K-1 has been in motion the past few days, making their big announcement of the list for the K-1 World MAX Final 16 as well as announcing that it will be available via internet PPV via the Epicentre.tv platform for $19.99. Needless to say, there has been a lot of movement from K-1, especially in regards to the World MAX Final 16, and all of it looks to be some good stuff. While there were some bumps in the road when it came to the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals earlier this year and the stream, K-1 has teamed up with Australia's Epicentre.tv to provide a HD quality stream of the event. Epicentre has been around for a while, streaming combat sports events all over the world and has a very good reputation for providing quality streams, so you can put yourself at ease knowing that you'll be able to view the K-1 World MAX Final 16 without any real hiccups.
Then, of course, comes the list of fighters for the Final 16. Considering the competition and the nature of the game right now, especially with exclusive contracts and whatnot, the fact that K-1 put together such a great list of fighters is astonishing. Some of the lesser-known fighters, like Enrico Kehl, are really top notch and will make for worthy additions to the K-1 MAX division.
Henry Van Opstal
They've also released their final poster for the event, as well.
SUPERKOMBAT is going to have a busy end of the month, as they will hold their SUPERKOMBAT Heroes event in Dracula's hometown on the 30th and then on the 31st will hold another, bigger event in Bucharest, Romania. The event, SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition, will be headlined by a SUPERKOMBAT Middleweight World title bout between Mike Zambidis and Turkey's Harun Kina. This provides a bigger kick off for SK's WGP series that will be ongoing this fall.
Here is the line-up for SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition.
SUPERKOMBAT® VIP Edition (Saturday, August 31, 2013) Main Card:
SUPERKOMBAT® Middleweight World Title -71kg Mike Zambidis (Greece) vs. Harun Kina (Turkey)
Superfight -71kg Alexandru Popescu (Romania) vs. Cedric Manhoef (Suriname)
Superfight -75kg Bogdan Stanciu (Romania) vs. Kevin Heselink (Netherlands)
Superfight -81kg Miodrag Olar (Romania) vs. Alexandros Chatzichronoglou (Greece)
Superfight -63kg Florin Abrudan (Romania) vs. Cristian Spetcu (Romania)
Mike Zambidis, better known as Zambo, is probably one of the most exciting fighters in K-1 history and it looks like he'll be making his return to the K-1 ring in September in Mallorca, Spain as a part of the Final 16 event.
Zambo was originally announced for the event over the summer but then reports surfaced that Zambidis would not be participating after all. So this comes as a bit of a surprise, but a good surprise at that, especially after Abraham Roqueni pulled out, citing issues with the event promoter, Street Culture. Zambidis makes for a fine addition to the K-1 World MAX tournament, joining K-1 veterans like Buakaw Banchamek, Andy Souwer and Yasuhiro Kido as well as a host of younger fighters as well.
Just as yesterday we were posting about Jerome Le Banner's retirement tour a bombshell was dropped today for kickboxing fans as Mike Zambidis has announced his retirement via his Facebook account. The long-time K-1 MAX competitor and current SuperKombat 71kg champion has called it quits after one of the most memorable careers in kickboxing history that has produced some of the greatest fights throughout history.
It looks like his fight on May 9th will be his retirement fight now. Here is his statement in full.
"Thank you very much for being by my side all these years, supporting me with your love and positive energy.
After 24 years, it's time to close my fighting career and give my last two fights.
On May 9th in Cyprus and in Athens in June.
After 177 bouts, 154 wins and 87 knock outs, the experience, knowledge and lessons taken by kick boxing and championship are countless and priceless, some of them that I learned is to dare to dream and succeed in what the others planned that I cannot manage, I learned to invest fear and stress in victories and joy, I learned that when I fall, it's a chance to rest for a while and get up even stronger, experienced and angry to fight for my dreams, I learned that the best defense is forecast, that I can fight with beasts and with the right strategy and training, to knock down them in the ring, that depending on the motivation, the sacrifice is weakened, I learned that with vision, faith, patience, perseverance, discipline and abundant love I can make my wildest dreams come true.
The way was not easy, but this way cultivated me this way of thinking and instincts so I can scramble harder in the ring with the best athletes in the world, winning 15 world titles, always coming out with the Cross and the Greek flag on my chest, representing with pride and respect our country, our culture, our heavy history and what we stand for.
I am looking forward to having you by my side and giving these last two fights in the ring together.
This weekend was a double shot of SUPERKOMBAT, with the first event being of the SUPERKOMBAT New Heroes persuasion, while the second night was a bigger event by the way of SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition, featuring Mike Zambidis in a SUPERKOMBAT Championship fight. It was a big weekend for the SUPERKOMBAT crew as they announce that they are on Fight Now TV here in the United States as well as the signing of K-1 Heavyweight Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller, as well as crowning Mike Zambidis as their 71kg Championship.
