|Heavyweight (Per 4/15)|
|Light HW (per 4/15)|
|Middleweight (per 4/15)|
|Welterweight (per 4/15)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 4/15)|
|3.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
Here at Liver Kick, we mostly focus on Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Shootboxing. Spreading the good word of striking is our goal but the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix is just too good to not cover. Not only does it contain many current kickboxing stars but it also harkens back to PRIDE and the way they ran tournaments which appeals to all of us who are fans of Japanese MMA.
So without further ado, here are my picks for the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. As it could quickly get crazy considering every permutation involved with reserve fighters, I'll make my picks assuming all fighters stay healthy.
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I was just reading the mothership, MiddleEasy.com, and saw a photograph that I can only describe as absolutely, 100% insane yet somehow adorable and lovable. If you've been following MMA for a while now, you know that Fedor Emelianenko is a very earnest, down-to-earth and likable guy. He does some really cool things and seems like the kind of guy we could all get along with. From wearing comfy sweaters, double-fisting ice cream cones and just being a sort of goofy dude, he has endeared us all. While he is still a chubby robot bent on destroying your face when his thumb circuits aren't malfunctioning, he is a real guy and shows it a lot more than he ever did in the past.
Then there is Alistair Overeem. Overeem has been making the media rounds like crazy the past few weeks, and it is clear that Overeem is truly becoming a star in the United States. The media have gotten over their rabid questions about PEDs and treating Overeem like they would any other world champion. When the media treat someone like a star, fans see them as a star, and thus, the 2-year long odyssey that is the ascent of Alistair Overeem continues, and his management team, including Bas Boon look brilliant for the PR work they've done and the feeding of "cans" for him to dispatch and build up a highlight reel.
The proposed bout between the two fell apart when Emelianenko was defeated by Fabricio Werdum last year, which led us to where we are today. The fight between the two is still one that fans would love to see and one that Overeem still wants, but he believes, correctly, that Werdum deserves the first crack at him, hence the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. Enter fight week in New York this week, and we get... well, this incredible photo. [source]
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Alistair Overeem has been getting the star treatment of late, which includes getting a tour of the United States as a celebrity, basically. Overeem attended the Super Bowl with Michael Schiavello over the weekend, then went off to New York City where Strikeforce held a meet-and-greet event for fans and participants in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. Ariel Helwani caught up with Alistair Overeem to discuss his plans for 2011 and how he feels about Fedor and his camp. Alistair is as always, well-spoken and collected, and by the sounds of it, his main priority is the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. Good news for American fans, possibly mixed news for K-1 fans who want to see Overeem defend his GP title.
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When Steven Seagal first was shown with Anderson Silva at UFC 117, we all kind of chuckled and said, "hey that is pretty cool." When he walked out with Anderson at UFC 126, it was kind of funny again, but at this point it began to appear odd. Steven Seagal is an Akido instructor and former martial arts action star who now has his own dubious television series about him being a "lawman."
I grew up on Martial Arts and action films, as I feel like most men my age did. Guys like Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme were the reason to get involved in martial arts; to be as bad ass as they were. Of course, years pass, and as they do, the stark reality set upon me that JCVD had serious substance problems and that Steven Seagal was a terrible fraud. Both men fell off the radar a bit, but Seagal's career seemed to hold strong (still sparse, but it didn't fall off completely) while Van Damme's seemed to all-but disappear. Seagal had long been the butt of the joke when it comes to Hollywood circles, but still got work due to his popularity and how ridiculous of a persona he carried around with him.
Enter the modern day, where JCVD is re-building his career his way and even looks to re-enter the world of fighting, while Steven Seagal is on a reality television series and apparently trying to weasel his way into the fighting world as well. This past weekend, Anderson Silva defeated Vitor Belfort with a front high kick, a staple in just about every form of martial art that involves kicking. So, much to my surprise, Anderson Silva claimed that Steven Seagal taught him the kick. It was funny, worth a chuckle. Then, much to my disdain, this interview with Ariel Helwani came out.
Seagal claims to have taught Anderson Silva one of the most basic kicking techniques, a first week kick in Tae Kwan Do, which incidentally, was Anderson Silva's first martial art that he took when he was fourteen. Now, as anyone who has studied striking will note, there are minute differences between techniques in different forms of martial arts, but generally speaking, one form of kick does not differ too greatly from another. This is a very basic technique that Anderson Silva used almost out of context in a MMA fight, and caught everyone by surprise. For Steven Seagal to claim there is some sort of mystical "death" technique, or that he knew some secret to making the kick work better is, well, par for the course with his history.
