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Yuki vs Lee 2, Morii vs Pornsaneh Headline RISE/M-1 ~Infinity.II~

After a successful first event, RISE and M-1 Muay Thai Challenge announced that they would be repeating their efforts from earlier this month and bringing us RISE/M-1MC ~Infinity.II~ on January 6th. The event already has some great fights announced and is sure to start the year off with a bang.

In a bout that will likely headline the event, RISE 63kg champion Yuki puts his title on the line in a rematch against South Korean standout Sun Hyun Lee. The two first fought at RISE 88 with Lee taking a majority decision, though the fight could have easily been scored more one-sidedly in favor of Lee. Since, Yuki has fought just once, but scored the biggest win of his career in doing so, stopping former It's Showtime champion Javier Hernandez via low kicks. Lee is 3-0 with wins over top RISE contenders Yuto Watanabe and Shohei Asahara and most recently obliterating Buakaw WSR at the first Infinity event. The two bring similar strengths, as both excel with low kicks and have pretty good boxing, but the biggest difference between the two is speed and power. Lee brings a speedy, high volume attack while Yuki is known for his power, both in his hands and his signature low kicks. Lee will likely have the edge in conditioning, favoring him in this 5 round fight, but Yuki has the power to slow him down and even end the fight at any time. That said, I favor Lee by a wide margin here and see him taking a decision and the RISE title.

In the second biggest announcement, former Lumpinee Stadium champion Pornsaneh Sitmonchai takes on top ranked Featherweight Yosuke Morii at 59kg. Pornsaneh was originally slated for the first Infinity event, but was unable to compete due to the Lumpinee birthday show, but there's no reason for him not to compete here other than injury. Morii has been at the top of the Japanese Featherweight division for the past 2 years, losing only to Genji Umeno and Hiroki Akimoto in that time. Morii did take a fight in Thailand earlier this year with unfavorable results, but a win over Pornsaneh would be huge for him and could even spark a run at a Stadium title.

Speaking of Genji Umeno, he will also fight at this event against another Korean, Seung Ryul Kim, at 60kg. After dominating the Japanese scene, Umeno looked poised to possibly become the first Japanese champion of Lumpinee Stadium, but an offer to fight in K-1 put that quest on the backburner. Umeno faced Chang Hyun Lee, a fighter who fans knew little about other than that he was a teammate of Sun Hyun Lee. That changed after the two put on one of the best fights of 2012, a 3 round battle that saw Chang Hyun come out on top. Umeno seeks revenge against a Korean opponent and a win here could set up an anticipated rematch between Umeno and Lee. Standing in his way is Kim who, like Lee, there is little information about other than that he fights out of Team Bin, the home of K-1 veteran Chi Bin Lim. A win here gives Kim a name and gives us another Korean fighter to look out for. 

The card also boasts three more Japan vs Thailand matchups with Arashi Fujiwara vs Pepunoy Parisha at 53kg, Sota Ichinohe vs Lucktawarun Esugym at 57.5kg and Chemical Shunta vs Kongnapa WSR at 59.5kg. I believe Kongnapa WSR is Kongnapa Sirimongkol who fought Genji Umeno twice, going 1-1.

Still slated to compete at the event but without opponents are Yuto Watanabe, Seiya Rokukawa and Hiroki Maeda, among others.

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Another Cro Cop Final Fight On March 15, Plans For 2013

This year's Cro Cop Final Fight took place in March, with Mirko Cro Cop headlining the card against Ray Sefo. Along with the main event, the event helped to introduce a number of up and coming Croatian fighters such as Toni Milanovic and Agron Preteni. 

Another event of the same nature will take place on March 15 in Zagreb, Croatia at the Zagreb Arena under the Final Fight banner. A press conference will be held in January to reveal full details of the event and plans for the Final Fight series in 2013. Orsat Zovko, Cro Cop's manager, owner of Fight Channel and promoter of Final Fight spoke with fightsite.hr and gave some details on what to expect for the event on March 15 and for next year in general. Zovko also noted that he has no idea what's going on with K-1 and the World Grand Prix Finals, even saying that he moved Cro Cop's MMA fight with Pedro Rizzo to May because of K-1, but now has no idea what is happening.

