|Heavyweight (Per 1/20)|
|6.||Mirko Cro Cop
|Light HW (per 1/20)|
|Middleweight (per 1/20)|
|Welterweight (per 1/20)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 1/20)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
Look, I know that only Americans call it Soccer and that everywhere else in the world it is Football. I get it. The...Read more
The main attraction on this card is obviously the eight man 70kg tournament that everyone is raving about. Initially, Giorgio Petrosyan was slated for the tournament but a recurring hand injury forced him out. Robin van Roosmalen stepped in to take his place. While not as stacked as the usually yearly K-1 MAX World Grand Prix, it's great to see a tournament consisting of top talent in a down year for kickboxing. We'll start with the quarter final match-ups and work our way up.
Artur Kyshenko vs. Gago Drago
These two met back in March, with Kyshenko not having any trouble as he cruised to a unanimous decision. Drago has lost four in a row and could desperately use a win. As talked about by Dave Walsh and Steven Wright, Drago sometimes just doesn't show up and puts on mediocre performances, which lead to the ugly losses he has on his record. Drago is tough when he shows up though, and if he really brings it, Kyshenko could have some problems. Everyone has Drago figured out by now though, and with Kyshenko having fought him twice, shouldn't have too much trouble. Artur Kyshenko by decision or stoppage if he really turns it up.
Andy Souwer vs. Harut Grigorian
This is the easiest fight in the tournament to pick. Harut Grigorian is solid, but we're talking about Andy Souwer here, a top three kickboxer at 70kg since 2005. I think a good comparison to this fight is back when Souwer fought Leroy Kaestner. Kaestner is a solid fighter and was up and coming at the time, but it was clear Souwer was on another level. I think Souwer will finish this one though, in the second round after showing Grigorian who's boss in the first.
Robin van Roosmalen vs. Chahid Oulad El Hadj
Rematches seem to be a common theme for this tournament, as these two have also fought once before back in March, with van Roosmalen taking a decision in a competitive fight. I expect the same outcome as the first fight. Chahid has stayed the same for the past few years, while van Roosmalen continues to improve. This fight will definitely be back and forth. Expect to see traded combos throughout the fight, with van Roosmalen getting the better shots in. This has all the makings of another great Dutch style battle. Robin van Roosmalen by decision.
Chris Ngimbi vs. Murat Direkci
This is a rematch of their title fight back in December where Ngimbi emerged the new champion. Both looked lackluster, and I personally had Direkci winning. Since then, Direkci hasn't fought and Ngimbi defended his title in spectacular fashion against Willy Borrel in May. Ngimbi has a lot of hype with him, and while he's improved, I think he needs to prove himself more. He didn't look great in winning the title, and Willy Borrel was just outmatched. That being said, I still think Ngimbi takes this. Direkci isn't getting any younger and is coming off a long layoff. Ngimbi is improving and has found a great home at the Siam Gym. Chris Ngimbi by decision.
Now onto the semi finals. If everything goes the way I see it going, Andy Souwer matches up with Artur Kyshenko and Chris Ngimbi with Robin van Roosmalen. I see Souwer tiring Kyshenko out. Kyshenko has conditioning problems at 70kg, and he'll probably have to be working the whole time against Drago. He won't have a full gas tank by the time he gets to Souwer, and it'll show. Kyshenko is incredibly tough to finish so I'll take Souwer by decision.
Robin van Roosmalen vs. Chris Ngimbi would be quite an interesting match-up. van Roosmalen is always in the fight and if Ngimbi goes into one of the inactive phases he seems to have from time to time, he'll be jumped on. Ngimbi would need to sneak in counter shots and of course, find a spot for his knee strikes. van Roosmalen would need to pressure and land combos. He can't let Ngimbi have any space to get going. I think I'll go out on a limb here and take van Roosmalen by a tight decision in this hypothetical match-up.
That leaves my hypothetical finals at Andy Souwer vs. Robin van Roosmalen. I think Souwer can outgun van Roosmalen with with more firepower and more experience in big time tournaments. There you have it, winner of my hypothetical It's Showtime 70kg tournament, Andy Souwer.
Enjoy the show tomorrow.Add a comment
The It's Showtime event tomorrow is centered around the 70kg tournament, and in the tournament's shadows is a world title fight at 77kg. Artem "The Lion" Levin will look to defend his belt against Murthel "The Model" Groenhart. It's another case of weird circumstances for a title shot, as Groenhart's last fight was at 70kg and before that against Errol Koning, who is nowhere near the title. Nonetheless, it's still an attractive fight with two well known names in kickboxing.
Artem Levin is probably the best 77kg fighter in the world. He fights anywhere from 77-82kg, taking on all comers. He's very active, taking part in both Muay Thai and kickboxing regularly. When he's not fighting professional, he's bolstering his amateur credentials. The man is truly a workhorse. Levin's last fight came on September 2nd at the MuayThai Premier League's inaugural event, stopping David Keclik with a beautiful flying knee. This fight is a quick turn-around from September 2nd, but Levin is no stranger to that.
