We've been patiently waiting for weeks and finally the time has come. K-1 has officially announced the card for the Final 16 on October 2:
Semmy Schilt v. Hesdy Gerges
Ewerton Teixeira v. Peter Aerts
Errol Zimmerman v. Daniel Ghita
Gokhan Saki v. Freddy Kemayo
Ruslan Karaev v. Tyrone Spong
Andrei Arlovski v. Raul Catinas
Alistair Overeem v. Ben Edwards
Kyotaro v. Jerome Le Banner
Two obvious huge stories here:
#1 - No Badr Hari. We had heard rumblings about this for some time, but I have to be honest, I really thought they would be worked out. I'm very surprised to see him not included here, but if he really can use this time to get his head on straight and return with the mental focus that allows him to reach his potential, then so be it. I believe negotiations with Hari are also what led to this announcement being so slow coming.
#2 - Arlovski in the Final 16. The news broke this weekend that Andrei Arlovski would be fighting, but it was said to be in a superfight. Now, it turns out he is actually in the Grand Prix, and against a somewhat hand picked opponent too. Catinas is a good fighter, but he's significantly less experienced than most of the field, and is very short for heavyweight. Arlovski will have a dominating reach advantage, and should be able to get the win here. It seems like K-1 is banking on Arlovski making it in to the Final 8, giving some star power to cover up the absence of Badr Hari. I expect him to win, and if he doesn't, then the young Catinas's stock will shoot through the roof and he'll be a big story himself at the Final 8.
Also announced were three super fights: Chalid "Die Faust" v. Dzevad Poturak, in what should be a crazy fight, Sergey Kharitonov v. Takumi Sato (I honestly did not expect to see Sergei ever in K-1 again) and Min Ho Song v. Hyun Man Myung.