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Heavyweight (Per 4/15)
1. Rico Verhoeven
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Tyrone Spong
5. Peter Aerts
6. Errol Zimmerman up
7. Benjamin Adegbuyiup
8. Ismael Londt up
9. Hesdy Gerges up
10. Ben Edwards up

Light HW (per 4/15)
1. Gokhan Saki up
2. Tyrone Spong down
3. Danyo Ilunga
4. Nathan Corbett down
5. Saulo Cavalari

Middleweight (per 4/15)
1. Wayne Barrett
2. Joe Schilling
3. Artem Levin
4. Steven Wakeling
5. Franci Grajs

Welterweight (per 4/15)
1. Nieky Holzken 
2. Joseph Valtellini 
3. Simon Marcus
4. Marc de Bonte
5. Aussie Ouzgni

 

70kg (Per 4/15)
1. Davit Kiriaup
2. Andy Ristiedown
3. Robin van Roosmalendown
4. Giorgio Petrosyandown
5. Murthel Groenhart
6. Buakaw Banchamek
7. Dzhabar Askerov
8. Ky Hollenbeckup
9. Aikprachaup
10. Enriko Kehlup

65kg (per 1/20)
1. Masaaki Noiri
2. Mosab Amraniup
3. Yuta Kubo down
4. Sagetdao
5. Liam Harrison

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levingroenhart

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.

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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.

 

 grigorianbaitar

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.

 

 kreshnikbaute

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.

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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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Earlier today, RISE and Shooto kicked off this weekend's packed schedule which includes events being put on by It's Showtime, K-1, UFC, DREAM and Strikeforce.

In the night's main event, RISE Super Featherweight champion and K-1 veteran Kosuke Komiyama won a non-title bout against Korean Muay Thai Federation Super Featherweight champion Kim Jin-Hyuk by decision on scores of 27-26, 28-27 and 29-28. I'm not sure what prompted the weird scores, but all judges seemed to have the same idea, having Komiyama ahead by a point on all 3 cards. The win makes it 5 in a row for the champion who took the title from Kan Itabashi at RISE 74 back in February. Up next for Komiyama will probably be a title defense or perhaps a fight with Krush 60kg champion Hirotaka Urabe who Komiyama called out. However at the Krush 12 weigh-ins today, Urabe dismissed the notion. A rematch with Itabashi for the title would have to wait a while as Itabashi is set to face Masahiro Yamamoto at It's Showtime Japan 4/REBELS 9 on October 23rd.

In the night's co-feature, RISE Super Lightweight champion Koji Yoshimoto beat #1 ranked Lightweight Hiroshi Mizumachi by majority decision on scores of 28-27(x2) and 27-27. The win is Yoshimoto's second straight after winning a decision against Shohei Asahara in a reserve fight of the K-1 Japan 63kg Tournament. If Yoshimoto defends his title successfully, look for him to face off with Yusuke Sugawara for a third time with the winner possibly getting some attention from K-1. For Mizumachi, it's a 5th straight loss and could signal an end to his career in the near future.

In a #1 contender's bout for the right to face Yoshimoto, #2 ranked Yasuomi Soda remained undefeated, improving his record to 11-0 (4 KO) with a 2nd round knockout of #3 ranked Kotetsu. Soda picked up a win in an opening fight at the K-1 Japan 63kg Tournament. His fight with Yoshimoto will be a good step up in competition and will show just how good the 23 year old is. A win would definitely put Soda on K-1's radar.

In the semifinals of a 4-man tournament for Nobuchika Terado's recently vacated Bantamweight title, Yuta Kubo's brother and NJKF Flyweight champion KENJI beat RISE #3 ranked bantamweight Ryuma Tobe by majority decision on scores of 29-28, 28-27 and 28-28. In the other semifinal, #1 ranked Dyki knocked out 20 year old Shootboxing representative Kazayuki Fushimi in the 3rd round. The finals will take place at RISE 85 on November 23rd which already has RENA vs Erika Kamimura set as the main event.

In the Heavyweight division, K-1 fighter Singh "Heart" Jaideep and Korean Raoumaru both picked up knockout wins. Jaideep scored a 1st round flying knee KO of #5 ranked Tsutomu Takahagi while Raoumaru scored a 3rd round knockout of MMA fighter Bernard Ackah. For Jaideep, it's a 3rd straight win and for Raoumaru, it's a bounce back from his loss in a title fight with Makoto Uehara back at RISE 80 in July.

