|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)|
I was debating discussing this story at all. I mean, yes it does involve K-1 Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem, but there are so many places where the Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament is getting coverage that it seemed maybe unnecessary. Then this morning, Strikeforce added an extra fight to the tournament that really piqued my interest.
In an upcoming fight, Valentijn Overeem will face one of K-1’s favorite sons, Sugar Ray Sefo. The fight is not 100% confirmed yet, and it is unclear if it will be on the Feb. 12 card or a future date, or a prelim or main card fight.
Now, here’s the interesting thing from our end about this tournament. You have 8 names in the main draw, plus 4 more Heavyweights currently set to compete in fights on these shows. Of those 12, 3 are current, active K-1 fighters (Overeem, Sefo, Sergei Kharitonov) and one more (Andrei Arlovski) was very nearly in the 2010 Grand Prix. This tournament is a major event – the most prominent US tournament in MMA since Don Frye won the UFC Ultimate Ultimate way back in 1996. For the tournament to feature a significant K-1 presence is definitely a point worth discussing.
Much has been made of the Strikeforce/Dream partnership that has resulted in fights like Shinya Aoki v. Gilbert Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri v. Josh Thomson. But one aspect that has been largely overlooked previously is that Dream and K-1 are both part of FEG, so as Strikeforce works with Dream, they open the door to working with K-1. We are seeing that door crack open here in the tournament. Now, obviously the fighters we are seeing her are not K-1 exclusive fighters, and all have experience in MMA; most fans still view Overeem and Kharitonov as primarily MMA fighters trying their hand at K-1, while Sefo has been working on his fledgling MMA career for the past 2 years. But they are all fighters whose recent careers have been more marked by K-1 action than MMA, and who hold interest for K-1 fans.
Last year, there were vague rumblings of Strikeforce considering running some kickboxing fights in the US – remember that Strikeforce started in the kickboxing heavy California scene – but these plans never came to fruition. Since then, we have heard rumors of It’s Showtime making their US debut in 2011, though again, nothing is confirmed. With this tournament including some big players in the kickboxing scene (and right now, no one is bigger than Alistair Overeem), there definitely is potential to generate some stateside interest in kickboxing.
Will this tournament lead to Overeem v. Badr Hari here in America? No, but depending on how they promote Overeem, Kharitonov, and Sefo, it could lead to a significant number of MMA fans hearing an awful lot about K-1 and kickboxing throughout the course of the tournament. Much will be told by how the videos and commentary position these three fighters. If they focus on MMA, there will be little benefit for kickboxing. But if they talk up Overeem as the GP champ, Sefo as a K-1 legend, and Kharitonov as pursuing a kickboxing career, it will give kickboxing valuable exposure to the large US MMA audience. And as K-1 struggles at home, increased international exposure can only be a good thing.
Alistair Overeem faces Fabricio Werdum in the quarter-final round at a date yet to be determined. The winner moves on to the semi-finals to face either Fedor Emelianenko or Antonio Silva, who meet on February 12.
Sergei Kharitonov v. Andrei Arlovski is also set for February 12 with the winner meeting Josh Barnett or Brett Rogers in the other semi-final.
Ray Sefo v. Valentijn Overeem may be on Feb. 12, or may be at a later date. The other announced fight is a reserve fight on the Feb. 12 card between Shane Del Roasrio and Lavar Johnson.
No dates are yet set for the 2nd half of the quarter-finals, semi-finals, or finals.Add a comment
We have just emerged from the holiday season, and were greeted by MiddleEasy.com turning into a Voltron-like entity that is the MiddleEasy Network. We all probably had to deal with some sort of crazed family members or crazed friends and family of our loved ones at some point, so what better way to alleviate that stress than to be wished a happy new year from a fighter whose knee could rip your head off. Check out K-1's photo album. While we are at it, the team at LiverKick.com would like to wish you a Happy New Year as well. I mean, if Overeem, Sakuraba, Aoki and the gang can, why can't we?Add a comment
Age. It's the unbeatable enemy of every athlete. Time cannot be stopped and one day, every athlete will succomb to it. The body gets to a point where it won't perform like it once did and even though the mind is willing, championships aren't won on mental strength alone.
