Every sport has a breeding ground for its future stars. In the case of mixed martial arts, the worlds of grappling, kickboxing and amateur wrestling are most likely to spawn the next Demian Maia, Mirko CroCop or Brock Lesnar. Collectively, these sports fall under the umbrella of “combat sports.” Every Wednesday, MMA DieHards reports on the biggest happenings in each of these realms of combat.
Kickboxing & Muay Thai
by Rob Tatum
The 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix wrapped up in Tokyo on Saturday night, with Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion and MMA veteran Alistair Overeem taking the crown. The massive Dutchman competed only once in MMA during 2010, as he focused on winning the K-1 title. The three victories in the tournament gave Overeem an unblemished 5-0 record inside the kickboxing ring during the year.
The opening round of the tournament played out largely as expected, as Overeem defeated Tyrone Spong by decision, courtesy of a third-round knockdown, K-1 legend Peter Aerts defeated Mighty Mo by first-round knockout, 2009 Grand Prix Champion Semmy Schilt outpointed undersized opponent Kyotaro, and in the fight of the night, Gokhan Saki defeated Daniel Ghita after an extension round.
The semifinals saw Overeem overwhelm a battered Saki, who had visible injuries following the Ghita fight. And in his seventeenth K-1 Grand Prix, Aerts put on the performance of the lifetime to eliminate the massive Schilt (also giving himself a 3-2 head-to-head record against the big man).
In the final, Overeem need only 67 seconds to KO the exhausted Aerts and claim the tournament.
Other bouts saw Hesdy Gerges send Yusuke Fujimoto into retirement with a lopsided first-round TKO victory, Ewerton Teixeira get his revenge over Errol Zimmerman by unanimous decision, Singh Jaideep use his reach to pick apart Sergei Kharitonov, and Tsutomoto Takahagi take a decision over Hidekazu Kimura.
Dutch promotion It’s Showtime held an event from Athens, Greece, over the weekend. The event saw Chris Ngimbi upset the heavily favored Murat Direkci to claim the 70kg (154 lb) title. In the co-main event, late replacement Andy Souwer took a unanimous decision over Pajonsuk. Other action saw It’s Showtime 63 kg (138.6 lb) champion Sergio Wielzen defeat Masahiro Yamamoto, Yavuz Kayabashi upset K-1 MAX competitor Gago Drago, Tomas Hron defeat Alexey Ignashov by decision, and Chahid claim a decision over Rafal Dudek.
An intriguing mixed rules bout has been announced for this year’s Dynamite!! event on New Year’s Eve in Japan. Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will take on K-1 MAX 2010 Japanese champion Yuichiro Nagashima. It is unclear how the rules will be applied, but it will likely include one round under kickboxing rules and one round under MMA rules, as seen in the Errol Zimmerman vs. Minowaman fight in 2008.
by Staff, The Open Mat
Hofstra came up with a big win this week with a 22-17 victory over the Maryland Terps. The key match was a pin at 174, where Ryan Patrovich recorded the fall in 1:49 over a red hot No. 8-ranked Mike Letts of Maryland. Patrovich has had his hot moments – you may remember he opened eyes a few seasons ago with a upset at NCAA’s over top seed Mack Lewnes of Cornell – but to this point he has yet to achieve All-America status. Patrovich remains a matchup nobody is looking forward to and will be an interesting 174-pounder to keep an eye on.
Former national champ and Nebraska senior Jordan Burroughs may have perfected the art of the double-leg takedown. The show he put on against No. 6-ranked Cody Yohn of Minnesota was spectacular en route to a 23-7 tech fall. This season, Burroughs has put up 20 points or more in a match five times. He also put up 19 twice and has yet to record a victory that was not bonus points for the Huskers. Burroughs has always been one of the best pure athletes in college wrestling, but he appears to have worked a lot on his technique during his time off last season, and is now reaping the fruits of his labors. (In-depth Coverage)
After a 19-16 win over CAA powerhouse Rider, the Army wrestling team has improved to 3-1 under Joe Heskett. The Military Academies are a lot like Ivy League schools; it is very tough to build a program because you are recruiting from a very limited pool of wrestlers. But Coach Heskett seems to be on the right path, getting an impressive victory from 125-pounder Travis Coffey and a big win from Jordan Thome at 133-pounds, when he defeated a formerly ranked opponent Jimmy Kirchner 4-3. Rider had a few bright spots of their own as well – 174-pounder Rob Morrison seems to be adjusting very nicely to his full time move up from 165-pounds.
There are rivals, and then there are rivals. The feud between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State is the latter and not just in wrestling, but also in athletics in general and in life. So Sunday’s match in Stillwater would be nothing less than epic, especially because of the revival in the Sooners program as of late. Well, it turned into a nightmare for Oklahoma, as they went down early and never recovered, going on to lose 22-12. The guys that led the way are names wrestling fans are familiar with in Perry and Rosholt, but these are not the same Perry and Rosholt that have five NCAA titles and numerous All-America finishes between them. Well, at least not yet. We’re talking, of course, about freshmen Chris Perry and Blake Rosholt, who both scored huge wins for the Cowboys. Perry knocked off Erich Schimdtke 6-1 and Rosholt edged No. 7-ranked Vegas champ Nathan Fernandez, 4-3, with a late reversal. These two have some real big shoes to fill, but it looks as if they are getting comfortable in their new boots and are ready to become real factors on the national scene, not just familiar names with tons of potential. (In-depth Coverage)
Top 10 Teams in DI Wrestling
2. Penn State
3. Oklahoma State
7. Boise State
A complete listing of individual and team rankings can be found on The Open Mat website.
Grappling & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
by Bryan Henderson
It was a slow week for grappling competition, following last week’s Grapplers Quest World Series of Grappling event.
Most grapplers are already gearing up for 2011. There are several important dates to mark on the calendar for early next year. Among them, the IBJJF will hold the European Open from Jan. 27 through Jan. 30 in Lisbon, Portugal and the Abu Dhabi World Pro tryouts will go down in Las Vegas on Jan. 29.
The World Pros will be held simultaneously with the World Pro Kids, Masters and Seniors tournaments and the No-Gi World Pro.
Also, the 2011 Florida State Grappling and Jiu-Jitsu Championships will take place in Coral Gables, Fla., on Feb. 5. The tournament might not be as high profile as the others, but it does offer a $1,000 prize in the Absolute division.