|Heavyweight (Per 1/20)|
|6.||Mirko Cro Cop
|Light HW (per 1/20)|
|Middleweight (per 1/20)|
|Welterweight (per 1/20)|
|4.||Marc de Bonte|
|70kg (Per 1/20)|
|2.||Robin van Roosmalen|
|65kg (per 1/20)|
Matchmaking for this Alistair Overeem, on this year's New Year's Eve DYNAMITE!! show, was far from certain going into the last few weeks before the event. There were reports of yea and nay on the possibility of Overeem facing Todd Duffee. It was a chaotic process, to say the least, with Duffee being finalized as the opponent on December 24th, a mere week before DYNAMITE!! Names like Bobby Lashley, Andrei Arlovski, and Semmy Schilt were thrown around beforehand as possible opponents.
Todd Duffee took the fight on short notice when it seemed uncertain whether Overeem would even fight. Most fans didn't give Duffee a chance going into the fight, seeing as Overeem was fresh off a huge tournament victory in the 2010 K-1 WGP and Duffee had just been cut from the UFC, but Duffee was a relatively sound opponent compared to names like Kazuyuki Fujita and James Thompson whom Overeem had just faced in MMA. More importantly, he was game during a shortage of opponents for The Reem.
Here is their bout from the New Year's Eve show in Saitama, Japan:
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The final K-1 fight at Dynamite!! 2010 featured K-1's 63kg Grand Prix champion Tetsuya Yamato facing Dream fighter Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura. It wasn't a fight that received a lot of hype heading into the show, but turned out to be a very entertaining affair.
Through the first two rounds, the fighters were mostly even, with Wicky perhaps edging out a slight advantage by using his speed and unorthodox style to keep tagging Yamato. Open scoring was on, and all judges gave the first two rounds 10-10. With no extension rounds at Dynamite!!, the fight came down to the 3rd.
Both men really stepped up their game in that 3rd round, turning in a fun final stanza. Nishiura reverted to some of his MMA habits, making things a bit sloppy at times, but both men kept the speed up, working hard to take the win. In the closing minute, Yamato finally started to land, rocking Wicky and stumbling him. Great ending to the fight there and some of the best action of the night so far.
I thought that final exchange earned Yamato the round and the win, but only one judge saw it that way. The other two again went 10-10, resulting in a majority draw. That's not a great result for Yamato, who sould have been able to defeat the MMA fighter, but it was the kind of fight that will earn both men new fans regardless of the outcome.Add a comment
I'm sure I'm not the only one here who holds Kazushi Sakuraba in high esteem. One of my absolute favorite MMA fighters of all time, Saku is rightly hailed as the God of Japanese MMA. But tonight was yet another hard to watch loss for the legend.
Facing Dream champion Marius Zaromskis, Sakuraba suffered an early ear injury that brought the fight to a close before it could get going. The owner of one of the worst cauliflowered ears in all of MMA (and that covers a lot of ground), Sakuraba took a quick shot that popped the ear, causing it to bleed. A few minutes later, he took another blow and immediately recoiled, holding his hand to his ear. Doctors stepped in, and it looked like Sakuraba's ear had been partially torn away from his skull, resulting in a much needed stoppage. The stoppage was reminiscent of Kimbo Slice v. James Thompson on CBS, but unlike the Kimbo fight, we thankfully did not get any graphic footage of Sakuraba's ear.
Overall, it was a fight that didn't say much about Zarmoskis, and once again demonstarted that Sakuraba's time is done. He's had a lot of loses recently, and sadly has looked old in those loses. The lasting image of him here, with his hand covering his bloody ear, is not the way anyone wants to keep seeing this legend.Add a comment
A year ago, the much hyped Satoshi Ishii made a dissapointing MMA debut, failing to impress at Dynamite!! 2009. Tonight, the decorated Olympian showed off his vast improvement in the last year, defeating Jerome Le Banner in a very good fight.
For much of the fight, Ishii was able to outwrestle and control the stand-up fighter Le Banner. But JLB is a far more skilled MMA combatant than many other kickboxers, and was frequently able to reverse Ishii and take advantage. In the 3rd round, Ishii took clear control of the fight, locking on a tight kimura that looked to end it. JLB gutted it out and miraculously survived, but the strong sub attempt made it clear who had won.
Ishii took the justified unanimous decision, and interestingly, the result was booed. I think that stems more from Japanese loyalty to JLB than displeasure with the decision, but it's pretty shocking to see a Japanese sports hero booed like that in Japan. It was a good reminder that, although Ishii has improved, he definitely has not caught fire with the Japanese crowd as many hoped he would.Add a comment
You knew it was a hard road for Todd Duffee. Facing the rampaging Alistair Overeem, on short notice, under MMA rules where The Reem can use his killer knee? That's a tall order, and unfortunately for the ex- UFC fighter, he wasn't up to it.
