mean that the enthusiastic fighters and government must work together.

I implore you to read the full article, which discusses a meeting that took place between Alistair Overeem, Marloes Coehen and van der Laan about organized crime and martial arts events. The mayor describes Ubereem as a "nice and neat guy." [source]

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Josh Barnett Redefines the Concept of the Open Workout

  • Published in Kickboxing

I'm in awe. Open workouts are a rather humdrum event for everyone involved; the media who have to film it, the fighters who have to pretend to work out and the promoters who have to schedule these events and rent out space for them. Josh Barnett has not fought in the United States in well over two years. In light of that, Barnett has fought in Japan and Australia, while participating in Antonio Inoki-sponsored professional wrestling events in Japan. Barnett has a long history of professional wrestling, from when he was fighting in Pancrase in Japan he signed with New Japan Pro Wrestling as well as participated in Kiyoshi Tamura's U-Style AXIS event that featured "Shoot-Style" Pro Wrestling.

Well, to say that Barnett has a lot of pent up frustration and has a point to prove in his first fight back in the United States is an understatement. Barnett has been the butt of the joke with the media for years now, his name dragged through the mud, so when he has to go through what is a rather pointless exercise, he chose to do something for himself as well as cut an incredible promo. Watch. [source]

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Why You Should Support the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP

  • Published in Kickboxing

Fedor and Silva (C) M-1Tomorrow night marks the kickoff of one of the biggest tournaments in MMA history. That sounds like grandstanding, doesn't it? It sounds over-the-top and like a simple tournament is being made to sound bigger than it actually is. The only problem with that logic is that the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP is one of the biggest tournaments to happen on American soil in MMA, and is the biggest tournament to happen since PRIDE ran its last Grand Prix. Stay with me, because I've received a few complaints from LiverKick.com's faithful readers in regards to the Strikeforce coverage. No, Strikeforce is indeed not kickboxing or muay thai, but it is being covered for a very distinct reason; we care about the global fight scene, a lot.

Zuffa did something incredible when they took over the UFC and helped to rehabilitate the image of Mixed Martial Arts and worked to bring it into prominence in the United States. Along the way, something happened, though. UFC was expanding and growing, but it had nothing to do with Mixed Martial Arts and everything to do with UFC. UFC grew, the sport of Mixed Martial Arts became the afterthought. Every promotion that has popped up since the UFC's initial boom has been left in the dust, purchased by Zuffa or driven out of business. UFC grew, MMA died on the vine. The only promoter who was able to make a real impact and not drive his company into the dirt was Scott Coker with Stikeforce. Strikeforce began as a kickboxing promotion, with Scott serving as the head of K-1 USA beforehand. Scott knew what he was doing with kickboxing and still has strong ties to the industry.

Do you see where I'm headed yet? The global fight industry is what it is, we are seeing a once super power in Japan begin to wither and die, which no one really wants to see happen, outside of the UFC. The UFC is looking to take over the world, and picking over the scraps of the Japanese fight scene makes life a lot easier. The fight scene in the United States is sparse at best, boxing is holding strong for the big names, but for the smaller names the market is showing some serious cracks. Kickboxing and Muay Thai have some strong markets, but they are very much local and can't really compete on the global level.

The Strikeforce Heavyweight GP that begins this weekend has a big fight feel to it, something that even huge UFC events haven't had that past few years. UFC has put on big events, but not since UFC 100 have I personally felt the sort of buzz surrounding a show like this. A non-UFC show getting this kind of attention, praise ad hype is rare and quite honestly, it is up to Strikeforce to take advantage of this and the not only deliver but follow up on this initial show with more strong shows.

Strikeforce's success helps the global fight industry more than most people can imagine, how? UFC is in the business of promoting UFC, the brand. The fighters are almost inconsequential. UFC 100 was not a huge deal for the fighters, sure, Brock Lesnar was on the card and that helped immensely, but it was the allure of UFC's 100th numbered event. Strikeforce is selling shows around the fighters and the fights, which helps raise awareness of the sport itself, not just the promotion.

The over-arching point of this is that someone needs to break UFC's stranglehold on the market, it wasn't EliteXC, K-1 crashed and burned, so for right now the hope is that Strikeforce can at least try. For sports like kickboxing and muay thai to be taken more seriously, it also helps to have Sergei Kharitonov and Alistair Overeem involved in this tournament, with talk of their K-1 participation. Promotions like Strikeforce make viewers more aware of the fight world at large, as they do not have a self-contained empire to protect. Strikeforce will talk about UFC, PRIDE, K-1, It's Showtime, wherever their fighters came from and had success. The Strikeforce Heavyweight GP feels like a global affair. UFC events feature fighters from all over the world, but all of the action is contained within the UFC's own branded world that they built.

So tune in tomorrow night to watch Fedor Emelianenko square off with Antonio Silva, Andrei Arlovski go to war with Sergei Kharitonov. On top of that, there are three reserve bouts for the tournament, including Valentijn Overeem, Alistair's big brother, squaring off with K-1 legend Ray Sefo while prospects Shane Del Rosario and Lavar Johnson compete to see who is a reserve fighter.

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