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Keys to Victory: Hesdy Gerges

On March 6th, Daniel Ghita will take on Hesdy Gerges in the main event of It's Showtime Sporthallen Zuid. This is the second in a two-part series where I will lay out the keys to victory for each fighter. Today, we'll look at Hesdy Gerges. You can find the first part of this series here.

Strengths:

Athleticism - Hesdy is the taller and slimmer fighter and he'll have to use that to his advantage against Daniel. Gerges doesn't carry the kind of knockout power that Daniel does in his hands or kicks so he will have to rely on his ability to put combinations together and move in and out of Ghita's range to avoid his big punches and leg kicks. There are times in the past where Daniel has tired in the later rounds of a fight so that's somewhere Hesdy can capitalize if his stamina keeps up.

Range - When a fighter has a reach advantage and has the ability utilize it to their advantage, they often control the standup and dictate the pace. This is an area where Gerges can really control Ghita if he can enforce his will. If Hesdy can keep Ghita at the end of his jab, straight right, and leg kicks, it will pay big dividends as the fight progresses.

Kicks - Though not as devastating as Ghita's kicks, Gerges' kicks are effective and have won him fights in the past. Daniel's legs are like mighty Redwood trees and very durable but well placed kicks will have negative effects on any fighter if they are landed repeatedly. With Ghita relying on his kicks as much as he does, if Hesdy can slow them down even a little bit, that's a big plus for him.

Weaknesses:

Size - It sounds odd to list size as a weakness for the taller fighter but Gerges doesn't carry a lot of mass. Mass that can go a long way in absorbing the brutal body kicks and punches that Ghita brings to the table. We saw what those dangerous strikes did to Gokhan Saki in the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Saki's body was so wrecked that he could not continue for more than a moment against Alistair Overeem in the semifinals. This makes Gerges being able to stay out of Ghita's range even more important.

Complacency - When you have nearly half of your wins by way of decision, it can be argued that you should place a bigger emphasis on finishing a fight. Of course, there are a lot of tough fighters out there and you can't finish every fight by brutal KO, but allow a fighter of Daniel Ghita's caliber to hang around and it can cost you in a big way.

Keys to Victory:

For Hesdy Gerges to go home victorious on March 6th, he'll need to use his reach to stay outside of Daniel's range, pepper him with shots, and wear him down. A knockout is always a possibility in kickboxing but with Ghita only being finished by KO once in his career, I wouldn't rely on that. Hesdy needs to avoid Ghita's leg kicks in the early stages of the fight when Daniel is fresh and carrying big power in his legs.

If Hesdy Gerges can apply this gameplan against Daniel Ghita, I believe he can be victorious on March 6th.

Who are you picking to win? Leave me a comment and explain why.

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Gilbert Melendez vs Tatsuya Kawajiri Unofficial VTR

Earlier this week Strikeforce finally announced some details in regards to their April 9th event. No, we won't get the Heavyweight GP but we do get a couple great title fights including Lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez (18-2) defending his belt against Tatsuya Kawajiri (27-6-2).

In anticpation of what's sure to be a great fight, here's a finely produced Japanese VTR I stumbled across. Enjoy!

 

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It's Showtime: Why This Show Matters

It's ShowtimeThis Saturday marks the start of the 2011 It’s Showtime season, and in many ways, the start of the major international 2011 season. There have been a few notable fights already this year (Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Sudsakorn and Andy Souwer’s upset loss both come to mind), but this will be the first major top-to-bottom event. So, why should you care about this show? Well…

1. It’s Showtime might very well be the future of kickboxing. This coming year is going to be a big one in determining the future of our sport. With K-1 in serious trouble and the European hotbed of Amsterdam causing headaches for promoters, we could see a drastic reduction in the international scope of professional kickboxing. It’s Showtime is doing everything they can to fight against that tide. By running more and more shows in an increasingly diverse market, they are continuing the steady expansion plan that has brought them success so far. Of course, with expansion there is always a fear that you will overextend yourself, creating a company too large for the resources in hand. So far, It’s Showtime has been very strategic in their expansion, and I think that will continue this year – but there’s no doubt 2011 represents a key moment in the history of kickboxing.

