|4.||L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni
Welcome back to the LiverKick.com rankings. These rankings are an attempt to break down the top 10 fighters in three different weight classes - Heavyweight, for fighters above the 85kg limit, Middleweight, for fighters at the 70-72.5kg limit, and Light Heavyweight, for fighters at the 77-84kg limit. Our rankings are based on in-ring accomplishments and recent wins and loses. We hope they reflect where these fighters currently stand, although we recognize that all rankings are inherently subjective.
We've decided to take a different approach to the rankings, in the past Fraser Coffeen handled them, but as many are aware, Fraser has since had to step down from his responsibilities at LiverKick.com and has since moved on to other ventures. Our Top 10 list a while back moved on to being a top 25 to reflect a uniformity with our then home of SBNation. We've decided to move back to only including the Top 10 and to opt for the inclusion of Light Heavyweight (77kg - 84kg) to reflect the depth of talent in that weight class.
As this serves as our first foray into the Light Heavyweight division, feel free to speak out if you feel anything is out of place, but we did spend a considerable amount of time tweaking these rankings to make sure they were the best possible representation for this weight class. #1 Artem Levin was a no-brainer. In 2010 he won the IFMA European Muay Thai 75kg tournament, won the SportAccord Muay Thai 75kg tournament, became the WBC World Muay Thai Light Heavyweight Champion and won the It's Showtime 77kg MAX Championship. Then in 2011 he moved up to 81kg in the IFMA European Muay Thai tournament and won that as well. He has pretty much beaten a who's-who in the division and is easily reigning at the top.
The clear cut #2 is Yodsanklai, a Muay Thai fighter who also fights world class kickboxers in his down time. While Yods does hop between weight classes sometimes, he mainly fights at 77kg, with only a few kickboxing losses to Viyisile Colossa, John Wayne Parr and Artem Levin. Wins over Viyisile, the UK's Jordan Watson (I know, Fletch, I know) were still within the 70-73kg class, but a win over #3 Cosmo Alexandre propels him into the top of the division.
Cosmo is an interesting case, as he is among one of the top fighters in the world, and was at one time It's Showtime 77kg MAX Champion, until he decided to participate in Thai Fight without alerting It's Showtime as well as rejecting a lower offer for a fight and severed ties with It's Showtime. After a few tough losses he got back on track at Lion Fights in the United States a few weeks ago. #4 L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni is a fighter that can be frustrating at times. Aussie is clearly a 77kg fighter; he is tall, lean and powerful, but he still insists at times to drop down to 70kg where he looks a bit rough around the edges. A few losses can't derail forward movement for him, though, as he continues to forge ahead.
#5 Nieky Holzken is in action this weekend, fighting someone from his past home of 70kg in Artur Kyshenko at a catchweight of 74kg (technically within the -77kg division) at the Glory World Series. Since committing to 77kg Holzken has been on a roll, with only one loss to Aussie last year. If you don't know #6 Dmitry Shakuta you will soon enough. Shok is the former It's Showtime 77kg MAX Champion before losing the title to Cosmo, he also holds a rare win over Artem Levin and could at any time make a run at the top again. #7 Vladimir Moravcik has kept himself incredibly busy over the last few years against top competition and is still only walking around with 3 losses, he fights at 73 - 74kg usually, making him too big for 70kg and too small for 77kg, but a perfect fit for It's Showtime's 73kg MAX title.
#8 Alexander Stretsurenko is a fighter whose name you'll see on a lot of the top fighter's records as a (W), but still holds very impressive victories as well as holds his own with the very top fighters in the division. #9 Sem Braan falls into the same category as a fighter who is working his way up and ready to breakout. #10 Khalid Bourdif is a fighter that we honestly do not know a ton about, but every time we've seen him he was incredible impressive and holds some very good victories over big names, he could easily move up a few spots within this year if he remains active.