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Sunday's Enfusion Tournament Could Determine Kickboxing's Best 85kg Fighter

Enfusion 3: "Trial of the Gladiators" takes place this Sunday, December 2 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The event features the end of the third season of the Enfusion reality show, ending in a one night, four man tournament at 85kg.

85kg is not a very established weight class in kickboxing. It's Showtime had utilized it a bit, with Sahak Parparyan being their last champion at the weight, along with Jason Wilnis. Overall though, the division lacks the uniformity of fights and fighters being all in one place that help to evaluate the landscape of it. Many fans don't even follow this division or know many of the fighters in it. We don't really have a grasp on who the top ten are or maybe even who the top fighter is. Generally, we think of Sahak Parparyan as the premier fighter when we think of this division due to his features on It's Showtime.

The Enfusion tournament this weekend will help us further get a grasp on the standings of the 85kg division. Among the tournament participants is Sahak Parparyan himself. On the other side of the bracket is former opponent of Sahak and potential star Andrew Tate. The rest of the tournament is rounded out by Ritchie Hocking of Scotland and Franci Grajs of Slovenia, who are both not very well known but definitely highly capable fighters. Hocking and Grajs are the interesting variables of the tournament, as they have not been featured amongst the likes of those who are considered to be some of the best in the division like Sahak and Tate.

The tournament also has the potential for a big rematch, between Sahak Parparyan and Andrew Tate. Their first fight was very close, with Sahak taking a decision win over five rounds. However, Grajs and Hocking should not be overlooked based on what I've seen of them. Tate fights Hocking and Grajs fights Sahak, so an upset in the semi finals would immediately add a new name into the fray of the 85kg division. Even impressive performances in defeat can advance fighters' careers.

It's always good for kickboxing when lesser known fighters like Ritchie Hocking and Franci Grajs are thrown right into the mix. Any time new talent that can hang with the best are discovered, it only adds depth and creates a better division. Think of Sanny Dahlbeck or Davit Kiria, who before being featured in Glory this year were not very well known and now have built fanbases and hype based off of their performances. Even Andrew Tate was not very well known coming into his fight with Sahak Parparyan, and now I would consider him one of the best fighters in the division.

Enfusion 3: "Trial of the Gladiators" will be live on Fight Network in North America and on Orange Sport in Europe. Full fight card here.

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Mickael Peynaud Replaces Karim Bennoui At Krush.25

Krush.25 takes place on December 14 in Tokyo, Japan. Originally, Karim Bennoui, the LiverKick #2 ranked lightweight was tabbed to fight Koya Urabe at 61kg. Bennoui fought this past weekend on November 24 and won a unanimous decision over five rounds against Thomas Adamandopoulos.

Unfortunately, Bennoui seems to have injured his right hand during that fight and has had to withdraw. Taking his place will be fellow Frenchmen, Mickael Peynaud. Peynaud recently lost a close decision to LiverKick #7 ranked lightweight Javier Hernandez on November 17 and should provide a good fight for Koya Urabe.

Peynaud's brother Cedrick, also fought in Krush once, losing a decision to Masaaki Noiri at Krush.18 in May. Both Peynaud brothers can hold their own with pretty much anyone around 61-63kg. Mickael Peynaud has actually beaten Karim Bennoui twice, once in 2009 and once in 2010.

Click here for the full fight card of Krush.25.

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RISE/M-1 ~Infinity~ Full Fight Card and Preview

About a month ago, RISE and M-1 announced a co-promoted event featuring stars Masahiro Yamamoto, Koji Yoshimoto, Erika Kamimura, Sun Hyun Lee and others. The fight announcements trickled out one by one over the course of the past few weeks and I was waiting for the matchups to finally be set before putting together a post and now, less than a week away, the fight card is set and it looks very good.

Headlining the event is RISE 65kg champion Koji Yoshimoto taking on rising Dutch-Armenian star Raz Sarkisjan. Yoshimoto is currently riding a 4-fight win streak, most recently defending his title against Yasuomi Soda. Sarkisjan first made a name for himself with a decision win over Masaaki Noiri at the Hoost Cup back in May, a fight which saw both fighters on the canvas. Unfortunately, he followed that up with a loss at It's Showtime Brazil to Marcus Vinicius earlier this month. Should Sarkisjan bring the power he brought to Japan last time, he could definitely put Yoshimoto's lights out, though I think Yoshimoto could just as easily outpoint Sarkisjan over three rounds.

In the co-main event, It's Showtime 61kg champ Masahiro Yamamoto will be taking on Mansour Yaqubi. Yamamoto comes into this fight on a 5 fight win streak, but has not fought since winning the It's Showtime title from Javier Hernandez in July. Yaqubi trains out of the same gym as Raz Sarkisjan and will be looking to throw a wrench in the Lightweight picture. Yamamoto has to be the favorite here, but of course, there is a chance Yaqubi could shock everyone.

At 55kg, Shooto Flyweight champion Mikihito Yamagami returns to RISE to take on top ranked Dyki. Yamagami first debuted in RISE in 2009, where he picked up his only win in the 55kg RISING Rookies Cup. Since, he fought to a draw, was knocked out by prospect Seiya Rokukawa and, most recently, dropped a decision to former 55kg champion KENJI, but not without giving him a tough fight. In MMA, he has won 4 in a row, including a 41 second KO of Junji Ikoma to win the Shooto Flyweight title and a 2nd round submission of Junji Ito to defend it. Since KENJI's departure from the sport, Dyki has forcefully claimed his top spot in RISE, scoring three straight wins over Hiroaki Mizuhara, Ariaki Okada and most recently knocking out MA Kick Bantamweight champion Takashi Ohno. Had KENJI stayed in kickboxing, Dyki would have earned a rematch by now. Should he come out on top here, he should either be slotted for a vacant title match or placed in another 4-man tournament, which he would likely be favored to win considering RISE's talent pool at 55kg.