Murthel Groenhart last fought in June, brutalizing Rafi Zouheir at It's Showtime's event in Spain. The fight came at 70kg and Murthel took the fight on a week's notice, after fighting at 77kg the previous week. Groenhart has been inconsistent for the past few years, with wins and losses all over the board. He's come up short against top competition and fighting arguably the number one 77kg fighter in the world doesn't help his cause.
Artem Levin has such a unique and confusing style to face. He'll fight with his hands below his waste and encourage fighters to come throw at him. He doesn't mind getting hit at all and will gladly take a few to land a few of his own. Levin can do everything well, punching, kicking, kneeing, all while dictating the fight. Groenhart gets over aggressive at times and get countered, falling right into Levin's trap. I'm thinking Groenhart might go for blood when he sees Levin's hands at his waste, and this could very well be the beginning of the end for him. Simply put, Groenhart is a good fighter, Levin is an elite fighter.
Groenhart definitely won't back down in the fight. I have no doubt that he'll get some shots in, but Levin is just on another level of skill. Groenhart would obviously do better coming forward, no one wants Artem Levin backing them up. The way I see it going is Levin will have his hands down, Groenhart will maybe land a shot and then once he lands a shot, will go all out. This is where Levin clinches and turns it around, then gets his shots in and takes over the fight.
Groenhart has losses at both 70 and 77 kilograms, while Levin has gone as high as 82kg, tasting much harder punches. I don't think Levin will be phased by what Groenhart throws his way at all. He's the bigger man and he'll act like it in the fight.
My prediction? Murthel Groenhart is "The Model" and Artem Levin is "The Lion." Now imagine what would happen in real life if a model fought a lion. Artem Levin by TKO in the third round, retaining his title.Add a comment
It's been the standard in kickboxing for a while now to call fights on a card that don't have anything to do with a tournament "super fights." Whether you agree that they're super is another story. On tomorrow's card there are two super fights on the main card, featuring two fighters based out of Belgium, who It's Showtime would like to set up for wins in front of the home crowd. Let's get to the breakdowns.
Marat Grigorian is the Belgian fighter here, who It's Showtime has showcased in Belgium before. Grigorian is coming off a loss in a tough fight to Yohan Lidon for the It's Showtime 73MAX World Title back in May. Since then, Grigorian hasn't seen any action and must be itching to get back in the ring. He'll take on Yassin Baitar, who has some experience fighting tough competition in Robin van Roosmalen and Karim Ghajji. Baitar lost both fights but stuck around in the fights, despite not being on the same level.
As for how Baitar will fare against Grigorian? Baitar lets his opponents impose their games on him way too easily, and this is how he loses most of his fights. This is something that must be avoided at all costs when fighting Marat Grigorian. Grigorian will just hunt guys down, bringing relentless pressure, with his main weapons being hooks, uppercuts and knees. He'll punish both the head and the body until the opponent can't go on anymore. I wouldn't say he's a big time puncher, as most of his stoppages come from just overwhelming opponents.
With the way Baitar lets fighters back him up, I'd say this match-up is tailor made for Grigorian. Add to the fact that Baitar took this on short notice, I definitely favor Grigorian. This is somewhat just It's Showtime keeping Grigorian busy and throwing him a bone. He's capable of competing with much higher level opponents and should take this without much trouble I'll take Marat Grigorian by TKO in the third round.
This is another case of It's Showtime giving a stay busy fight to a local fighter. Kreshnik has been a regular on It's Showtime cards but this year hasn't fought at all. His last fight was in December where he was outclassed by Nenad Pagonis in Greece. Prior to that, he was dismantled by Hesdy Gerges. It's Showtime has brought in an easier opponent for him this time in Moises Baute of Spain. Baute is pretty sloppy and it's clear here he's being brought in to lose.
Then again, Kreshnik isn't exactly the most technical fighter either, but has much more experience fighting a higher level of competition. Baute has mostly fought around Spain, where there aren't many good fighters north of 95kg. Kreshnik has atleast been in the ring with and defeated some decent guys like Rico Verhoeven and Tomas Hron. Take a look at Baute's resume (if you can even find it) and there's not much there.
The edge undoubtedly goes to Rustemi Kreshnik here, that is if he's been training since his last fight, not sitting on the couch. I wouldn't expect this to be a very good fight to be honest, with potential to be a long, drawn out slopfest. Hopefully I'm wrong in this aspect. Rustemi Kreshnik by decision.Add a comment
Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of speaking with a guy you all should know by now, Steven Wright for a while. Steve is a guy that has been around the fight industry for a while now. Be it fighting himself, training UFC-level fighters or filming his upcoming documentary on the kickfighting world, he is a guy you should know. Steve has a pretty awesome podcast that has been going strong for most of this year, Warman's Kickfighting Show. Basically if something big is happening, he talks about it. Yesterday I spoke with Steve for the better part of an hour about this weekend's upcoming shows, from It's Showtime's Fast and Furious 70kg MAX tournament, K-1's MAX Japan tournament to the Thai Fight Extreme card. We talk about it all and technology only hates us a few times. Make sure to visit the home of the show and subscribe on itunes as well. You should also be following him on Twitter because there will be a lot of shows and a lot of talk about them coming up.
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