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LiverKick.com Rankings


Heavyweight (Per 4/15)
1. Rico Verhoeven
2. Daniel Ghita
3. Gokhan Saki
4. Tyrone Spong
5. Peter Aerts
6. Errol Zimmerman up
7. Benjamin Adegbuyiup
8. Ismael Londt up
9. Hesdy Gerges up
10. Ben Edwards up

Light HW (per 4/15)
1. Gokhan Saki up
2. Tyrone Spong down
3. Danyo Ilunga
4. Nathan Corbett down
5. Saulo Cavalari

Middleweight (per 4/15)
1. Wayne Barrett
2. Joe Schilling
3. Artem Levin
4. Steven Wakeling
5. Franci Grajs

Welterweight (per 4/15)
1. Nieky Holzken 
2. Joseph Valtellini 
3. Simon Marcus
4. Marc de Bonte
5. Aussie Ouzgni

 

70kg (Per 4/15)
1. Davit Kiriaup
2. Andy Ristiedown
3. Robin van Roosmalendown
4. Giorgio Petrosyandown
5. Murthel Groenhart
6. Buakaw Banchamek
7. Dzhabar Askerov
8. Ky Hollenbeckup
9. Aikprachaup
10. Enriko Kehlup

65kg (per 1/20)
1. Masaaki Noiri
2. Mosab Amraniup
3. Yuta Kubo down
4. Sagetdao
5. Liam Harrison

Daily News

The age of the internet has led to a lot of great things, including being closer than ever to superstar athletes as they globe trot and make a bigger name for themselves. I firmly believe that Alistair Overeem's recent burst of fame has a lot to do with great management and the hype that was built up for him. Overeem's internet documentary The Reem is absolutely first class. We followed Overeem from his Strikeforce title win to his K-1 World GP win and now we follow him through the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. This is the second episode of The Reem. [source]

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It's Showtime announced today that their 85kg World Title, previouly held by Melvin Manhoef, was now vacant.  According to their official statement:

"Melvin Manhoef was in possession of this title from August 2009. However, due to various reasons he hasn’t been able to defend his title. An IT’S SHOWTIME world champion has to defend his title within 1 year, and IT’S SHOWTIME is able to extend this period with another year. Because the term of maximum extension will end next August, we have decided to make this title vacant immediately."

This doesn't come as a big surprise - earlier this year I spoke with It's Showtime president Simon Rutz, who told me that Manhoef being stripped was indeed a possibility, especially since the champion had declared he likely would not compete for It's Showtime in 2011.

Manhoef won the belt in 2009, defeating Denes Racz to become the first 85kg champion.  Since then, Manhoef has only fought for It's Showtime once - a 2010 fight with Gokhan Saki that took place outside the 85kg weight limit.  In fact, Manhoef only has two kickboxing fights in that time, as he has been more focused on his MMA career.

While it's unfortunate to not see Manhoef competing, this is a good move.  It's Showtime is really working on emphasizing their titles, and making sure that they are held by champions who will defend them.  I'm glad they are sticking to their contractual promises regarding title defenses, and look forward to seeing what is next in this division.  Now let's just hope we can get Orono back to defend his 65kg title soon.

Regarding the future of the belt, It's Showtime stated "We don’t know yet when and between who the next 85kg max title fight will be. Also it is not an impossibility that Melvin will fight for this title in the future."

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There has been a persisting rumor about K-1 legend Jerome Le Banner and his next fight possibly being in his home country of France for kickboxing's new powerhouse, It's Showtime. There was actually a rumor that he was the leading name to fight Badr Hari for his comeback fight. The reality is, a fight like Le Banner is incredibly risky for a fighter who is still a top prospect at this point and has yet to reach the top of the mountain. No one wants a guy to lose momentum taking a KO to a tough vet like JLB.

So, there have been talks of JLB still fighting on the card and a few people have flat out asked me if he will be fighting or if we know anything. Since It's Showtime also dangled a possible JLB fight over our heads at the recent Amsterdam card with a JLB sighting in the crowd and the announcers making a rather crass reference to us "seeing more from him soon," the rumors have just strengthened. It has gone as far as people saying it was a done deal that JLB was fighting in May.

