|Heavyweight (Per 10/13)|
|1.||Semmy Schilt (?)|
|7.||Mirko Cro Cop|
|Light HW (per 10/13)|
|Middleweight (per 11/25)|
|Welterweight (per 10/13)|
|70kg (Per 11/25)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 10/6)|
Prakaisaeng Sit-Or fought Thepsutin Pumpanmuang this January 8th in the groups stage of the 67 kg Isuzu Tournament in Thailand. The tournament decides the Thai participant in the next Thai Fight Tournament. Kem Sitsongpeenong and Sudsakorn 13 Coins Gym are slated to fight next in the tournament on January 15th.
Prakaisaeng is a strong contender in the tournament, having scored a win over Kem, the favorite to take the tournament, on August 8th, 2010. He can be considered something of a dark horse. It remains to be seen how his size plays out as, prior to the tournament, he'd competed at super welterweight 154 lb. Loss of power from a weight cut down to 147 lb may have contributed to his early tournament loss against Dernchonlek Sor Sor Niyom on November 27, 2010.
Thepsutin is one of the more experienced fighters in the tournament at 147 lb. He is slowing down physically at this point in his career but, nonetheless, was able to score a convincing win over a favored Thanongdet Petpayatai in his first fight of the tournament on November 20, 2010.
Prakaisaeng is favored over Thepsutin in this matchup and weighs in at 147 lb to Thepsutin's 149 lb. Thepsutin wears red, Prakaisaeng blue.
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Fame, like many things in life, has its pros and cons. It can be a blessing and a curse; bringing opportunities into ones life that they otherwise would never have had. It's up to that individual to dictate where a lifestyle of fortune takes them. Often times, that task is too heavy for one to bear and tragedy soon follows. No one knows that better than Alexey Ignashov.
Alexey was born in Minsk, Belarus on January 18th, 1978. He developed a passion for combat sports early in life. Muay Thai is where the Belarusian would get his start. Training at Chinuk Gym, The Red Scorpion, as his fans call him, would go on to win two Muay Thai titles in less than a year, defeating future K-1 legend Remy Bonjasky, in the process. It was clear that Ignashov had the talent to compete at an even higher level as he soon moved to K-1 to try his hand at fighting the worlds best kickboxers.
Picking right up where he left off, Alexey was the victor in his first three fights in K-1 and in the process, won the K-1 Belarus 2000 Grand Prix which qualified him for the World Grand Prix in Yokohama. Alexey would lose to Matt Skelton in the quarterfinals but it was apparent that a star was quickly rising on the global kickboxing scene.
Between 2000 - 2004, Alexey would go on to defeat such K-1 luminaries as Peter Aerts, Badr Hari, Semmy Schilt, Mike Bernardo, and Paul Slowinski, among others. Quite an accomplishment for the young Ignashov. With this amount of success comes great acclaim and all that goes with it. Alexey took full advantage.
Partying and alcohol abuse replaced time in the gym for Ignashov, triggering a downward spiral in his career. Alexey would lose four straight fights in 2005, failing to qualify for the prestigious K-1 World Grand Prix in the process. His lack of dedication was apparent. Ignashov was now the victim of fighters that were climbing the ladder of the K-1 world. A stark contrast to where he was just two years earlier.
Though he made it to the semifinals in the K-1 Amsterdam 2006 Grand Prix, Alexey would go on to lose to Turkish superstar, Gokhan Saki. A blow to the psyche of the fragile fighter.
Ignashov would toil in smaller promotions for the next three years. During this time, Alexey transplanted himself to Auckland, New Zealand to train at Balmoral Lee Gar Gym under Lollo Heimuli. It was then that he would become sober and work on returning himself to the prominence he once enjoyed - even though it must have seemed like so long ago that he was there.
After preparing himself to the point where he felt ready to enter the K-1 ring once again, Alexey approached K-1 president, Sadaharu Tanikawa to give him his shot. Tanikawa was hesitant but granted him the chance at one more go around.
Not drawing the easiest of fighters, Ignashov was given a fight with K-1 superstar Badr Hari on April 3rd, 2010 at the K-1 Yokohama Grand Prix. You could tell that Alexey had been out of the spotlight for many years as he looked sluggish and unambitious while Badr Hari took the unanimous decision win.
Some thought that we had seen the last of The Red Scorpion but he found himself in the K-1 Bucharest Grand Prix a month later. Scoring a knockout win over Mindaugas Sakalauskas and a decision win over Freddy Kemayo, it looked like Ignashov was going to finally return to the dominant fighter of old. But it was not to be - Alexey was injured during his fight with Kemayo and could not continue. Another setback.
It's hard to know if Alexey will ever return to being the superstar fighter of his youth. At 32, he is certainly young enough to continue fighting for years to come but it's more than age that determines your success as a fighter - it's winning the mental game. It looks as though Alexey has won the battle over alcohol and the vices of this world. Now, he must win the battle over self-doubt and be willing to stand at the bottom of the mountain and work his way back to the top.
There are certain fighters that transcend the structured world of Martial Arts, and I consider Andrei Arlovski one of them. Arlovski began his career through Belarusian Sambo courses required for Police training. Arlovski showed a clear aptitude for Sambo and continued on, then adding kickboxing to his arsenal. Most of his career has been as a mixed martial artist, but Arlovski has worked in boxing as well and was set to make his K-1 debut in 2010 as a wild card in the Final 16 before an injury sidelined him at the last moment. He takes on Sergei Kharitonov, a fellow MMA fighter who kickboxes as well, having a mildly successful K-1 run. The two men clashing will be a stand up war and as a kickboxing fan, I can say it is one of the fights to watch in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. Arlovski is of course a former UFC Heavyweight Champion with a highlight reel of knockouts. His Affliction run was pounding out chubby guys before one chubby guy, Fedor Emelianenko hit him so hard that the will to live almost left Arlovski. Arlovski has not seen a victory since that day, losing to Brett Rogers and Antonio Silva in Strikeforce. To say there is a certain level of revenge and redemption that Arlovski can look forward to in this tournament is an understatement.
