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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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Alistair Overeem Makes a Cameo in Music Video

  • Published in Kickboxing

K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 Heavyweight Champion and now former Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem has a big fight coming up as he makes his UFC debut, squaring off against Brock Lesnar. Apparently in one of his past trips to California he ended up plopped down in the middle of a set for a music video for "electro-pop" group LMFAO. If you are like me and are an adult male who has not flicked on the radio in the past ten years, the fact that this music exists can be alarming, disturbing and mildly amusing, but to each their own. Alistair Overeem appears in this video, which at least makes it sort of manly. This is LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" music video which includes men in banana hammocks shaking their stuff. Thankfully Overeem refrains from, to quote Mrs. Bluth, "waggling his pickle."

If this isn't for you, see how it's done for fighters in music videos after the break.

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Tomas Rios Breaks Down Alistair Overeem's Striking

  • Published in K-1

Alistair OvereemThere are a few writers out there who have gotten a bad rap over the past few years, Tomas Rios is one of them, after the whole "Joe Rogan got Rios fired" thread from the Underground Forum happened a few months ago that also involved some poor word choices. The truth is, Rios knows what he is doing, and his new blog is a breath of fresh air when he posts something new.

Rios takes a look at Alistair Overeem's absolutely astounding December where he ripped through top competition in K-1 to become the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion as well as his hilarious dismantling of Todd Duffee, a fighter who was on the "UFC-level" before his bad attitude got him fired. Rios takes a slow-motion, blow-by-blow look at the turning points in each fight and comes to a conclusion that you haven't seen a lot of people wanting to admit; Alistair Overeem is really, really good.

In his last four fights the same storyline has played out -- a single, careless mistake is made and the response is a fundamentally flawless display of pure violence. The X-factor here isn't Overeem's size, strength or anything else that is won in the genetic lottery or gained in weight rooms.

What makes Overeem so singular in combat sports is that he is a 6'5", 260 lb. heavyweight who has the striking technique to dismantle all comers and the kind of cutthroat finishing instincts that can't be explained, they can only be admired. By the way, take another look at the GIFs [included] and something else should catch your eye -- Overeem was doing work from both the orthodox and southpaw stance.

Go and read the full article for a breakdown of each fight and to see just how incredible Ubereem really is.

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Alistair Overeem in Trouble Again From a Club Incident

  • Published in K-1

For some people, going out to clubs is a lifestyle and serves as an integral part of their lives, and Alistair Overeem is one of those people. The former DREAM Heavyweight Champion, Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 Champion (as well as possible UFC Heavyweight Champion) Alistair Overeem is once again in trouble again. Overeem first stumbled into a world of trouble a few years ago when his big brother, Valentijn Overeem, got into a scuffle in a bathroom in Amsterdam. This resulted in the Overeem bothers dispatching a number of bouncers in short order while Alistair broke his thumb in the process, putting him on the shelf for a while.

The latest incident sounds pretty fishy to me. This morning the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Alistair Overeem was involved in an incident on January 2nd at a night club in Las Vegas. The alleged incident revolves around a 3am shove that one woman claims caused her to stagger backwards. Alistair could face a possible six months in prison or a hefty $1,000 fine in this case if found guilty, but has maintained his innocence in the matter. The woman claims that he "shoved her face" which caused her to stagger backwards, and quite honestly, in the case of Alistair Overeem even a gentle tap could send a full grown man staggering backwards. If Ubereem wanted to legitimately shove someone they'd do a whole lot more than simply stagger backwards.

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More Alistair Overeem Rumors: Todd Duffee

  • Published in K-1

If you haven't had enough Alistair Overeem rumors, prepare for a new one. Remember the opponent of the week last week? Last week, Bobby Lashley was all-but-confirmed according to multiple websites, with a Strikeforce employee tweeting that Lashley was going to be the man to step up and fight Alistair Overeem. The way that FEG has handled Alistair Overeem is really no different than the way that they handle any other fighter, the main difference is that Overeem holds a championship in a United States promotion, Strikeforce.

This immediately means that any Overeem news garners attention from the media and blogs in the US and the speculation goes through the roof. In a way, it is a severe shortcoming on the part of FEG. FEG has finally found a star that could help them truly break through to a United States audience, but they are treating him like business-as-usual.