Sadly, LiverKick.com today confirmed that just is not true. We spoke with the Hyper Battle Cyborg himself to see if this strong, persisting rumor held any weight and the sad truth is that Jerome Le Banner will not be fighting on the card and for right now, you might want to power down on the Hyper Battle Cyborg hype train coming to It's Showtime. Just for the time being, though. Expect more Jerome Le Banner news shortly, but just not for the It's Showtime Lyon show.

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Bouzidi Zimmerman 2009New fight announcement for the United Glory finals on May 28: in an intriguing rematch, it will be #14 Errol Zimmerman vs. #19 Mourad Bouzidi.

These two men first met two years ago at the It's Showtime Amsterdam Arena 2009 event.  At that time, Zimmerman was a top 5 fighter, riding high off his 2008 K-1 Grand Prix final 4 appearance and Fight of the Year with Badr Hari.  He was expected to take the fight easily, but it was not to be.  Near the end of round 1, Bouzidi caught Zimmerman with a knee, opening up a large cut above the eye that stopped the fight.  At the time, the fight was viewed as not even an upset, but more of a freak stoppage, and not a true loss for the Bonecrusher.  Rewatching it now with some perspective, that's a very unfair way to look at it.  Bouzidi was turning in a strong performance, giving Zimmerman a lot of trouble, and the knee that opens the cut is beautifully executed.  Mourad Bouzidi won that fight.

For the rematch, Zimmerman is in quite a different place.  A series of underwhelming performances and out of shape appearances has cooled his momentum considerably.  He is coming off a powerful win at the United Glory semi-finals, but that was against an opponent far below Bouzidi's level.  Despite their rankings, I would actually consider Bouzidi the favorite here, as he is the kind of disciplined, solid fighter that will always turn in a game performance.  In the end, it's a very close fight, and one that Zimmerman needs to win.  A win here shows he he still can compete at this level, while a loss furthers his downward slide.  I'm greatly looking forward to seeing how this one goes down.

Zimmerman vs. Bouzidi is the 3rd fight set for this card.  Already announced are the World Series of Kickboxing and MMA finals: Gokhan Saki vs. Brice Guidon on the kickboxing side, and Tommy Depret vs. Siyar Bahadurzada for MMA.

One final note - while I am excited about this fight, it must be mentioned that United Glory is notoriously unreliable for delivering fights as promised.  I really hope this one actually happens, but am prepared that it might not.

UPDATE: Two updates courtesy of Golden Glory trainer Martijn de Jong.  First, it appears the date is actually May 28, not the 21st as originally reported.  Second, de Jong announced a 4th featured bout: #4 Artur Kyshenko vs. #6 Nieky Holzken.  That right there is a GREAT match up, and if these four fights all go as planned, this is looking like a stacked show.

Watch Errol Zimmerman vs. Mourad Bouzidi from 2009 below:

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Fedor Emelianenko is known to be one of the greatest fighters of all time, if not the GOAT of MMA. There are a few out there who would argue against that, but two losses after ten years of dominance does not prove any sort of point as much as it shows degradation happens over the years in any high level athlete and unless they switch up their entire training things won't go according to plan. It looks like Fedor has decided to switch up his training and approach to MMA altogether as he is not handling his training on his own like he usually did in seclusion in Russia. It has been reported that Fedor has been training in the Netherlands, and now it comes out that he is training with none other than Mr. Perfect himself, Ernesto Hoost.

It looks like Fedor and a few friends called upon Ernesto Hoost to set up a training camp of sorts and MixFight.ru has the photos to prove it. For more photos, head over to MixFight. [source]

Ernesto Hoost

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Daniel GhitaThere's no rest for It's Showtime.  Just days removed from a successful event in Brussels, the fast growing company announced the line-up for their June 11 event in Warsaw, Poland.

In the main event, newly crowned IS 95kg World Champion Danyo Ilunga will make his first defense of the belt as he faces Nenad Pagonis.  Ilunga, a Remy Bonjasky protege, made a name for himself earlier this month when he defeated Wendell Roche for the vacant title - it's good to see he will be back and making a defense so soon.  Pagonis is a Muay Thai fighter and multiple time WAKO champion.  He competed at last year's It's Showtime Athens show, where he defeated the tough Rustemi Kreshnik via decision.

