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It's Monday and there's no holiday this week, so we're back to work and back with another edition of Monday Morning Head Kicks. Last week, Shooto began the new year in Japanese MMA with their Shootor's Legacy 1 event. No MMA from Japan this week, but we'll touch on some issues that have been going on at Shooto which are definitely being overshadowed by the troubles of FEG.
UFC Fight for the Troops 2 was definitely the big event of the week. Rising lightweights Melvin Guillard and Evan Dunham were featured in the main event of the evening. The bout didn't last long, but we saw some solid striking from Guillard. Pat Barry took on Joey Beltran in a bout that may have failed to impress a lot of folks, but some decent technique was shown. Former Shooto titleholder Willamy Freire did not have a good night. Others featured on the card that I feel like mentioning: ADCC champion Rani Yahya, Yves Edwards, and former NFL player Matt Mitrione.
In addition to the news that Badr Hari will be making an appearance for the promotion in Lyon, France in May, we can also bring you a bit more news on the IS event scheduled for March 6th. Also in the world of kickboxing, Hinata was victorious at the Rebels-EX event in Japan. Hinata knocked out South Korean Woo Yong Choi in the third round of their bout. The Contender Asia competitor Dzhabar Askerov also fought this week in Rome, winning by first round knockout. Surinamese-Dutch fighter Marco Pique also competed at the event; you may recall Pique was the runner-up at two regional K-1 MAX events back in 2008 and 2009.
Some new information has come out about Isuzu Thai Fight 2011, and it seems we'll be enjoying two tournaments this year instead of one. One of those tournaments will evidently involve a certain Thai fighter that everybody enjoys watching. Also, we heard that John Wayne Parr may be retiring at the end of the year. I'll be posting an interview with him in a couple hours, which is pretty awesome.
We've also got a look at when Sengoku might be returning, there's some recent Muay Thai fight video for you to enjoy, Darren Uyenoyama checks in with Enson Inoue, Elite Boxing checks in with Remy Bonjasky, and Michael Schiavello has a really awesome article involving Kyokushin Karate. A few other items in there for you as well.
Here we go...
Buakaw in Isuzu Thai Fight 2011?: Word is that this year's edition of Thai Fight will feature an eight man tournament at 70kg. in addition to the tournament at 67kg. While we already know that the representative for Thailand is being determined by the ongoing qualifier that I've mentioned a number of times, it seems that Buakaw Por. Pramuk may be named the nation's representative for the 70kg. tournament outright.
Sengoku Back in April?: Nightmare of Battle notes that SRC executive producer Tenshin Matsumoto was on TV recently and said that the plan is to hold the next major SRC event in April. NOB also notes that the rumored date is April 23rd. A smaller event may come in March. Other organizations are going to be putting on events in the meantime, but this is definitely looking to be the next event on that highest tier of Japanese MMA.
Also, the organization will continue to market MMA bouts as falling under the SRC banner while others, such as kickboxing bouts, will be presented as Sengoku bouts. It would seem like a minor detail for the time being, but I guess there's always that chance that we start seeing separate cards.
Shooto Troubles: With all things FEG disaster being very out in the open, the situation with Shooto has gone relatively unnoticed (Dan Herbertson is, of course, holding it down as always). Shooto will have a new board of directors in April. Why, you may ask.... Well, they all resigned. The man at the helm at amateur Shooto, Taro Wakabayashi, resigned himself last month following some questions raised by Noboru Asahi regarding the organization's tax records.
UFC Fight for the Troops 2: As I said, definitely the big event of the week. I hope even the strongest opponents of American MMA coverage will forgive me here, as there was some reasonably good striking to be had. Plus we saw a former Shooto champion in action.
Melvin Guillard showed excellent speed in dismantling Evan Dunham and brought about the beginning of the end with a solid knee. Mark Hominick looked rather crisp in a quick TKO win over George Roop, while ADCC champion Rani Yahya defeated Mike Thomas Brown.
Former K-1 competitor Pat Barry didn't have his most impressive performance, but there were some nasty, nasty leg kicks in his victory against Joey Beltran. While Barry may be frustrating to watch at times, there are moments where he really does show you what a high level striker can do in MMA - particularly against opponents who just can't check those leg kicks. Beltran may have not checked the kicks, but he showed some heart in taking them. Beltran did his best to get Barry against the cage and punish him, and it worked at times. It just didn't work enough.
One-time Shooto welterweight champion Willamy Freire dropped a unanimous decision to Waylon Lowe on the undercard of the event. Lowe was an NCAA Division 2 wrestler in college. You can probably figure out the rest of the story.
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