Preview of K-1 ColliZion

untitled1This is a jam packed weekend for kickboxing fans, with big shows from It’s Showtime, K-1 ColliZion, and the K-1 MAX Finals on Monday. All week we will preview the weekend’s events, starting with ColliZion today.

This Saturday’s K-1 ColliZion card is an interesting beast. What started off looking like something of a freakshow card has evolved into one of the most exciting smaller shows of the year, with a couple of highly competitive and interesting fights. While the undercard features some notable fighters (mainly Petr Vondracek and Freddy Kemayo), we’ll focus on the top three fights of the night, as these are the draws that make this card.

ALEXANDRU LUNGU v. JUSTICE SMITH (MMA rules)

This is one of two fights ColliZion determined by fan voting, as it was going to be either Lungu v. Smith or Lungu v. Butterbean. Justice Smith won by a narrow margin, and now looks to follow in Gina Carano’s footsteps by making the transition from American Gladiator to combat MMA fighter. Smith does have limited experience in MMA and kickboxing, including an MMA loss to UFC #1 contender Shane Carwin, and a kickboxing loss to Mighty Mo, but make no mistake, it is not his ring experience that gets him this spot, it is his high profile role as American Gladiator Justice. As a bonus for pro wrestling fans, Smith may also be recognizable as one of the contestants on WWE’s Tough Enough, losing to fellow MMA fighter Daniel Puder.
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Buakaw Promo Video

Great video of Buakaw training and a reminder of just how vicious he can be.

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Contender Asia Season 2 Postponed Again, Bang Ludwig Pulls Out

The news surrounding the upcoming second season of The Contender Asia has been pretty grim this week as rumors persist that the show will not take place at all. Those who have followed The Contender Asia have been frustrated to see the second season postponed time and again for everything from holidays to construction delays to fog. Now, fighters are beginning to share that frustration, including announced participant and UFC veteran Duane “Bang” Ludwig:

After multiple postponments, I’ve decided to pull off the Contender Asia 2 to refocus on MMA. I want to fight, and was forced to pull off the show while they sort out some things. Check back often for an announcement of my next MMA fight.

This is a notable blow to the show, not because Ludwig is essential to the production, but because it shows how little confidence those directly involved have in the show. As rumors of financial problems and other unknown delays persist, it’s beginning to look like we may never see season 2.

Check back later this week as we will have more coverage on the long, bumpy road for The Contender Asia Season 2.

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DREAM.12 Ain’t Done Yet: Alistair Overeem vs. James Thompson

Fanhouse’s Michael David Smith is reporting that Alistair Overeem’s DREAM.12 opponent in the cage will be none other than the ear-exploding James Thompson. Thompson, known for losing his last four fights to Neil Grove, Brett Rogers, Kimbo Slice and Jim York will be best known to fans as the guy who Kimbo hit so hard his ear exploded on CBS Network’s first attempt at live MMA for the masses.

Overeem given another gimme fight, but I’m not complaining that we’ll get to see some high class demolition at DREAM.12.

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American MMA Ignorance is Bliss in Regards to Alistair Overeem

The overwhelming outrage over Alistair Overeem not defending a rather meaningless title against meaningless opponents in the United States has to stop. Until we get Overeem vs. Fedor scheduled in Strikeforce, the outrage needs to end. As we’ve covered in the past linking to interviews with Alistair and interviewing his manager Bas Boon, Alistair was injured, but recovered by September and Strikeforce has not offered him a fight since, but he will fight for them in 2010.

Steve Cofield, the much maligned, insulted and berated Yahoo! Sports MMA blogger is at it again, this time calling for Alistair Overeem to be stripped of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship. Why? Because he fought against a far lesser opponent on a show for his gym, which he can attribute a lot of his recent success to.  I’m not a Cofield hater, but his clear lack of knowledge of the fight scene outside of the United States is rather sad.

When is Strikeforce going to pull the plug on this Alistair Overeem sham? It did so quietly with its middleweight belt held by Cung Le. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker announced that Le would be back at some point but now the belt has been stripped. He needs to do the same with his heavyweight strap especially after watching Overeem face a nobody in Tony Sylvester in something called Ultimate Glory 11 in Holland last night.

UPDATE: BloodyElbow’s Mike Fagan has weighed in on this topic and pretty much nails it with “why should we care?”

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Giorgio Petrosyan is Awesome

Giorgio Petrosyan is one of the early favorites for the K-1 World MAX Tournament this year, and if you are wondering why, he has a whole career worth of fights for you to watch. Check out this fight from 2008 against Raffik Bakkouri where he just decimates him. Petrosyan’s opponent, Yuya Yamamoto isn’t known for his crushing power, it looks like he has his hands full.

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Vale Tudo Japan Just Got Better: Sato vs. Joe Warren

Remember we told you about the awesome upcoming Vale Tudo show? Legendary grappler and SHOOTO vet Rumina Sato is set to take on one of the most promising breakout stars of the year, Joe Warren. Sato, obviously, is concerned about this, as he should be.

Warren made his name in DREAM recently, defeating Chase Beebe and Japanese hero KID Yamamoto in stunning fashion. Warren went from another Team Quest wrestler-turned-prospect to one of the best Featherweights in the world in the blink of an eye, and this fight will be no less of a challenge for him.

Leading Shooto promoter Sustain announced Sunday that longtime Shooto fan favorite and former 143-pound Pacific Rim champion Rumina Sato will fight Joe Warren at Vale Tudo Japan 2009.

“I initially said I wanted to fight a strong foreigner for VTJ, but when they told me who it was, my reaction was, ‘Are you for real?’” chuckled Sato.

Despite Sato’s comments at last month’s VTJ ’09 news conference indicating his desire to drop to a weight close to 135 pounds for VTJ, the fight is contracted to be at 138.9 pounds — the weight of Dream’s “featherweight” class — and will be under Vale Tudo Japan rules.

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