The fight that will likely draw the most attention pits top 10 Heavyweight Daniel Ghita against Ehren Deniz.  Ghita is coming in off two loses, so a win here will be a help for him.  Deniz is an experienced fighter with bouts against Sebastian Ciobanu, Mourad Bouzidi, and Catalin Morosanu, although he has not seen much success against this level of opposition.  He should provide a decent, but relatively easy opponent for Ghita.

Also on the card is Murthel Groenhart.  The Mike's Gym fighter looked to be heading towards a 77kg title shot last year when he was defeated by Khalid Bourdif in December.  He looks to get back on the title path against Errol Koning.

The complete line-up so far is as follows:

Danyo Ilunga vs. Nenad Pagonis (95kg World Title)

Daniel Ghita vs. Ehren Deniz (HW)

Murthel Groenhart vs. Errol Koning (77kg)

Sonny Dagraed vs. Piotr Woznicki (73kg)

Rafal Dudek vs. Nikos Papadimitriou (70kg)

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Jean-Claude Van Damme most likely has a fight coming up soon in Thailand against a Thai Olympic Boxer Somluck Kamsing, and on top of that the action star has somewhere in the vicinity of a million other projects that he is working on. Steven Seagal is currently riding tanks and pretending to be training high level MMA fighters how to do the most basic of strikes, which makes JCVD's ventures seem all the more legitimate and likable. One of his latest ventures is a reality television series titled, "Behind Closed Doors" where a British crew follow the action star around as he lives his life as only he can.

The rest after the break.

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BuakawYes, you read that headline right. Buakaw Por. Pramuk, two-time K-1 World MAX Champion and 2010 Shootboxing S-Cup Champion will indeed be fighting in the United States in August of this year. Stand Up Promotions based out of Northern California will be presenting yet another big muay thai card to the area featuring not only Buakaw Por. Pramuk but Saenchai Sinibi Gym, Koaklai Kennorising, Saiyok Pumpanmuang and Rungravee Sasiprapa.

This is a lot of world class muay thai talent for a relatively smaller promotion, but they are going all th way with this event, booking the Anaheim Convention Center. The Arena in the Convention Center can hold upwards of 9,100 people if they are indeed running in the Arena and not a convention hall. All of this goes down on August 13th. MuayThaiAuthority.com did the legwork.

In August Stand Up Promotions will host "World Class Championship Muay Thai" at the Anaheim Convention Center on August 13th in Anaheim, CA. The event will feature Buakaw Por. Pramuk, Saenchai Sinibi Gym, Kaoklai Kennorising, Saiyok Pumpanmuang, and Rungravee Sasiprapa. All five Thai fighters are world class, but most will likely be excited to see former K-1 Max, and WMC champion Buakaw make his United States debut.

No opponents have been confirmed for any of the fighters, but Stand Up Promotions has confirmed with Muay Thai Authority that all five fighters have agreed to fight on the August 13th event.
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Gokhan SakiOver at Dutch forum Mixfight.nl there is news of a new card featuring some high-end fights.  No name or organization known, but the show takes place June 18 in Rotterdam.  In the main event, it will be the #5 ranked Gokhan Saki vs. Sergei Lascenko.  Saki's last fight was his United Glory semi-final victory over Wendell Roche, and before the Lascenko fight, he'll also face Brice Guidon in the UG finals May 21.  Good to see The Rebel staying so active despite the overall lack of options for Heavyweight fighters at the moment.

This marks Lascenko's first high profile opponent since losing to Freddy Kemayo at last year's K-1 Europe GP.  One of the potential break-out K-1 Heavyweights of 2009, Lascenko has seen his career stall out somewhat over the past year.  Since the Kemayo loss, he's gone 1-2, and is coming off a win over Vasile Popovici.  One interesting aspect to this fight is that Lascenko has recently been in the news a bit as he has made the transition to Mike's Gym, where he has been working as the sparring partner to Badr Hari.  Hari vs. Saki is a fight that has come up more than once recently, and is one I wouldn't be surprised to see sooner than later.  Seeing his training partner face off against Saki will certainly be informative for Hari and the team at Mike's Gym.