In that interview, he discusses with Helwani how MMA is both good and bad for traditional martial arts; first it makes the public more aware, and second, it shows behind the curtain into a "secret world" that you weren't meant to see. I think my eyes nearly rolled back in my head. If anything, Mixed Martial Arts has shown the general public that there is a man behind the curtain, that there is no Oz. There are men like Seagal everywhere, who have conned people into believing that with intense, personal training from masters such as himself, you can learn some crazy secret that will help you transcend reality.
The gall he had to claim he taught Anderson Silva a technique that your average six year old can do (of course not with the force or application) was pure Seagal grandstanding. Seagal showed cracks in his story when Helwani asked him how he met Anderson Silva, he was caught on the spot and said that he didn't remember, then you could almost see the gears turning in his head as Helwani is preparing another question and he corrects himself and claims that Anderson Silva sent him a "memo" that he wanted to learn Steven's secret death techniques.
Anderson Silva and his training partners are not fools, nor are they children, if you believe for one second that this happened, you probably need to review some of the history of Steven Seagal. Seagal has lied about nearly everything in the book, from his place of birth, to adultery, to how many wives he has had, to education, work history, the list goes on and on. There have been an endless stream of interviews, op-eds and exposes on him since he became popular, with Spy Magazine discussing how his "CIA background" is a complete sham, and how he actually had mafia ties and attempted to hire hit men to take care of members of the media who "wronged him." If you search Google for "Steven Seagal Fraud" you get endless results. Check this out for some documented history.
Just because certain people claim to have more knowledge does not mean that they are correct. Understand that basic kinetics dictates that every technique in martial arts is done a certain way, and has been over years, because it is effective. If there was a way to enhance that technique, it would be canonical. Steven Seagal is an aging, overweight actor and stunt man who has nothing real to teach to accomplished martial artists. My question for you is are you buying or selling, and my question for Seagal and Anderson's camp is how much is Seagal paying you? Seriously, he has to be paying them something, right? Because if I were an accomplished martial artist and world champion, I know the last thing I'd need is an over-the-hill actor to tell me how I should fight, especially when said actor has no history fighting himself, unless I was doing so as a big joke or he was paying me to be his friend.Add a comment
This weekend plays host to one of the most exciting heavyweight tournaments in history's opening round, as we get to see Fedor Emelianenko square off with Antonio Silva and Andrei Arlovski take on Sergei Kharitonov. As the time grows near, it is impossible to not be incredibly excited about it. While at LiverKick.com we pride ourselves on our kickboxing coverage, there is so much crossover within the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP we feel like it is a huge injustice to not get amped about it and tell you all about it. Ariel Helwani just posted up this incredible video of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP fighters being introduced in NYC by Scott Ferrall (YAMMA represent!). Watch this and try not to drive yourself too crazy. [source]
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The mobile gaming market is ever-growing, and with that should come a few more fighting games. As of right now, the market for mobile fighting games is wide open, as there are only a select few. Enter "Fight Game" -- a Bas Boon company that produces some of those really cool t-shirts that you've seen Golden Glory fighters wearing for the last year or so; Gokhan Saki, Alistair Overeem, Errol Zimmerman, Sem Schilt and more. There have been rumors mulling around that Fight Game will also become, well, a game and for a mobile platform.
It turns out that Fight Game is currently being developed and will be released for Windows Phone 7. As an avid fan of the mobile phone market, this move does confuse me, but makes sense as well. Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 launched late last year and is an incredibly late entry into the smartphone market which is currently dominated by phones using Google's Android operating system or Apple's iPhone. Android and iPhone dominated the United States mobile phone market and make up a bulk of users in the world as well. As a former owner of a few Windows Mobile devices (up until 6.1, where I put Android on an SD card and booted off of that -- phone nerd, I know), I can honestly say that there would not be much incentive to switch from using Android to WP7.
Why WP7? Microsoft has been very aggressive trying to onboard game developers and offering interesting incentives to them. Games on WP7 are able to link up with Microsoft's XBox Live platform and some games are cross-platform as well. So, on that note, it makes perfect sense as to why they are working on WP7, but as owners of a different platform I can only hope we see the game make it's way to other phone platforms and to a wider audience.
The game will feature some sort of strange storyline involving Semmy Schilt and Alistair Overeem and a Mortal Kombat-ish martial arts tournament. Did we mention Ubereem has a giant hammer and is crushing rocks? Oh, and Semmy drives a chopper on the streets of Miami. This is literally all we know about the game.
