This is my second post on clinch rules in K-1 and how they've changed. Post I featured Buakaw Por Pramuk's utter destruction of Takayuki Kohiruimaki via clinch knees.
In 2005, K-1 made its first major change to its clinch fighting rules. Fighters could now only throw one knee per clinch. Pre-2005, extended clinching with knees had been allowed, in the fashion of Muay Thai. People speculated as to why K-1 made this change, most citing Schilt's dominance with knees in the WGP, others citing the clinch skills of a fighter newly arrived in MAX, Buakaw Por Pramuk. No one really knows and, to my knowledge, K-1's explanation that it made fights more exciting was not readily taken up by the K-1 community.
This is from the 2006 K-1 MAX Final 16. Notice how Buakaw, very aggressive in the clinch against Kohi, now limits himself to one knee in the clinch, in accordance with the rule change in 2005. Until 2006, referees seemed unsure as to how to enforce the rule, but by this point they were quicker in breaking clinches and warning fighters, as they do in the third.
Virgil Kalakoda, a South African boxer, turned to K-1 in 2005. He was slow to add weapons to his repertoire and, facing Buakaw the year after his debut, he employs mostly hands in a bullying, smothering style.
Watch Virgil's attempts to shut down Buakaw's traditional kicking game and how Buakaw responds to Virgil's strategy. Virgil actually has a large weight advantage over Buakaw, being as he moved down from 78 kg, 170 lb, in boxing to fight K-1 at 70 kg, while Buakaw moved from 63.5 kg, 140 lb, to fight in the MAX. The mass likely makes his tactics more effective. Buakaw wears the red gloves in this bout, Virgil the blue.