K-1 fighters are no different and are probably more susceptible because of the physical toll that professional kickboxers must endure to reach the top and stay there for any amount of time. A fact that makes what Peter Aerts accomplished on December, 11th at the WGP Finals, all that more impressive. The Dutch Lumberjack, along with many of the top stars in K-1, are getting older. The aforementioned Aerts is 40. Jerome Le Banner is 38. Remy Bonjasky is 34 and on the brink of retirement due to an eye injury. Semmy Schilt is 37. I could go on but you see what I'm getting at - K-1 is growing old and in need of young stars to step up and fill the holes that will be left by all those giants of the sport when age has finally caught up with them. Who will that be? Let's look at some.
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A 67 kg, 147 lb, tournament sponsored by Isuzu Motors is currently underway in Thailand. According to Rob Cox, based in Bangkok, the winner receives one million baht and an Isuzu pickup truck, as well as the opportunity to represent Thailand in the next Thai Fight Tournament. The Isuzu Tournament proceeds in a "Groups" format where fighters in Group A and B will have multiple fights within their respective groups before proceeding to the semi-finals.
Group A consists of: Kem Sitsongpeenong; Sudsakorn 13 Coins; Nopparat Keatkhamtorn; Kongjak Sor Tuanthong.
Group B is: Prakaisaeng Sit-Or; Thepsutin Pumpanmuang; Dernchonlek Sor Sor Niyom; Thanongdet Petpayatai.
These fighters are all highly regarded in Thailand and fight anywhere from 147 to 160 lb. Fights are spaced out with one fight per week.
Results thus far:
Dernchonlek def. Prakaisaeng, Points
Thanongdet def. Thepsutin, Points
Sudsakorn def. Kongjak, Points
Kem def. Nopparat, KO Rd 3
Dernchonlek def. Thanongdet, Points
Nopparat vs Kongjak on January 22nd
Of these, Sudsakorn vs Kem is easily the most anticipated. Kem is favored to win the whole tournament and both he and Sudsakorn have put on very strong showings internationally. The last time they fought, it was a vicious, technical bout ending in a third round knockout of Sudsakorn by Kem. Kem will give up two pounds to Sudsakorn in this next bout because of Kem's higher seeding. Though 1 million baht and and an Isuzu is a substantial reward, the spot in the next Thai Fight may be just as important. Thai Fight was introduced in 2010 and is quite prestigious in terms of prize money and recognition. It is rare to see a full Muay Thai rules tournament that offers so much in the way of winnings. Adding to the appeal of the tournament is the fact that the field for fighters above 63.5 kg, 140 lb, in Thailand is quite limited, as attention usually focuses on fighters between 55 and 61.5 kg, 122 - 135 lb.
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Crazier things have happened in the world of combat sports which is so delicately intertwined with organized crime and, well, crime in general (then again, what sports aren't?), but the odyssey of Badr Hari's criminal exploits which ruined his 2010 might be cleared up soon. Of course nothing is a lock yet, but there have been some reports of late that have given further detail into the case against Badr Hari and that his name might be unfairly attached as an attacker for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being a world-renowned K-1 fighter.
There is an article up about comments left on a crime blog about the situation, seemingly from key witnesses at the night club that night. One of the comments below indicates that Badr Hari was simply with the group that attacked the bouncer, but steered clear to not risk injury.
The real story: He came with a group, and everyone was allowed inside except for two guys who previously been difficult. The doorman (a giant, larger than Badr himself) calmly handled the situation. Badr seemed at peace with the situation, only to suddenly throw a punch at the doorman. Badr remained calm and did his best to avoid the situation, as he was in training (and mean fighting) for K1 and did not want to the risk injury. Badr was with the group and the doorman was indeed beaten. Police: Create a chat with the staff and the DJ of that night .... you know enough.
The translation was cleaned up by me a bit, if you see anything glaringly wrong, let me know, I'm not a native Dutch speaker, obviously. As the article goes on to mention, the few comments of bloggers is not positive proof, but there do seem to be a few key witnesses and some stones that were left un-turned. This comes hot off the heels of reports on Dutch forums that Badr Hari has been back in the gym with Mike Passenier and his training partners getting back into shape.
Thanks our good friend Simon Raedts for the tip.
UPDATE: Minor translation tweaks.Add a comment