In just 19 seconds, Overeem landed a series of blows, including that murderous knee, to knock Duffee down and out. Duffee's chin has been a question mark since his UFC loss to Mike Russow, but those blows would have put almost anyone away. Such is the power of the K-1 champion.
With that win, Overeem claims the Interim Dream Heavyweight title, making him the current Dream, Strikeforce, and K-1 champion. I know he has his detractors, but that's an impressive accomplishment.Add a comment
In the odd K-1 / DREAM hybrid rules bout, it was K-1 MAX Japan champion Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima who stood supreme, knocking Aoki out cold in a dramatic finish.
The two men started with a 3 minute K-1 rules round that was marked primarily by Aoki's flopping and stalling. Aoki spent the majority of the 3 minutes throwing himself to the ground, shooting takedowns on Jienotsu, and using a two handed clinch - basically doing anything he could to avoid standing and exchanging with the striker Nagashima, despte the rules. It was perhaps a sound strategy, but frustrating to watch.
As they came out for round 2 and 5 minutes of MMA action, Aoki immediately went for the takedown, but was hit perfectly by a Nagashima knee and knocked completely unconcious.
Great determination by Nagashima, who came into the MMA round at a huge disadvantage, but continued to fight his fight and earned the huge victory. Good to see a bit of redemption for K-1 as well after Kyotaro's defeat.Add a comment
In one of the 2 K-1 rules fights at Dynamite!! 2010, Dream fighter Gegard Mousasi improved his K-1 record to a perfect 2-0 with an upset win over Kyotaro. The K-1 Heavyweight champion came into the fight looking to avenge fellow K-1 fighter Musashi's loss to Gegard in 2008, but instead found himself added to Mousasi's mantle.
The first round was close, with both Kyotaro effectively using his superior skills to keep Mousasi at bay. But in the 2nd, Kyotaro slowed down and Mousasi caught him, scoring a knockdown that had Kyotaro doing the proverbial chicken dance. It looked like Mousasi would stop him in the 2nd, but Kyotaro survived until the final bell. The decision was academic, as Mousasi easily claimed the victory on the judges' scorecards.
An unfortunate ending to an otherwise superb year for Kyotaro.Add a comment
With 2011 quickly approaching, fight fans begin to look to the new year and anticipate the blockbuster matches that may come to fruition. MMA fans want Georges St. Pierre vs Anderson Silva. Boxing fans want Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather. While those matches are well and good, none compares to a third meeting between K-1 World Grand Prix Champion Alistair 'The Reem' Overeem and Badr 'Golden Boy' Hari.
For the uninitiated, let's do a quick rundown of the history between these two iconic fighters.
Alistair and Badr first fought at Dynamite!! 2008. The match was made under the assumption that Alistair would first fight Badr in a K-1 match and then they would fight again under MMA rules. This gives each party involved a fight under the rules that they're most comfortable in. Alistair had fought in K-1 a handful of times before but he didn't have a lot of success and focused mainly on MMA. The terms were agreed upon and the fight went down on December 31st. Alistair shocked the world and defeated Badr with a left hook that KO'd the Moroccan. Following the KO, Badr Hari wouldn't agree to fight Alistair in an MMA fight. In a twist of fate, Overeem was elected by the fans to appear in the 2009 K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. Alistair took full advantage of this opportunity and defeated kickboxing legend Peter Aerts to secure his spot in the Final 8. He would go on to meet Badr Hari in the semi-finals in what would be one of the most highly anticipated fights of all time. The energy inside the Saitama Super Arena was at a fever pitch for the rematch of these two giants of the sport. This fight would go differently, however, as Hari defeated Overeem with a high kick in the first round. Evening the score and giving Badr the vindication he so desperately wanted.
Fast forward a year and much has changed. Badr Hari has had multiple run-ins with the law while Alistair has methodically taken over the heavyweight landscape of both MMA and K-1. He has become a superstar in Japan and American audiences are starting to take notice of his skills with his first round dismantling of Brett Rogers in Strikeforce. Alistair currently holds the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship as well as the K-1 World Grand Prix title. The first ever combat athlete to hold two titles in different fight sports simultaneously. Badr, on the other hand, was disqualified in his last fight for stomping Hesdy Gerges while he was down just like he did to Remy Bonjasky in the 2008 K-1 WGP final. The contrast between these two fighters is apparent — one comes from relative obscurity to dominate while the other is experiencing a fall from grace. But I believe this can change.
If sports history has taught us anything it's that winning covers a multitude of sin. Ask Ray Lewis, Kobe Bryant, or Michael Vick. Sports fan love winners and while they may not absolve athletes of their off-the-field ills, they will forget them long enough to cheer heartily for the athletes they love. There's a separation of the athlete from the person that allows us to see them only as who they are when they're on the field or in the ring. Badr Hari can benefit from this same practice. Beat Alistair Overeem and suddenly fight fans the world over forget about how many bouncers you sent to the hospital.