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After Anderson Silva's devastating front kick knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126, many are wondering what kind of success The Spider would have in a pure kickboxing format. Hardcore fans have contemplated this idea for years but after millions witnessed Anderson's technical display that dropped the MMA world's collective jaw, the subject has garnered even more attention. Let's look at Silva's history in fighting as well as some important factors involved in his theoretical transition to kickboxing.
In reading Fraser's recent article on Silva's history in Muay Thai, you can see that Anderson trained extensively in the art before he entered the UFC. While training with legendary strikers such as Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Shogun Rua at Chute Boxe in Curitiba Brazil, Anderson developed a terrifying arsenal of physical weapons including knees from the Thai clinch, elbows, soccer kicks, and stomps; all of which are hallmarks of the Chute Boxe style of Muay Thai. I hesitate to call it traditional Muay Thai because there really aren't a lot of similarities. Use of the clinch is prominent in both styles but the parallels end there. Watch Anderson and you'll see he is very active on his feet, uses kicks mostly to set up combinations, and he doesn't employ knees to the body to a large degree. The Chute Boxe style of Muay Thai is all about brawling and going right at your opponent with a barrage of punches and in doing so, hoping that enough of them land to knock your opponent senseless, or to the mat to employ your ground game. It's not always the safest way to win a fight but it's exciting and can be quite effective. Both Wanderlei and Shogun have built legendary careers on that style. Contrast that method with a pure Thai style fighter such as Buakaw Por. Pramuk and you'll see the differences quite readily.
Anderson Silva debuted for the Ultimate Fighting Championship at Ultimate Fight Night 5 on June 28, 2006. His opponent that evening was Ultimate Fighter Season 1 standout Chris Leben. The Crippler was enjoying a 5 fight win streak and had all the confidence in the world which led him to declare that he would knockout the Brazilian. Less than a minute into the fight, it was Leben who had been knocked out and the MMA world suddenly saw what this Anderson Silva guy was capable of. Brutal striking, pinpoint accuracy in not missing a single strike, and the Chute Boxe Muay Thai style which overwhelms fighters that wilt under its onslaught. Joe Rogan declared that Silva was a different kind of striker. He was indeed.
We now know that Anderson is undefeated in the UFC and resets records with every fight. He's one of the very best in the sport and there's no denying that. But enough about MMA, we're here to talk kickboxing.
K-1 and IT'S SHOWTIME, the two premier organizations in the sport of kickboxing, have rules in place that incorporate all of the major striking-centric martial arts. This works well for Anderson because as we saw earlier, he is a hybrid in his approach which allows him to be flexible and fight opponents with different backgrounds and strengths. Silva doesn't have to fight Muay Thai fighters to be comfortable. One thing to remember, K-1 doesn't allow multiple knee strikes from the clinch. Something Anderson uses quite often if given the chance.
Knowing that SIlva possesses the skills to hang with the sports elite, there is the other big issue -- size. With elite heavyweight kickboxer's getting bigger all the time, does Anderson have the size to hang with such large heavyweights? While Silva fights at 185, he has often fought at 205 with great success and is a good deal larger than that in-between fight camps. If Anderson adds bulk to his long frame and adds it in the correct way, I believe he could have the size to compete with many of the sports elite.
With the size and skills issues addressed, it's time to look at three potential opponents for Anderson Silva.
Tyrone Spong: King of the Ring normally competes at around 230 pounds which physically makes him a great match for Anderson. Stylistically speaking, this fight is somewhat of a toss-up as both fighters prefer to counterstrike. Both are technically sound and have a variety of strikes to choose from because of their significant experience. With only 3 KO losses in 73 fights, Tyrone has the chin to stand up to Anderson. This fight would be about timing your shots and not getting overly aggressive as both have the power to end a fight quickly. I would predict that if this fight were to happen, it would be more technical than brawling and probably go to a very entertaining decision.
Gokhan Saki: How fun would this fight be? Gokhan Saki is just a wild dog and has the fastest punch/kick combinations that I've ever seen in combat sports. Anderson would have to employ a lot of movement and try to knock Saki out of his rhythm while throwing precision strikes. Something Anderson is very good at, by the way. Saki and Silva would be a close matchup in size as well. This fight comes down to the sheer ferocity and quantity of Saki's strikes versus Anderson's ability to counterstrike and move in the pocket. I would predict a KO ending in this fight as I don't believe that the style of Saki combined with the killer instinct of Silva would allow it to go to a decision.