The other highlight of the card is an 8 man K-1 rules tournament.  Participants include the #20 ranked Anderson "Braddock" Silva, Wendell Roche, Utley Mariana, Dennis Stolzenbach, Tommy van Wijngaarden, Philip van der Linde, Nicolai Vallin, and one more fighter TBD.  I'd call Silva the favorite here, with Roche 2nd.

Rounding out the card are two MMA fights: Djamil Chan vs. Thomas Wichmann, and Tugrul Okay vs. Eric Paulo.

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Buakaw Por PramukOn May 14, Thai Fight Extreme will host a card in France.  Not many details on this card yet, but the two big featured names (and they are indeed big ones) will be Buakaw Por. Pramuk and Yodsaenklai Fairtex.  The way the promo video is set up, it seems to be implying that it will actually be Buakaw vs. Yodsaenklai, but as much as fans want that fight to happen, and as much as it honestly should happen, I highly doubt that's where the matchmaking will go.  Look for both men to be paired against other opponents, and hopefully we'll see Buakaw against a foe who poses at least a moderate threat.  Other names being tossed about for this show include Lumpinee champ Saiyok Pumpanmuang, Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee, and 2010 Thai Fight champion Fabio Pinca, which would make for a fantastic overall card.

In other Thai Fight news, the round robin tournament to determine Thailand's 2011 Thai Fight representative continues at Omnoi Stadium in Bangkok.  Things have become a bit muddy and confusing here, as Sudsakorn established himself as the tournament favorite, but was then kicked out of the tournament for taking a fight with Giorgio Petrosyan in January.  Now, Khem Sitsongpeenong is looking like the favorite again, despite having been defeated by Sudsakorn earlier in the tournament.  Up next for Khem is Prakaisaeng Sit O in the semi-final on April 16.  A win there puts him into the finals, likely against Nopparat Kiatkumthorn, who Khem defeated once already earlier in the tournament.

Promo video for May 14:

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Sergio Wielzen at Its Showtime BrusselsThis weekend is show #2 in It's Showtime's 2011 season.  Coming from Brussels, It's Showtime 47 takes place on Saturday.  As always with It's Showtime, you can watch online for 10 Euro at Showtimefights.com.  It's Showtime reports that all fighters have made weight and are set for the event.

This is a bit of a smaller show for It's Showtime, with less of the major international names they often feature, but it's still a good line-up, with a few fights in particular worth your time.

In the main event, It's Showtime 61kg champion Sergio Wielzen defends his title against Karim Bennoui. Wielzen won the belt last year, and closed the year with a successful defense against former Krush tournament champion Masahiro Yamamoto.  He also holds wins over Anuwat and Mo Khamal, among others.  Despite being an exciting fighter, he hasn't really grabbed the attention of It's Showtime fans yet - perhaps a big win here will help raise his profile.

Another notable fight features Marat Grigorian against Severiano Rijssel.  Grigorian is It's Showtime president Simon Rutz's pick for the fighter to watch in 2011, and is already on tap to fight for the inaugural IS 73kg title at their May show in France.  This is a good fight for him to gain some momentum, and a chance to introduce yourself to one of the names we may be talking about a lot as the year rolls on.

One last name to watch here is Evgeniy Kurovskoy.  The Russian fighter will be taking part in the It's Showtime 70kg tournament later this year, which is looking like it will be the biggest MW event of 2011.  Again, here's a good chance to get an early look at him in action.

The complete card is as follows:

Evgeniy Kurovskoy vs. Andre Grigorian (70kg)

Nick Beljaards vs. Andy Ristie (70kg)

Lefterio Perego vs. Sonny Dagraed (73kg)

Severiano Rijssel vs. Marat Grigorian (73kg)

Sahak Parparyan vs. Marco Vlieger (95kg)

Karim Bennoui vs. Sergio Wielzen (61kg World Title)

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