At 63.5kg, top Korean fighter Sun Hyun Lee takes on Buakaw Weerasakreck in the only RISE vs M-1 fight of the card. After losing a superfight to 65kg champion Koji Yoshimoto at RISE 85, Lee has won three straight fights in RISE, defeating 63kg champion Yuki and top contenders Yuto Watanabe and Shohei Asahara. Lee was supposed to face Hiroshi Mizumachi instead of Asahara for a title shot, but I assume he will still get that shot sometime next year and look to increase his stock greatly after Yuki's big win over Javier Hernandez. After starting 2012 with three straight wins, two by TKO, Buakaw moved up to 67kg to face WPMF Japan Welterweight champion T-98, but lost by 3rd round TKO. Since, he has fought once, drawing Shunsuke Oishi earlier this month.

At 61kg, WPMF and WBC Japan Lightweight champion Yosuke Mizuochi takes on Nong'an Sasiprapa. This fight is either for the WPMF World Lightweight title or the right to face Sagetdao Petpayathai, who won the title back in July. Mizuochi has won 7 of his last 8, including winning the WPMF Japan title in a 4-man tournament earlier this year and most recently defeating Keijiro Miyakoshi for the WBC Japan Lightweight title. 

In a bout for the vacant WPMF Women's World Mini-Flyweight title, Erika Kamimura faces Thailand's Loma Lookboonmee. After a 23-1 start to her pro career, Kamimura has lost twice in the last year, dropping decisions to RENA in RISE and Lorena Klijn in the opening round of this year's Girls S-Cup. While she has lost some momentum, she is still an excellent kickboxer with the power to stop the fight at any time. She won this same title in September of 2010, but never defended it and was recently held by Little Tiger, who vacated the title as well. I couldn't find much information on Loma, though I believe she is 16, has won 98 of her 120 fights and is a Rangsit Stadium and Pattaya Stadium champion. 

At 58kg, Rajadamnern Stadium Featherweight champion Sirimongkon P.K. MuayThai takes on Yusuke Shimizu. Shimizu was originally set to face Pornsaneh Sitmonchai, but he was pulled from the card. Shimizu has only fought 4 times over the past year, going 3-1 with the loss coming to Ryuya Kusakabe.

At 67kg, Kaew Fairtex faces Satoshi Taniguchi. Kaew is 2-0 in Japan this year under the M-1 banner, scoring knockouts of Kousuman and Yusuke Sugawara. Taniguchi is more or less an unknown, though he competed in the DEEP*KICK 70kg tournament, where he lost to Ren Takeno.

At 59.5kg, Chang Hyun Lee returns to competition against WPMF Japan #1 ranked Featherweight Daiki Nagashima. Like his teammate Sun Hyun, Chang Hyun Lee got his big break against a rising Japanese star in K-1, defeating Genji Umeno in October in one of the best fights of the year. Nagashima is 3-1 on the year, avenging a 2011 loss to Yuji Umehara, but failing to avenge his other 2011 loss with a grueling decision loss to Yosuke Morii. 

Finally, former Shootboxing Women's Flyweight champion Ai Takahashi takes on Itsuka. Since defeating Rena last June, Takahashi is just 1-2 with a pair of losses to Mizuki Inoue, who has overtaken her at this weight. She needs a win here to stay relevant. Itsuka has lost 3 in a row since a win over Tomoko SP last year.

Not all of the fights on the card were previewed, so click "Read more" to check out the full fight card for this event.

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Enfusion 3: "Trial of the Gladiators" Fight Card for Sunday, December 2

Enfusion recently combined with the UK's Xplosion Fight Series to form Enfusion LIVE, and will launch a series of events next year. This weekend on December 2, the third season of the Enfusion kickboxing reality show comes to an end with the finals, featuring a one night, four man tournament with the 85kg finalists.

The format of the reality show is that fighters qualify for the finals by winning two fights. The four finalists are definitely some of the best fighters at 85kg, being Andrew Tate, Sahak Parparyan, Ritchie Hocking and Franci Grajs. Two semi finals will be fought and the winners of those fights will fight each other in the final.

It's Showtime 85kg champion Sahak Parparyan fights Slovenia's Franci Grajs, while Andrew Tate, who fought Sahak this year, faces Scotland's Ritchie Hocking. This is a pretty interesting tournament, as Grajs and Hocking are definitely less known than Sahak and Tate but they're no doubt good fighters and will provide tough tests and have the ability to cause upsets.

As well as a tournament with the male finalists, there's also a four man women's tournament featuring the show's coaches, in the same format as the men's tournament. Denise Kielholtz faces Lindsay Scheer in one semi final, and on the other side of the tournament, Chajmaa Bellakhal faces Lucy Payne, with the tournament being at 60kg.

The rest of the card features some Slovenian fighters, including Jasmin Becirovic taking on the tough veteran Wendell Roche. All tournament fights are K-1 rules.

75kg MT 3x3: Grega Smole vs. Miljan Vidovic

86kg MT 3x3: Tadej Toplak vs. Ivan Stanic

71kg MT 3x3: Mirko Vorkapic vs. Luke Whelan

Women's 60kg semi final: Chajmaa Bellakhal vs. Lucy Payne

Women's 60kg semi final: Denise Kielholtz vs. Lindsay Scheer

85kg semi final: Andrew Tate vs. Ritchie Hocking

85kg semi final: Sahak Parparyan vs. Franci Grajs

95kg MT 3x3: Jasmin Becirovic vs. Wendell Roche

Women's 60kg Final

Men's 85kg Final

 

 

 

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