2. The main event is a beautifully matched top 10 showdown. It’s rare in any combat sport that we get two fighters so closely matched, but Daniel Ghita vs. Hesdy Gerges is a perfect match-up. Both men are young fighters who look to be the future of the sport. Both are in the top 10, with Ghita just one spot ahead of Gerges. Both had break-out years in 2009 and 2010, but neither man has yet scored that one major win that propels them to the next level. Most are favoring Ghita here (including a massive 70% of LK readers), which is understandable, but this is a very close fight that Gerges has every opportunity to win. One tough hurdle for the It’s Showtime champ could be his recent arrest for suspected drug trafficking. That case seems to be dropped, but the interruption to his training and the mental stress of being incarcerated can’t be good for a fighter heading into such a serious challenge.

3. Both men in the semi-main event need to win. Andy Souwer vs. L’houcine Ouzgni could easily headline a show. Two technical marvels, this is a fight that will be pure candy for fans of the precise art of stand-up. That’s reason enough to be excited for this one, but there’s an extra element to this fight given where each man stands in his career. Souwer’s last year was not exactly a career highlight for the decorated veteran. After suffering an eye injury and finding himself inexplicably on the outs with K-1 MAX, Souwer has since lost 2 of his last 3 fights – both against unranked opponents. He really needs to win here, but he has a tough task ahead of him. Ouzgni meanwhile had a tremendous 2010... almost. He made huge waves in his It’s Showtime debut, and looked poised to win the company’s 77kg title and start a dominant run as champion. Instead, in the year’s last show, Ouzgni was stopped by Artem Levin. In that fight, Ouzgni seemed to give up both size and strength to his opponent. Now, he’s dropping down to 70kg. He’ll have a massive size advantage here, but will it come at the expense of a too severe weight cut? Hopefully not, as Ouzgni could end up a man lost between two divisions.

4. Gago Drago vs. Artur Kyshenko. Not too much to say here, except that this match will be fun. Drago always brings the excitement, and I expect Kyshenko will match him. This one has kind of been lost in the shuffle, but it’s another excellent, very evenly matched fight that could steal the show. Along those same lines, look for exciting fights from William Diender vs, Rachid Belaini and Chahid Oulad El Hadj vs. Robin van Roosmalen.

5. The return of the 95kg title. Former champ Tyrone Spong has kept this division on ice for the last few years as he has made the move up to Heavyweight. Now, with Spong out of the picture, It’s Showtime looks to crown a new champ between Wendell Roche and Danyo Ilunga. Their inclusion of different weight classes is one of the things that makes IS unique, and it will be exciting to see how this division grows in 2011. Last year, Cosmo Alexandre’s title run brought the 77kg division to the spotlight – can either Roche or Ilunga do the same for 95?

Don’t forget, the show is tomorrow and is available for purchase at showtimefights.com for 10 euro. Start time is 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

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Yamamoto Prepares for Gono

yamamotoK-1 MAX fighter Yuya Yamamoto held a public practice session on Friday as he prepares for his March 19th Superfight against Mixed-Martial-Artist and former All-Japan Kickboxing champion Akihiro Gono.

Yamamoto has found success in the smaller Krush promotion winning his past two fights including a knock out win over Masakazu Watanabe this past January whereas he's struggled on the bigger K-1 stage losing his last three fights.

Krush recently announced a -70kg Tournament (K-1 MAX weight) kicking off April 30th and baring any injuries, I would expect to see particiaption from Yamamoto in the tournament regardless of the outcome in his match against Gono.

Krush ~ Triple Final Round, March 19th, 2011
Tokyo Korakuen Hall

  • Superfight 70kg (K-1 3Rx3min Ext. 1R)
    Akihiro Gono vs. Yuya Yamamoto
  • -63kg Semi-Final (K-1 3Rx3min Ext. 1R)
    Koya Urabe vs. Takuya Shirahama
  • -63kg Semi-Final (K-1 3Rx3min Ext. 1R)
    Ryujia Kajiwara vs. Kizaemon Saiga
  • -60kg Semi-Final (K-1 3Rx3min Ext. 1R)
    Massaki Noiri vs. Yuji Takeuchi
  • -60kg Semi-Final (K-1 3Rx3min Ext. 1R)
    Massaki Noiri vs. Yuji Takeuchi
  • -55kg Semi-Final (K-1 3Rx3min Ext. 1R)
    Ryuya Kusakabe vs. Hiroaki Mizuhara
  • -55kg Semi-Final (K-1 3Rx3min Ext. 1R)
    KENJI vs. Shota Takiya
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