Last night, Todd Duffee posted on his Facebook page that you can watch him vs. "Overeem" on HDnet on New Year's Eve. So now there is a post on Sherdog that the fight is "50-50." At this point, Duffee has signed his cotract and the money has been hammered out between his camp and FEG, he simply needs to attain a short-term visa and everything is a go, right?

I feel like a grandfather trying to talk to his teenage grandson about the time he got the clap in Korea while all the kid can think about is getting laid. Everyone is so excited for the prospect of Overeem finally having a fight that they are missing the fact that this feels familiar. Last week Dave Meltzer, the most reliable reporter in the business (I know, Helwani does cool backstage videos, I know) said he was certain of the Lashley fight happening. Last year Andrei Arlovski's camp applied for a temporary work visa and had signed a contract, too.

No matter who the source, how certain they are, until the ink is completely dry and FEG announces it, Overeem does not have an opponent.

UPDATE: According to sources close to the situation, Todd Duffee has agreed to be paid $60,000 to fight Overeem and has not been training for a fight at all, this was completely last minute. Official announcement expected the 27th.

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Alistair Overeem's Toughest Opponent: Himself

  • Published in Kickboxing

Alistair Overeem could very well be done with the world of K-1 for now. A lot of people have been sleeping on this factor, but this could be the fallout from Zuffa purchasing Strikeforce and the fact that many fighters will be offered Zuffa contracts from Joe Silva and Co. almost immediately to lock them in. To say that a fighter like Alistair Overeem wouldn't be on that list would be to not know who he is. Overeem is the current Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, and with his desire to fight in the United States and Zuffa currently owning the US MMA scene and FEG not paying him, it would be difficult to assume that he'd turn down a Zuffa contract.

Fight Game, Golden Glory's Clothing and All-Encompassing brand put up a new interview with the Champ where he discusses a few reader-asked topics. We also note that Fight Game has a US-based store now, so if you want one of those bad ass Overeem or Golden Glory shirts you see on all of those K-1, Ultimate Glory, It's Showtime and Strikeforce shows, you now can. Oh, and there is a US-based distribution center, so the shipping is dirt cheap. So head on over there and grab some stuff after you listen to Overeem.

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Murthel Groenhart Training with Blackzilians in Florida

  • Published in Glory

Lion Fight 10 was the big story of this weekend in the world of Kickboxing and Muay Thai in the Western world, but there have been some interesting things going on in the world of Kickboxing of late, namely centered around GLORY's big push into the United States. There has been talk for a while now about some fighters and even gyms either moving over to the United States or having some gyms open "branches" here in the United States. This could be the beginning of something much bigger here, as there has been confirmation of Murthel Groenhart training in Florida with the Jaco Fight Team/Blackzilians in preparation for his GLORY 10 fight against Davit Kiria.

This is, what we assume to be, the tip of the iceberg for this sort of stuff. We've heard rumors of a lot more going on, with GLORY possibly helping fighters to find gyms in the United States to train at, as well as some gyms looking to move some operations to the United States. This means we can expect a lot more going on here in the US over the next few months.

Groenhart

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Badr Hari Still a Suspect in Assault, Victim's Name Released

  • Published in Kickboxing

Badr HariBadr Hari cannot escape his violent past, even while partying it up in the Amsterdam ArenA with his celebrity girlfriend, Estelle Cruyff, in a VIP box. As we reported earlier, at a Dutch dance festival in Amsterdam, Badr Hari was present and in his VIP box a 38 year-old man was brutally assaulted, with his leg and face badly damaged.

It looks like the victim is multimillionaire Koen Everink, and that the damages to his person might be so severe that he might never be able to walk properly again. The police have not ruled out Badr's involvement in the assault yet, although he and his lawyer claim he is innocent. From the reports that we are hearing he will give a statement to the police either today or tomorrow and hopefully this can be cleared up.

Even if innocent, this is far from the first run-in Badr has had with the law over violent assaults, the most recent in 2010 that hindered Hari from participating in the K-1 World Grand Prix, which was won by current UFC Heavyweight contender Alistair Overeem.

Thanks to our good friend Simon Raedts for the report.

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Keys to Victory: Hesdy Gerges

  • Published in Kickboxing

On March 6th, Daniel Ghita will take on Hesdy Gerges in the main event of It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid. This is the second in a two-part series where I will lay out the keys to victory for each fighter. Today, we'll look at Hesdy Gerges. You can find the first part of this series here.

