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K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles Delivers and Looking Ahead

K-1

There were a lot of doubts leading into this Saturday’s K-1 World Grand Prix in Los Angeles show, and a lot of them seemed valid at the time. The arena selected was not only in a bad part of town in Los Angeles, but it was huge, seating 17,000 fans, which it seemed like there was no way they could hope to fill it. The fighters that were selected to fight on the card were either old and past their primes or young and incredibly unknown, to the extent where one of the main card fighters was making his debut against a seasoned veteran. All of this was compounded by the fact that K-1 Global had yet to put on a show of their own, with the May show being essentially an all It’s Showtime production crew.

Would anyone be there? Would anyone watch this? Would anyone care? Would the fights suck?

These questions were not only asked by fans, but you’d have to believe that they were coming up in the minds of those involved with K-1 as well over the past few months. Those months have been difficult ones, to say the least. In June, after their first show, their partner in It’s Showtime up and sold their company, along with management contracts of fighters, to rival promotion GLORY. This seemed like a death blow to them, with It’s Showtime’s Simon Rutz making a public statement calling K-1 Global’s Mr. Kim a liar and a thief, claiming that payment was never made to the fighters and promoters. It was bringing back the ghosts of K-1 past, where the big issue that brought them down was late payment to fighters and partners. In this case, the payments were made, albeit not within a certain timeframe, and it seemed like a big misunderstanding that turned into a war of words.

Then, to top it off, the one big star they had left -- the biggest one in the sport -- in Badr Hari is currently in prison and won’t be out anytime soon. Going into last night, they were taking a lot of risks, but worked hard to promote the event and the fighters that they did have. On top of that, they made sure to carefully match up fighters to make for exciting fights. A partnership with Romania’s SuperKombat and a new television deal with Spike TV seemed to help invigorate things, and when it came time for showtime last night, it felt like things were really coming together. The press events saw a decent and enthusiastic turnout and as the event unfolded last night, more and more people began filing into the arena.

Sure, there were issues with the stream, and it should have never been a PPV, but things can’t be perfect. With a good, solid crowd watching, a night of exciting fights unfolded and there might have even been a few new stars who were born at this event, with Damian Earley, Gabriel Varga and Jarrell Miller. Looking ahead, I think this event was very important for restoring faith in the K-1 brand and those in charge of the promotion. The K-1 Final 16 will see some of the names we know and love, and while it won’t feature them all, as long as the show is done properly, I’m not sure that it will really matter.

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K-1 Weigh-In Results and Video

The K-1 weigh-ins were today and if you missed them, we'll catch you up on it. The full video of the weigh-ins and staredowns is below, courtesy of MMAHeat who were in attendance to cover the event. It looks like all of the fighters made weight and the weigh-ins went off without a hitch.

Official Press Release and weights after the break.

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A Look at K-1's Rising Talents From the Los Angeles GP

K-1

For the first time since 2008, K-1 will return to US soil with the K-1 World Grand Prix Los Angeles event, focusing on cultivating US talent. This is the first time in a very long time where K-1 is actually looking to build up new stars in the United States and make a real, honest-to-goodness effort to push into the mainstream in the United States. If you are a Kickboxing fan, you know that the Heavyweight division has a certain lack of depth to it, so the fact that there will be what can be considered a new generation of fighters presented this weekend is exciting to many.

LiverKick is going to run you through the up-and-comers in the Heavyweight division that will be competing on Saturday at the K-1 World Grand Prix Los Angeles, just so that you'll be prepared.

Jarrell Miller - Jarrell is probably the fighter with the most upside at the moment. He is a known commodity in that he has competed in Kickboxing and Muay Thai for years now, and has recently ventured into the realm of Heavyweight Boxing with nothing but success. We’ve already seen Jarrell in “big fight situations” when he competed in the WCL when he was just 19 years old, including a big win over UFC Heavyweight Pat Barry. Be looking out for Jarrell to hit hard and to try to end it early and make a big statement.

Randy Blake - Blake, another WCL veteran, has a lot of hype surrounding him as he competes in the Southeast a lot, mainly in Oklahoma City. Blake went 1-1 in his WCL career and since then has been taking on all comers, but at Heavyweight, Blake will be undersized against most fighters. As we’ve seen in the past though, that doesn’t always mean a death sentence in K-1, as many undersized fighters have had great Heavyweight careers.

Xavier Vigney - Xavier Vigney is still very much a wildcard when it comes to what his potential is. He had a promising future in American Football, being a standout at De La Salle in California before hanging up the shoulder pads and began kicking thai pads. He has fought a number of amateur bouts, but has yet to step into the ring as a professional. What he does have going for him is size and athleticism, which is very important for a fighter. From the amateur bouts of his that are online he looks a bit rough around the edges, but there is definitely something there. If we’ll see that this weekend against tough veteran Seth Petruzelli is another thing entirely.

Jack May - Jack May is a 4-1 MMA fighter who stands at a towering 6’8” who has yet to really make a dent on the Kickboxing world. All of his victories in MMA come by way of Knockout, so it is safe to say that he should feel at home in a stand-up only environment. He trains at CSW in California and works extensively with Josh Barnett, who of course is known for his grappling. There won’t be much grappling for him to do this weekend, so it still remains to be seen how he handles K-1 rules.

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