His return is highly anticipated by kickboxing fans. Badr is one of the sports biggest figures and a return match against Alistair Overeem would send the sport of kickboxing into a frenzy. The publicity created by such an event is priceless for a promoter. The kind of buzz FEG, who is the parent company of K-1, could desperately use.
There has been much speculation as to the future of K-1, in the last year. As we saw with the demise of PRIDE Fighting Championships, when you lose the support of Tokyo Broadcasting System, your demise as a company is soon to follow. Money troubles, waning interest from viewers and the rumored loss of support from TBS had the K-1 world anxious and fearing the worst. The Ultimate Fighting Championship once found themselves in a similar situation before a fight between Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin turned into a barn-burner and sent fan interest through the roof. Things only got better for the UFC after that fight and they're still enjoying the benefits. Luckily, it's being reported that the financial troubles K-1 experienced are now a thing of the past and the future is bright. Let's hope so.
Even with renewed financial backing, the need is still there for a blockbuster fight to get fans watching and talking and no fight is more anticipated than a grudge match. Two fighters that are fighting for more than a win or money. These are two fighters with a history and something to prove.
I can think of no fight that is more highly anticipated than a third match between Alistair Overeem and Badr Hari. It has every story line you could ask for and there's no question about it being an all out war. Just look at the last two fights for proof.
We've already discussed the fights that were put together for a Japanese audience for Dynamite!! 2010, with Satoshi Ishii getting the big nod as the "star" of the show as well as a vast array of freakshow fights that would make your average fan on the Underground forums eyes roll back into their head. It should also be noted that Alistair Overeem is getting a rather big push in the press of late, with him being seen as a big foreigner heavyweight, the first since Fedor Emelianenko, basically.
Alistair Overeem will be squaring off against Todd Duffee, as we reported (also that it was an ordeal to get that fight signed), and it is still up-in-the-air if the fight will be for the DREAM Heavyweight Championship or not. Overeem has stuck around in Japan after the Grand Prix training in Japan due to not wanting to have to deal with the snow in Holland (MiddleEasy's Zeus can attest to how good of an idea it was to avoid that snow).
The big fights for the rest of us are fights between some name fighters, with the next biggest fight being a mixed rules bout between Shinya Aoki and Yuichiro Nagashima. It will be a three round affair, with the first being K-1 rules and the rest being MMA. The crux? MMA gloves throughout the fight, so to not need a giant gap for changing gloves between rounds.
Strikeforce's Josh Thomson squares off against Tatsuya Kawajiri in a fight that no one really expected, but looks to be a solid fight. Mariusz Zaromskis will defend his Middleweight Championship against Kazushi Sakuraba, with Saku looking to possibly take home the first title of his career at the tender age of 40. This fight is getting very little press in Japan, which for a Sakuraba fight is odd.
The other big fight is DREAM Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi taking on K-1 Heavyweight Champion Kyotaro in a K-1 rules bout. It is a strange bout to say the least, with Mousasi not competing in a kickboxing bout since December 2008 against Musashi.Add a comment
Dynamite!! is just two days away, and in true FEG style, we're still getting the final details figured out. One important piece of info just released is the rules for the Shinya Aoki v. Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima fight. All that was known so far is that they would be alternating rounds of K-1 and MMA, but now we have the specifics.
The bout will start with a 3 minute K-1 rules round. Round 2 will be 5 minutes under Dream rules. If there is no winner after those 2 rounds, the fight will automatically be ruled a draw and will not be scored by judges. And then there's this - regular MMA style gloves will be worn for both rounds.
That last rule adds a new wrinkle to things. We're not accustomed to seeing a K-1 fighter like Jienotsu striking with smaller MMA gloves, nor is he used to using them. This should increase the chances of a KO, but it also increases the chances of a broken hand.
I'm glad they are starting with the K-1 round. As I said when this was announced, I think Nagashima's chances of surviving 5 minutes under MMA rules with Aoki are almost nonexistent. The intrigue of this fight comes from the standing portion. Common sense says Aoki should use his reach and defensive skills to try and survive those 3 minutes. But I have a suspicion that Aoki's emotions could get the best of him, leading the Dream champion to actively engage Jienotsu on the feet. If that happens, it should spell doom for Aoki, but those MMA fighters have a pesky way of surprising their K-1 opponents. Either way, this should be interesting, and is one of my personal Dynamite highlights this year.
Also announced were the rules for Bob Sapp v. Shinichi Suzukawa, which will be DREAM MMA rules with no gloves, closed fist strikes are not allowed, and you are permitted to throw open palm hand strikes. Sounds like a throwback to the old Pancrase days to me.Add a comment