Ruslan Karaev: Ruslan could be called the Wanderlei Silva of K-1. His knockout or be knocked out approach is not always the most precise but his strikes come in bunches and often find their mark. Only problem is, a style like that is tailor made for a fighter like Silva. We've seen it many times before. If you wade in with punches hoping to overwhelm him, he uses his uncanny head movement to evade those strikes and somehow knocks you out in the process. This fight comes down to Ruslan trying to overwhelm Anderson's ability to move and counterstrike. I would predict a KO ending for this fight as Ruslan's style would batter Silva or allow Anderson an opening to land precise punches on the Russian.
While all the perks of fighting in the UFC may be too good for Anderson to leave behind, if he ever chooses to, I would love to see him go for a career in kickboxing. He may not be big enough to hang with the largest heavyweights but I do think he could be very entertaining in the right fight.
What about you? Who would you like to see Anderson fight in the kickboxing world? How do you see the fight going?Add a comment
There has been an onslaught of fight announcements in the past few days. To keep you up to speed, we're putting them together here in one story, so let's get to it.
Feb. 19 - Shootboxing act.1: We previously announced that UFC veteran Kuniyoshi Hironaka would be on this card against an opponent TBA. His opponent is now set, and it's Satoru Suzuki. The Japanese ex-boxer had a good year in Shootboxing in 2010, but ended the year breaking his arm and being forced out of the S-Cup. This is his first fight back from the injury.
Feb. 26 - Golden Glory Eindhoven: Top 10 fighter Nieky Holzken is in action, facing Thilo Schneider in a Golden Glory sponsored event. Holzken is moving back and forth between the 70 and 77kg limits these days - hopefully he can settle down and find where he fights best this year.
Feb. 27 - RISE 74: A few good fights set for the latest edition of Japan's RISE promotion. The show will feature two title fights: 60kg champion Kan Itabashi faces Kousuke Komiyama, while 63kg champion Koji Yoshimoto meets Yusuke Sugawara. The show will also include the retirement of former K-1 MAX fighter Tatsuji. Full card at HeadKickLegend.
March 6 - It's Showtime Amsterdam: IS added a pair of interesting fights to their first show of 2011. First, Wendell Roche fights Danyo Ilunga for the vacant IS 95kg title. We'll have more on this fight in the coming weeks. Plus, Chahid Oulad El Hadj vs. Robin van Roosmalen in what should be an exciting match up.
March 12 - Fight Nights: Battle of Moscow: Top 5 MW Albert Kraus headlines this show against Batu Khasikov. Kraus is a busy fighter who takes a fair number of these smaller fights, typically knocking his opponents out. But as Souwer showed us this weekend - anything can happen.
April 2 - Explosion Fight Night 3: This French Muay Thai event is notable for a 4 man K-1 rules tournament that will feature Sudsakorn. The Thai fighter is popping up everywhere these days, already having turned in two high profile fights in 2011 against Khem Sitsongpeenong and Giorgio Petrosyan. He's also entering a lot of tournaments, which is a smart move for the experience. The other participants are Michael Piskitello, Michale Lallemand, and Mohammed Rahoui.
April 24 - REBELS 7: Former K-1 MAX Korea GP champion Chi Bin Lim meets Daiki Watabe. Good to see Chi Bin Lim here, as he looked very good at the K-1 MAX Final 16 last year, but has seemingly been passed in the MAX pecking order by his countryman Su Hwan Lee.
May - Local Kombat: This one is not 100% confirmed yet, but Local Kombat revealed that their May event will likely be headlined by Daniel Ghita vs. Alexey Ignashov. Ignashov is notoriously hard to stop or even knockdown, but he's not looked good lately, and I have to think Ghita may be the man to finally stop him here.Add a comment
Tonight at UFC 126, Jon "Bones" Jones took the fight to Ryan Bader. Both men were seen as huge prospects for UFC's 205lbs division, and after a slick guillotine choke from the top, Ryan Bader moves down the ladder a bit and Jon Jones moves up. Jones demonstrated some superb ground work against Bader and was able to use his reach advantage to keep Bader at bay.
Jones' stand up still leaves a lot to be desired, with his stance, movement and lack of set-ups. All of the big strikes he threw had a lot of power behind them and looked right on target, but not as many connected as could have if he actually set the strikes up. This includes a left high kick, a few big hooks and a Remy Bonjasky-style flying kick.