In a lightweight matchup, former J-NETWORK Super Lightweight champion Shunsuke Oishi knocked out RISE #2 ranked Lightweight Yuto Watanabe in the 3rd round. The win is Oishi's first this year as he lost his title to Yusuke Sugawara in June. For Watanabe, it's a second straight defeat after coming off a loss to Toshiki Taniyama in a reserve fight at the K-1 63kg Japan Tournament in June. Oishi could end up facing off with Sugawara in J-NETWORK or RISE in the future to determine a challenger to Yoshimoto's title.

In a slight upset, #4 ranked Super Featherweight TURBΦ dropped a decision to #5 ranked Yutonaka Egawa on scores of 28-27(x2) and 29-28. TURBΦ had just snapped his 3-fight losing streak with a close win over Junpei Aotsu and is now back on the losing trail. Next for Egawa could be a fight with the #2 or #3 fighters in his division in what could be a #1 contender's bout as #1 ranked Kan Itabashi is currently wrapped up with It's Showtime obligations.

Finally, K-1 vet Jae Gil Noh picked up a decision win over #7 ranked RISE Middleweight KEN. Noh was last seen in K-1 knocking out Go Yokoyama who is set for a reserve fight at this weekend's K-1 MAX 70kg Japan Tournament.

Next up for RISE is RISE 84 on October 30th.

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reserve

Before we get to the main attraction on Saturday at the It's Showtime Fast & Furious 70MAX event, the reserve fights will be taking place on the undercard. These fights won't be televised,and we'll probably never see them but they're still important in that if one of the tournament participants get injured, the winners of these bouts will be substituted in their place. Now before we get into breaking down the fights, let's be real here. None of these fighters really deserve a reserve spot, having not done anything to warrant them.

Reserve Fight #1: William Diender vs. Andy Ristie

How William Diender received a reserve spot is pretty puzzling. Name a fighter and there's a big chance he's lost to them. Diender has lost seven of his last eight, including a dreadful six fight losing streak. As for Andy Ristie, he's a pretty decent fighter himself. Ristie still doesn't have the resume to justify a reserve spot though.

A good comparison to Andy Ristie in my opinion would be Marco Pique.  Much like Pique, Ristie loves using his step up and jump knees. He's really light on his feet and can move around the ring efficiently enough to give opponents trouble. Add in his aggressive fighting style and I favor Andy Ristie in this fight. Both guys don't have great defence by any means but atleast Ristie will move away from strikes while Diender just stands in front of his opponent and absorbs shots. Ristie will leave himself open a lot but Diender doesn't have enough power to throw him off.

If I were to predict the outcome, I'd say Andy Ristie will tag Diender with knees to the body many times in the fight and finish it in the third round. That or he takes a wide decision.

Reserve Fight #2: Fatih Ozkan vs. Nordin Benmoh

Again, another head-scratcher here. Neither of these guys have done anything to warrant a reserve spot. Fatih Ozkan came up short in a competitive fight against Mosab Amrani in February while Nordin Benmoh laid out Ibrahim Chiahou in pretty spectacular fashion in the same month. Benmoh has grown quite well into a 70kg frame, while Ozkan is still on the small side and could probably fight at lower weights.

Nordin Benmoh has a decent understanding of how to fight tall, and he'll need to do it in this fight. He'll have to stay on the outside and pick his shots. He tends to explode on opponents when he has them backed up and often leaves himself open. This is where Ozkan could catch him if he isn't careful. Benmoh has sufficient power and his progression as a fighter from a few years ago has been apparent. Ozkan will have to pressure him in order to win.  He can't afford to have lapses of inactivity in the fight either, as that's where Benmoh will start unleashing the full arsenal of power strikes.

My prediction? Nordin Benmoh by decision. I think he has some upside and potential that can be utilized with his frame at 70kg. In his recent fights, he's shown a better understanding of using his height and better judgement of when to unleash with power shots. Then again, I could be way off here, as Steven Wright and Dave Walsh both picked Fatih Ozkan.

To sum it up: None of these fighters really stand a chance against anyone in the tournament. No one here has done anything to warrant a reserve spot. Hate to sound like a negative nancy but that's just how I see it, and I'm sure how many others do as well.

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