Watch Arlovski talk during the Strikeforce photo shoot about the tournament, his hopes and dreams and smashing. He has come a long way from; "I have very strong arm, can smash." We still love him for that line, though... Video after the break (it auto-plays, bad Strikeforce).
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The past two years in K-1 MAX have been transformation years for the K-1 MAX division. In 2009 an Italian fighter by the name of Giorgio Petrosyan looked poised to take the whole tournament, Japanese ace Masato decided not to participate in the World MAX tournament and instead announced he would retire by the end of the year. Yuya Yamamoto seemed poised and energized to take that "Masato spot" in K-1 MAX until Giorgio Petrosyan beat the ambition out of him. Andy Souwer and Buakaw Por. Pramuk met again in the semi-finals, with Souwer moving on to the finals where Petrosyan took him to task and handily took his first title.
Then 2010 was a strange year for the K-1 MAX division. There was no Masato, there would be scheduling issues galore, with the traditional line-up of shows not happening. A few of the Final 16 bouts happened on the -63kgs show, then a few in Europe way later in the year. Yuya Yamamoto fell, and hard, while Yuichiro Nagashima looked like a man-on-fire, determined to take MAX by storm. The one thing Nagashima didn't account for was "Iron" Mike Zambidis having a career revival, putting on a FOTY with Chahid Oulad El Hadj and then KO'ing Nagashima in the 3rd round. Something felt missing for fans, as there was no Masato and Buakaw Por. Pramuk had apparently not been invited back into the MAX tournament, nor had Andy Souwer, the man who made the finals the year before and was in Masato's retirement bout. Zambo's run at the top was stopped by Petrosyan and Yoshihiro Sato's run to the finals was met with stiff competition from Petrosyan, who easily captured his second crown.
This leaves us in an existential quandary over 2011. Here is what is clear; Giorgio Petrosyan will rip through the competition as long as injuries don't hold him back. Yoshihiro Sato will be back and looking to finally take his place as the Japanese ace, but will he choke in the big matches again? Yuya Yamamoto might want to prove that his run in 2009 wasn't a fluke, but the chances of him succeeding are not high. Yuichiro Nagashima ended 2010 by destroying Shinya Aoki at Dynamite!! during the MMA rules portion of their fight, and his cosplaying fans have apparently been giving poor Aoki a tough time and haunting him everywhere he goes, to the degree that his Twitter is gone and he is basically in hiding. Let's not kid around, Nagashima had a breakout year in 2010 and might be able to do better in 2011.
Of course, the man that derailed him last year was ZAMBO, "Iron" Mike Zambidis. Nobody expected Zambo to come to war and make it as far as he did, but he did. That fire that was lit under him will most likely not disappear, expect him to be a force again this year. Artur Kyshenko was upset by Mohammed Khamal in the Final 16, but Kyshenko will be back with a vengeance, and expect the young blood of Khamal to once again come to fight. Then, of course, there is Gago Drago. Drago is one of the most exciting and frustrating fighters in the world, with his recent string of losses and inconsistent performances and the rise of much more exciting and consistent fighters in Europe it is hard to argue he still has a spot in MAX. Mosab Amrani went to war with Mootje on December 18th and would make for an awesome inclusion in the MAX playing field. Artem Levin has been fighting at 75kgs, and if he can drop 5kgs more he could be an absolute beast in the MAX division, especially after taking home the gold at the Sport Accord World Combat games last year at 75kgs. I also fully expect Albert Kraus to be back and ready to fight.
Of course, with all of these favorites, the real question is, can anyone stop Giorgio Petrosyan?Add a comment
Our good friends at HDnet have been working hard to make their website all sorts of new, and a part of that is their blog section, which has brought us some great Michael Schiavello content. Schiavello has been one of those love him or hate him characters in the MMA community. Many of us love the absolute passion he brings to every fight that he calls, loves the way he puts himself right there into the action and makes the fights come to life. Other people enjoy more subdued commentary and want the fights to speak for themselves, to each their own I guess.
Schiavello is known for his now legendary cry of "Good night Irene!" whenever a fight has the pace pushed so hard that you have to reach a spectacular conclusion. Well, for those of us that have wondered the exact origins of the cry, he fills us in. For those who missed the part of their childhoods that involved professional wrestling, it involves Adrian Adonis and Gorilla Monsoon.
For a big man Adonis had an amazing repertoire of techniques including a sleeper hold ﬁnish called “Good Night Irene.” Nothing gave me more pleasure during my days of wrestling fanaticism than seeing Adonis put an opponent in a sleeper and hearing Gorilla Monsoon announce “he slaps on Good Night Irene.”
To this day Iʼm not really sure what caused those words to come out of my mouth while commentating the APS Track and Field Championships as a 16 year old. I would later use the phrase when commentating Victorian Premier League soccer on radio, and eventually made it my ﬁght sports catch-cry when I began commentating Muay Thai and kickboxing as a 21 year old on Fox Sports.
To find out how a track and field meet plays into a sleeper hold, read the rest of the entry and support every fight fans' best friend, HDnet.
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