So what is the point of all of this? In what was a WWE or even Oprah moment for UFC, Joe Rogan came into the cage to tell Jon Jones that Rashad Evans was injured and at UFC 128 the UFC would like Jon Jones to step in for him and challenge Mauricio "Shogun" Rua for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. It is a huge step up in competition for Jon Jones, and honestly the fight of his life. Shogun's striking, while a bit on the brawling side due to the Chute Boxing style of Muay Thai, is still technically sound and does lots of damage.
Jones has a reach advantage over Rua, but that wouldn't be the first time he has given up reach, and it also isn't the first time he has gone into the fight without a giant hype train behind him. When he challenged Lyoto Machida, Machida had endless momentum and it turns out wasn't prepared for Muay Thai, and now Jon Jones is in the same position. Jones is most definitely a great prospect, but there are serious holes in his stand up that Ryan Bader was able to exploit tonight and not enough time to fix them before the fight.Add a comment
Yesterday we took a look at Anderson Silva as part 1 of our LiverKick.com take on Saturday’s big UFC 126 showdown between Silva and Vitor Belfort. If you missed it, be sure to read that article here for a look at Silva’s Muay Thai and Pro Boxing careers. Today, part 2 as we examine the boxing career of Saturday’s challenger: “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort.
Belfort’s career as a boxer has many similarities to Silva’s. Belfort has just one pro boxing bout to his name, and like Silva, Belfort’s opponent was another one and done fighter. But while Silva tried his hand at boxing just before hitting his MMA peak, Vitor’s boxing debut came at a very different point on his career trajectory.
Belfort made his boxing debut in April 2006, and while it was a small show in Brazil, there were many eyes on the fight. Because Vitor Belfort was only a year removed from his 2nd UFC run and the classic series of fights with Chuck Liddell, Marvin Eastman, Randy Couture, and Tito Ortiz. In the time since leaving the UFC, he had taken two fights (including his first encounter with Alistair Overeem); he had also spoken openly about his plans to compete as a boxer.
The idea of Vitor Belfort as a boxer makes a lot of sense. Despite talk of his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu pedigree, Vitor is and always has been a largely one dimensional MMA fighter, using his hand speed and power throughout his career (Belfort did try out a new wrestling based style in Pride, which was successful, though incredibly boring). And so fans were interested in what kind of skills Belfort the boxer would bring to the table when he met Josemario Neves.
As it turns out, Vitor Belfort the boxer is not much different from Vitor Belfort the MMA fighter, which in all honesty is not a bad thing. Belfort’s strength has always been his boxing, so for him to focus on those skills and really keep his game tuned to this strength is a smart move. And here we do see some nice examples of Belfort tightening up his technique. One quick exchange I like comes when Neves tries to trap Belfort against the ropes. Once he has Vitor pushed back, Neves goes for a punch, but Belfort ducks the punch and steps out to the side, escaping the punch and the bad positioning in one fluid motion.
This fight really displays Vitor’s greatest strength – the killer instinct and knowledge of when to finish a fight. Belfort is one of the best at this in the history of MMA – once he tags you, he simply unloads until you are done. If you watch Vitor’s left hand here you can see when he decides to switch gears and end the fight. For the majority of the fight, he keeps that left hand high and close to his chin in a very strong defensive position, ready to block any incoming punches. Once he hurts Neves just before the first knockdown, he gives up that defense in favor of landing as many heavy shots as he can as quickly as he can. In some ways it’s a gamble – leaving yourself open to go for the kill can get you hit – but Belfort knows when to time it so that he stays safe. It’s telling that Belfort has used that flurry to KO numerous opponents, but never once has an opponent landed a counter strike to drop Belfort during these rapid fire attacks.
One other interesting aspect from this fight is that, because this is boxing and not MMA, Vitor needs to do more than just overwhelm his opponent once suddenly – he needs to hurt him enough to keep him down or continue the assault after his opponent has time to recover. Here, Vitor’s power is not enough to keep Neves down for a 10 count, but it is enough that after the first knockdown, the fight is essentially over. The moment they begin to exchange again after that initial knockdown, it’s clear that Neves has nothing left to offer. Vitor swarms him again, then once more for the 3 knockdown victory.
When he faces Anderson Silva tomorrow night, all it will take is one opening for Vitor to launch that rapid fire attack, overwhelm Silva once, and again become UFC champion (though hopefully this time it will be a bit more legitimate). What’s tricky for Belfort is that, while no man has yet countered that quick attack, if there’s any man to do it, it’s Silva. Will Silva give Belfort the opening he needs? And if he does, will the sublime striking we know Silva is capable of be able to save him? We’ll know soon enough.Add a comment