This weekend may be all about Mayweather vs. Canelo, but if you're a kickboxing fan, there's another big event worth watching Saturday.
This Saturday, September 14, K-1 is back in action with the K-1 World MAX 2013 Final 16. It's been a rough few years for K-1 to say the least, and though the organization has seemed to close its doors on multiple occasions, they continue to survive and produce shows. Saturday's event, live from Spain, will be the first step to crowning a 2013 K-1 MAX champion (for those unfamiliar with K-1, MAX is the 70kg division).
The K-1 MAX Final 16 will be available for free in a live stream right here at Bloody Elbow on Saturday starting at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Let's take a quick look at the line-up and see what to expect on Saturday:
K-1 World MAX 2013 Final 16 Fight Card
Saturday, September 14
Andy Souwer (NLD) vs. Yasuhiro Kido (JAP)
Buakaw Banchamek (THA) vs. David Calvo (SPA)
Shane Campbell (CAN) vs. Wallace Lopez (BRA)
Lee Sung-Hyun (KOR) vs. Francois Alexande (FRA)
Zhou Zhi-Peng (CHN) vs. Joey Pagliuso (USA)
Maximo Suarez (ESP) vs. Miodrag Olar (ROU)
Henri Van Opstal (NLD) vs. Enriko Kehl (DEU)
Mike Zambidis (GRC) vs. Elam Ngor (ESP)
All fights listed are part of the MAX Grand Prix, with winners moving on to the Final 8 at a date yet to be determined.
As tends to be the case in the current era of K-1, this is not a line-up that really compares with the glory days of K-1, nor does it truly feature the world's very best in the division (most notably absent is Glory fighter and clear-cut #1 in the world at 70kg, Giorgio Petrosyan). Still, there are some good names here that make this a legitimate, competitive tournament.
The three easy favorites are former champions Souwer and Buakaw and longtime K-1 veteran Zambidis. All three have great experience and should have no trouble making it through to the final 8. Henri Van Opstal may not be quite as well known, but he's also a formidable opponent who has the potential to play spoiler once we move deeper into the GP. Shane Campbell has good experience on the Muay Thai scene, and should be the favorite over Lopez. Korean fighter Lee is another solid addition. Souwer's opponent Kido is probably known to K-1 fans for his K-1 Japan win back in 2008, but he has struggled ever since and should be easy pickings for Souwer.
Overall, unless Zambidis or Van Opstal manage to spoil the party, look for an eventual Buakaw vs. Souwer fight in the tournament, with the winner there emerging as the overall favorite for the GP.
Join us Saturday for the K-1 MAX live stream and a solid day of kickboxing action.