Strengths:

Athleticism - Hesdy is the taller and slimmer fighter and he'll have to use that to his advantage against Daniel. Gerges doesn't carry the kind of knockout power that Daniel does in his hands or kicks so he will have to rely on his ability to put combinations together and move in and out of Ghita's range to avoid his big punches and leg kicks. There are times in the past where Daniel has tired in the later rounds of a fight so that's somewhere Hesdy can capitalize if his stamina keeps up.

Range - When a fighter has a reach advantage and has the ability utilize it to their advantage, they often control the standup and dictate the pace. This is an area where Gerges can really control Ghita if he can enforce his will. If Hesdy can keep Ghita at the end of his jab, straight right, and leg kicks, it will pay big dividends as the fight progresses.

Kicks - Though not as devastating as Ghita's kicks, Gerges' kicks are effective and have won him fights in the past. Daniel's legs are like mighty Redwood trees and very durable but well placed kicks will have negative effects on any fighter if they are landed repeatedly. With Ghita relying on his kicks as much as he does, if Hesdy can slow them down even a little bit, that's a big plus for him.

Weaknesses:

Size - It sounds odd to list size as a weakness for the taller fighter but Gerges doesn't carry a lot of mass. Mass that can go a long way in absorbing the brutal body kicks and punches that Ghita brings to the table. We saw what those dangerous strikes did to Gokhan Saki in the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Saki's body was so wrecked that he could not continue for more than a moment against Alistair Overeem in the semifinals. This makes Gerges being able to stay out of Ghita's range even more important.

Complacency - When you have nearly half of your wins by way of decision, it can be argued that you should place a bigger emphasis on finishing a fight. Of course, there are a lot of tough fighters out there and you can't finish every fight by brutal KO, but allow a fighter of Daniel Ghita's caliber to hang around and it can cost you in a big way.

Keys to Victory:

For Hesdy Gerges to go home victorious on March 6th, he'll need to use his reach to stay outside of Daniel's range, pepper him with shots, and wear him down. A knockout is always a possibility in kickboxing but with Ghita only being finished by KO once in his career, I wouldn't rely on that. Hesdy needs to avoid Ghita's leg kicks in the early stages of the fight when Daniel is fresh and carrying big power in his legs.

If Hesdy Gerges can apply this gameplan against Daniel Ghita, I believe he can be victorious on March 6th.

Who are you picking to win? Leave me a comment and explain why.

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Overeem a Favorite on UFC 141

  • Published in K-1

UFC 141 kicks off on Friday, December 30th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  In a fight that will setup the #1 contender for Junior Dos Santos's heavyweight title, Brock Lesnar takes on Alistair Overeem in the main event of the evening.  Several online sites, including Ladbrokes Poker, have released odds on this fight for those looking to place a few wagers on the fights.

Lesnar is coming into this fight as a huge underdog.  Overeem has two inches in height and nearly seven times the fight experience of his opponent.  Overeem is almost a more well rounded fighter.  Bookmakers are taking this into consideration as all of them betting on Overeem.  Bodog currently has the best odds out of the three coat -190 for Overeem and +155 for Lesnar.  

The only other fight to receive any line action on the card is the light heavyweight battle between 26-5 Valdimir Matyushenko and 12-1 Alexander Gustaffson.  Gustaffson has 5 inches on his opponent and is much stronger in his submission game.  While not as experienced a fighter as Matyushenko, odds makers are giving Gustaffson the advantage.  Online poker room Ladbrokes Poker has him at 1/3 to win with Matyushenko at 12/5.  Gustaffson is -290 on BetOnline vs Matyushenko at +245.  

While the lines may not have much action on the other fights, the undercard on this one has some solid match-ups.  Lightweights Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone battle in an attempt to jockey for position to face Frankie Edgar for his lightweight title.  Johnny Hendricks puts his 11-1 record on the line against 26-3-1 JonFitch.  Nam Phan broke a three loss losing streak in October and looks to improve his 17-10 record against undefeated Jimy Hettes.

On December 30th, Junior Dos Santos will find out whether he will defend his title against Brock Lesnar or if Alistair Overeem will get his shot at heavyweight gold.  Don't miss this one. It should be a helluva night of fights.

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