Zovko also stated that Simon Rutz, formerly of It's Showtime and now of GLORY, visited him in Zagreb and that there are concrete plans to produce and organize GLORY events with Fight Channel for next year.

Expect Mirko Cro Cop and a number of up and coming Croatian fighters to be on the March 15 event. Zovko said he plans to introduce some Croatian fighters that he thinks have the potential to be stars. Hopefully these fighters include the likes of Toni Milanovic and Agron Preteni.

Check out the full interview here on fightsite.hr.

 

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Badr Hari Has Lost 23kg In Prison, Denied Parole

The Badr Hari saga continues, as now he's making more news in the Netherlands while continuing to be in prison. Hari was initially released from prison to await trial, but found himself back in when he violated the terms of his release by contacting witnesses and going to a restaurant.

Today, news got out via Badr Hari's lawyer in his request for Hari to be released again that Hari has lost 23kg (50.5lbs) so far since his original stint in prison, also saying that he had become very depressed in the process. Hari's lawyer was trying to get him out of prison for the holidays.

The request for parole was rejected, with the court saying that no new arguments were presented and that releasing Hari would be against the interest of society.

The main case against Badr Hari is the assault on Koen Everink on July 8, where Everink was badly beaten and had his ankle stomped on so hard that is was severely damaged. Everink is now able to walk, but doctors say he will never be able to play sports or run again.

In short, there's a reason we took Badri Hari off the LiverKick rankings. He won't be fighting any time in the near future because of his prison stint, with trial upcoming in January. To add to that, he's clearly in no shape to fight, having lost such a significant amount of weight. [source]

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Yoshihiro Sato vs Kenta Added to Krush.26

Krush announced earlier today that 2-time K-1 MAX Japan Tournament champion, 2010 World MAX Tournament finalist and current ISKA Middleweight champion Yoshihiro Sato would be returning to Krush to take on former Krush 70kg champion and current NJKF Super Welterweight champion Kenta at Krush.26 on January 26th. Sato (49-19-0, 20 KO) takes his first fight in Krush since Krush.16 in February where he defeated Fadi Merza to claim the ISKA Middleweight title. He has not faced Japanese opposition since a decision win over Yuji Nashiro in 2010 and has lost two in a row to Shemsi Beqiri and Sanny Dahlbeck in GLORY. While it was inarguable that Sato was the top Japanese fighter at 70kg in 2010, the division has seen the re-emergence of Yasuhiro Kido as well as the appearance of new talent like Kenta, Yuji Nashiro and Takafumi Morita, among others. While Sato is still, without a doubt, a top 2 or 3 fighter at the weight in Japan, his lack of domestic opposition in recent years makes it hard to determine if he is still a divisional kingpin, or if he has been surpassed. Kenta (25-10-3, 8 KO) will look for a fresh start in 2013 after a rough 2012 that saw him lose to TOMOYUKI, Yasuhiro Kido and Soichiro Miyakoshi, losing his Krush and WBC Japan titles in the latter two fights. He also managed wins over Shu Kiire and Takenaka Shirakami, defending his NJKF title in the latter, but his standing in the division has taken a big hit. The winner of this fight is likely the #1 contender for the 70kg title, which Yasuhiro Kido defends against Takuro Moriya at a date yet to be determined, but the resulting winner of what is essentially a 4-man tournament will be able to claim that he is the #1 70kg fighter in Japan. For Sato, a win means reinforcing what many still believe and it sets up a likely rematch with Yasuhiro Kido in a showdown between, at least in my opinion, the top two Middleweights in Japan. For Kenta, a win means regaining divisional relevance and a likely rubber match with Kido which could vault him into divisional supremacy, a place he seemed destined for in 2011. 

This fight joins the opening rounds of the Krush 58kg tournament and the 2013 55kg WILDRUSH League.

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