Here are the results from SUPERKOMBAT VIP Edition;
Mike Zambidis def Harun Kina via UD
Miodrag Olar (Romania) def Alexandros Chatzichronoglou (Greece) via UD
Cedric Manhoef (Suriname) def Alexandru Popescu (Romania) via UD
Bogdan Stanciu (Romania) def Kevin Heselink (Holland) via UD
Cristian Spetcu (Romania) def Florin Abrudan (Romania) via TKO 2
Mike Zambidis captured the SuperKombat Middleweight Championship back in August of 2013 against Harun Kina in Romania and now in January he is set to defend that title for the very first time in a return match. At an Iron Challenge 2015 event in Greece Zambidis is set to defend that title against Kina. If you are wondering why it isn't on a SuperKombat card proper, that's because 2015 will be the year that SuperKombat begins licensing out their brand to interested partners.
Previously they would license out tryout events, but starting this year they will also license out Elimination and World Title fights. The SuperKombat season begins on March 7th with their first event of this season, but look for more events held around the world with fights that impact the world of SuperKombat throughout the year. We'll have more on SuperKombat and Mike Zambidis when it's available.
2010 was a rough year for K-1 MAX. Three of the division's very top stars fought their (for now) last MAX fights in 2009, including Masato, the man MAX had been built around from the start. Shows were planned, then canceled. Only two qualifying Grand Prixs were held, and one of those 2 never aired. Half of the Final 16 fights were shoved onto the 63kg GP finals almost as an afterthought, and at one time, there were rumors that the 2010 MAX Grand Prix might not even happen. Fans of MAX were looking at the year as somewhat of a disaster.
That changed on October 3. Amidst all this chaos and confusion, the MAX Final 16 event in Seoul was a grand slam of an event - an all around fantastic card with every fight delivering. The next day, no one was talking about how K-1 MAX was struggling. Instead, they were talking about what a show it was. And they were talking about one fight.
That fight is your 2010 LiverKick.com Fans' Fight of the Year - "Iron" Mike Zambidis vs. Chahid Oulad El Hadj.
Coming into the event, this was a fight that on paper looked like it could be a good one. Both Zambidis and Chahid are exciting fighters who like to push the pace and have turned in plenty of fun bouts. But they are also two men whose presence in the Final 16 was questionable, as neither had claimed a significant K-1 win in some time. From the moment the two men meet in center ring for the staredown, any concerns about them not belonging flew out the window. Because right from the opening, you can tell this is going to be something special. Both men looked hungry, out for redemption, and just plain pissed off. They looked ready to tear into each other. And that's exactly what they did.
For four epic rounds, Zambidis and Chahid engaged in an all out war. By the end of the 3rd, the announcers are all on their feet waiting for the judges' decision. By the end of the 4th, fans are already writing their friends telling them what they just saw. And by the next morning, all the focus was on this classic.
Watching it now, I'm reminded of another all-time K-1 great contest - Ray Sefo vs. Mark Hunt (and if you've never seen that, watch it, seriously, now). Like Sefo vs. Hunt, this is a fight that doesn't need any backstory. It's a moment that stands on its own, where even if you've never heard of either man, the combination of heart, determination, technique, and aggression they show is enough to grab you. At a time in combat sports where the UFC is the clear top dog, and where Dana White's love of wild stand-up brawling has come to define how many fans view stand-up action, this fight is a definitive example of what stand-up can be. Yes it's a brawl, but it's also two supremely skilled fighters never losing track of the technique needed to fight at this level. It's a fight every fan of Griffin vs. Bonnar, Garcia vs. The Korean Zombie, or countless other recent fights really owes it to themselves to watch.
Chances are good you've already seen this fight, probably more than once. But as we say our final good-byes to 2010, do yourself a favor and watch it once more. You'll thank yourself later.
A big thanks to all our fans who voted in this poll. In the end, Zambidis vs. Chahid was the clear winner, drawing 34% of the vote. #2 and #3 were only separated by a handful of votes, with the sentimental favorite Peter Aerts vs. Semmy Schilt at #2, and the battle of the new guard in Gokhan Saki vs. Daniel Ghita at #3. For full results, click here, and don't forget to vote on our new polls every week here at LiverKick.com.
Our next entry is the 2nd fight from K-1's big double Final 16 weekend, and is a fight you knew had to be on this list...
"Iron" Mike Zambidis v. Chahid Oulad El Hadj (K-1 MAX Grand Prix Final 16, October 3)
It's rare that we get fights like this - fights where both men throw down with so much passion that the energy just grabs you. Where neither man wants to give in, and both push each other to the limit. In the UFC, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar had one of those fights, and it helped save the company. This one likely won't have that same impact on K-1 MAX, but if things were right with the world, it would. This is, quite simply, an amazing fight; you can tell from the passion in the commentary, the cheers from the crowd, and hopefully your own feelings while watching. What makes it even better is that it is a fight between two men who always were able to deliver excitement, but had not found themselves on the winning side lately. Zambidis's last K-1 appearance was a loss to Hinata, while Chahid had recently recovered from a terrible 2009. Neither man seemed like they would be a real factor in the Grand Prix, but together they provided the greatest highlight of MAX's year.
There will be 10 fights total posted. Fights 7 & 8 on Tuesday, and 9 & 10 conclude on Wednesday. Fights are featured in chronological order moving through the year. Voting will be open Wednesday night to determine the winner.