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

Shoei Hareyama (photo courtesy of K-1/video still image)

Saturday, Nov. 20, saw K-1 host its Koshien 2010 King of Under 18 Final from Differ Ariake in Tokyo. The format of the tournament was changed for 2010, as the entire tourney was decided in a single event. In years past, the final four competitors participated at the end of year Dynamite event. The 32 competitors fought one two-minute round in the opening portion of the tournament, with the semifinals and finals consisting of three 2-minute rounds. In a bit of a surprise, 2009 Koshien Champion Masaaki Noiri was defeated in the second round of the tournament. With the favorite defeated, Shoei Hareyama claimed this year’s championship by knocking out Hiroki Akimoto in the second round of the final bout. Full results of the tournament:

Elite Boxing staged its Thailand v. Germany show over the weekend and Leroy Kaestner took out late replacement Cagri Ermis by decision to claim the WFCA European 72.5kg (160-pound) title. Thailand claimed the series fights by a score of 2-0 over Germany, as Kaoklai defeated Marco Aschenbrenner and Nonsai defeated Alex Vogel, both by decision.

Coming up on Thursday from Dubai will be Thailand v. Middle East. The card will feature Samranchai taking on Mostafa Abdollahi, as well as Vahid Rosyani facing Ahmed Saadi.

UFC veteran Jeff Monson was scheduled to face IKF Muay Thai super heavyweight champion Patrice Quarteron at the “Fight for Peace” on Reunion Island off of France. Unfortunately, Monson experienced family problems and was forced to pull out of the Muay Thai contest.

The 2010 S-Cup did not play out as expected. The likely tournament final of former two-time K-1 MAX Champion Buakaw Por. Pramuk and three-time S-Cup and two-time K-1 MAX Champion Andy Souwer did not happen, as Souwer was upset by Bellator’s Toby Imada.

Imada came in as a late replacement for Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett and, after upsetting Umeno by knockout in the tourney’s opening round, claimed a split-decision victory over Souwer in the semifinals.

Buakaw would capture the 2010 Shoot Boxing S-Cup by outclassing all three of his tournament opponents. Buakaw’s claimed decisions over Shishido and Henri van Opstal on his way to the finals. In the final, the Thai fighter would attack Imada’s legs, knocking him down five times in the first two rounds from leg kicks. Due to the three-knockdown rule, the bout was called in the second to award Buakaw the victory.

In other notable bouts, Dream fighter Daiki “DJ.taiki” Hata defeated Tomohiro Oikawa by knockout in the second round, while Strikeforce and Pride vet Mitsuhiro Ishida was knocked out by Hiroaki Suzuki in the second round of their bout.

Cosmo Alexandre, the “It’s Showtime” 77kg (170-pound) champion who was recently stripped of his title and removed from the promotion’s upcoming card, released a statement regarding the situation. Alexandre claims that he agreed to the King’s Cup tournament bout on Dec. 5, prior to the scheduled Dec. 18 bout from the promotion and that he was not aware of the scheduling stipulations claimed by “It’s Showtime.” He also blamed financial reasons for his decision to compete in both events, but without knowing the specifics of his contract, it’s unclear where the blame should lie.

Amateur Wrestling
by Staff, The Open Mat

Anthony Robles of Arizona State made a bang at the NWCA All Star match, dominating Zach Sanders in tech, falling the Gopher 20-2. Robles continues to impress and show he will be a match-up no 125-pounder will want in Philly this March. Also making a statement at the all-star match was oft-outspoken former Penn State standout Bubba Jenkins. The new Sun Devil came home with a major decision over top-ranked Adam Hall 12-4. (in-depth coverage)

Central Michigan’s Scott Sentes should be tested for Anaconda blood in his DNA. Sentes has been absolutely dominate so far this season. He rode Cornell’s Joe Stanzione for two days straight at the dual and the Body Bar. (in-depth coverage)

Dan Rinaldi (photo courtesy of Rutgers)

Dan Rinaldi of Rutgers turned some heads going to overtime with Quentin Wright of Penn State and No. 13 Mario Mason (Rutgers) had a very impressive win over West Virginia’s No. 8 Brandon Rader of West Virginia 6-1 and a controversial loss to No. 3 Frank Molinaro of Penn State, who is back after an injury. (in-depth coverage)

Penn State continued its hot start, knocking off another ranked opponent. Perhaps what’s most impressive are the starts of Andrew Alton and David Taylor. Both freshman seem to have no issues with wrestling on the Division 1 level, rolling through the Sprawl and Brawl.

As most of the wrestling community has heard, after a lack-luster win in the Central Michigan dual, Cornell’s Kyle Dake is overrated and will never hang with the likes of Frank Molinaro (Penn State) and Darrion Caldwell (North Carolina State). It is time to take a deep breath and breathe, people. Kyle Dake may or may not win a title this year, but I am sure when his ribs get healthy and he learns to manage the weight cutting for 149 pounds, he will be in the mix.

Top 10 Teams in DI Wrestling

1. Cornell
2. Penn State
3. Oklahoma State
4. Minnesota
5. Iowa
6. Wisconsin
7. Boise State
8. Oklahoma
9. Central Michigan
10. Illinois

A complete listing of individual and team rankings can be found on The Open Mat website.

Grappling & Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
by Bryan Henderson

Kron Gracie (white gi) vs. Karim Byron (photo courtesy of GracieMag/John Lamonica)

Braulio Estima, Shane Rice and brothers Guilherme and Rafael Mendes were among the winners at the Rickson Cup, held Nov. 20 in Japan. The absolute division crown went to Kron Gracie, son of the event’s namesake, with a win over Karim Byron in the finals.  Kron also captured first place in the middleweight division.

I’ve been talking about it for weeks, but the ADCC North American trials finally took place on Nov. 20 in New Jersey. Top honors went to Mario Rinaldi in the +99kg (plus-218-pound) division, Joseph Lee Baize at 88-99kg (194-218 pounds), Rustam Chsiev at 77-87kg (170-192 pounds), Vagner Rocha at 66-76kg (145.5-167.5) and Mark Ramos in the under-65kg (under-145-pound) division.

Chsiev has entered the year’s final major event, the 2010 World Series of Grappling, which goes down on Dec. 4 in Asbury Park, N.J..

Another big event this past weekend was the South American Jiu-Jitsu Open. Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes walked away with championships in both the lightweight and absolute divisions. In both campaigns, he had to go through Mario Reis of Gracie Barra to claim top honors. Other winners at the event included Bruno Frazatto at featherweight and Priscila Prandini in the brown/black belt female divisions at medium heavyweight and open weight.

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