Al Bello - Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
The full line-up for the 2012 K-1 Grand Prix Final 16 has been announced. We have it here, plus more from all around the kickboxing world.
Welcome back to Weekly Kicks, Bloody Elbow's regular round-up of all the news from K-1, Glory, Super Kombat, and the world of kickboxing. Big news from K-1 this week, so let's get started...
2012 K-1 Grand Prix Final 16 Line-Up
Here is the news a lot of fans have been waiting for - the complete line-up for the 2012 K-1 Grand Prix Final 16, taking place October 14 (courtesy of Liver Kick):
K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16
Raul Catinas (Romania) vs. Ben Edwards (Australia)
Makoto Uehara (Japan) vs. Hiromi Amada (Japan)
Xavier Vigney (USA) vs. Zabit Samedov (Azerbaijan)
Hesdy Gerges (Egypt) vs. Sergii Laschenko (Ukraine)
Singh Jaideep (India) vs. Ismael Londt (Surinam)
Jarrell Miller (USA) vs. Arnold Oborotov (Lithuania)
Paul Slowinski (Poland) vs. Catalin Morosanu (Romania)
Mirko Flipovic (Croatia) vs. Randy Blake (USA)
Genji Umeno (Japan) vs. Chanhyung Lee (Korea)
Jafar Ahmadi (Iran) vs. Benjamin Adegbuyl (Nigeria)
Saulo Cavalari (Brazil) vs. Pavel Zuravliov (Russia)
Rick Roufus (USA) vs. James Wilson (USA)
So let's get this out of the way right now - this is a fun line-up, and K-1 proved that they can deliver fun shows without big names with their Los Angeles show, but this is not a K-1 Grand Prix caliber show. Most of these guys are fine Final 16 fodder, but very few feel right in the actual final 8, much less the final 4 or 2. Of the 16 fighters, I'd say Gerges, Lascenko, Londt, Catinas, and Cro Cop all seem like fair names for a final 8, but none of them say "K-1 Grand Prix champion" to me.
Notably absent from this list are Badr Hari (no surprise there) and Daniel Ghita. Ghita is a big loss, as he has always been mentioned as a K-1 fighter, and was the clear front-runner. Let's hope he ends up in the Glory tournament - he's the #2 Heavyweight in the world and needs to be fighting.
With Ghita out, the field is wide open. And, dare I say it, I actually think Mirko Cro Cop has a shot at this thing. He's looked good in his two kickboxing fights this year, and is hands down the most experienced. Blake will be a tough test for him (and that's a great fight), but I don't think a Cro Cop K-1 Grand Prix crown is out of the question.
Fans who tuned in to the K-1 US Grand Prix Championship in Los Angeles earlier this month were treated to an excellent show. From a fight fan perspective, it was a definite hit. How did it do from a business perspective? Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer has some numbers:
Spike tried an experiment over the weekend with the 9/8 K-1 show from the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Expect a lot of cross-promotion in 2013 for the K-1 shows during Impact and Bellator. It was pushed as being on Spike's web site, but most of the show was an iPPV. I didn't think that was the right call because to me the idea is to expose the most people to the product before it debuts on Spike, not limit it to the small hardcore following. They had 5,800 buys at least as of the live airing, which is a better figure than I'd have expected for a largely known [sic?] product.
I agree that charging was a bad idea, though I am glad that they have since made the show available for free. But overall, a decent start to the new K-1. If you haven't yet watched, what are you waiting for? Watch it now.
Glory held a recent press conference, announcing some big plans for 2013. Here are the highlights:
- The company will stage 14 regular events next year, plus extra "Road to Glory" events that will focus on developing new international talent.
- They are expanding to six weight classes: 65kg, 70kg, 77kg, 85kg, 95kg and Super Heavyweight. All six will have 8 man tournaments next year.
- They are increasing their presence in Japan, with multiple events planned there for next year, plus partnerships with various smaller Japanese organizations such as Krush and NJKF.
Read the full news here. Big plans overall, and another indication that 2013 could be a big year for kickboxing.
More on Tyrone Spong's MMA Debut
There has been a lot of discussion lately about Tyrone Spong's move to MMA. The top 5 Heavyweight has been working with the Blackzilians team for some time, and is ready to make the switch to MMA at least part time. At first, he was rumored to be fighting for the new World Series of Fighting, but then was announced for Titan FC. After that, it was reported that he was back to World Series. It's all a bit confusing, so Bloody Elbow reached out to his team to sort it out.
Spong's manager Glenn Robinson confirmed to Bloody Elbow that Tyrone Spong will indeed make his MMA debut for World Series of Fighting. He'll be competing on their November 3 debut event.
Spong is a world class kickboxer, and his MMA debut is a big deal. Be sure to check it out.
Fight Video of the Week
Since we're talking Spong, let's see why he is so impressive. Here he is against Alistair Overeem at the 2010 K-1 Grand Prix. While Spong may have lost this fight, he gave the much bigger Reem all he could handle, turing in a terrific performance that really cemented his place as one of the sport's top Heavyweights.
And finally, a list of all the upcoming shows to watch out for:
- Glory 2 Brussels - October 6 (Bonjasky vs. Silva, Saki vs. Bouzidi, Holzken vs. Direkci)
- Boonchu Cup 2 - October 13 (Caged Muay Thai with 4 oz gloves in Australia)
- K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16 - October 14 (Full line-up above)
- Superkombat Grand Prix Qualification - October 20 (Lungu, Stoica, Ciobanu)
- Glory 3 Rome Final 8 - November 3 (70kg tournament finals)
- Superkombat Grand Prix Round of 8 - November 10 (Catinas, Lascenko, Londt, more)
- Glory Grand Slam - December (16 man Heavyweight tournament)
- K-1 World MAX GP Finals - December 8
- Superkombat Grand Prix Finals - December 8
- K-1 Grand Prix Finals in New York City - December 26