European Throwdown: News and Notes from Iberia to Siberia
European Throwdown returns with a review of recent action in
Lithuania, Poland and Russia. We also look ahead to the ADCC
European Trials in Finland, the New Generation Tournament II in
Italy and the "White-Hot Weekend" in Germany.
To finish this edition of Sherdog.com's in-depth look on the
European fight scene, the letter of a worried reader is
(Pictures), Shooto and K-1 HERO'S
veteran by trade and fighter of many memorable battles with
champions like Masakazu
Imanari (Pictures) and Rumina Sato (Pictures), recently had a bout scheduled in
the 6,000 souls town of Pakruojis. And just like when the Patriots
play in Miami, he failed to deliver the goods.
His opponent that night was unheralded Polish fighter Mariusz Radziszewski, who
had a 0-2 record coming into the fight. Despite already competing
in front of more people than Pakruojis has residents, Petraitis did
not find a way to finish the BJJ fighter from Bytom and the judges
declared it a draw.
Petraitis can heave a sigh of relief as he still has his WFCA
featherweight title, which is the equivalent of the European
In the first edition of "European Throwdown" I was happy to
announce that Polish knockout artist Tomasz Drwal had successfully
recovered from nagging injury problems that kept him on the shelf
for all of 2006.
Unfortunately the 24-year-old slugger suffered another setback when
he re-injured his shoulder while training for a Feb. 25 Polish
title fight against Chechnyan grappler Mamed Khalidov. In Drwal's
absence, Khalidov, a teammate of PRIDE veteran Murad Chunkaiev (Pictures), had little trouble with
short-notice replacement Tor
It took Khalidov less then four minutes and he had the Swedish EVT
veteran tapping from a triangle choke. With the Chechnyan fighter
improving to 11-3 and Drwal at an even better 12-1, the fight
between two of Europe's best light heavyweights is bound to happen
at an even bigger stage.
PRIDE veteran Roman "The Russian Hammer" Zentsov successfully made
his way onto the second bodogFIGHT pay-per-view called "Clash of
the Nations," which takes place on April 14 at the Ice Palace in
St. Petersburg, Russia.
On the third episode of the second season of bodogFIGHT's weekly
qualification show, he took out French Canadian kickboxer Kristof Midoux (Pictures) by knockout near the end of the
The fight was even in the first round but then Zentsov, a teammate
of PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko
(Pictures), moved it up a notch and
started peppering the "Hurricane" with right hooks, high kicks and
a left haymaker for the big knockout at 4:12 of the second
At the pay-per-view he will now face undefeated American Kickboxing
Academy fighter Cain
Velasquez (Pictures), who dispatched his opponent
even quicker at 4:00 of the first round.
At the halftime break of Shooto's Feb. 17 "Back to our Roots" card,
it was announced that Swiss-based Brazilian Top Team member
Augusto Frota Guimaraes
would take on Shooto legend Rumina Sato (Pictures) in the co-main event on March
One stipulation in Brazilian's contract allowed for Guimaraes' top
pupil, Italian submission specialist Ivan Mussardo, to travel with him
and to fight on the second "Back to our Roots" event. Shooto
confirmed this by putting him up against Yoshitaro Niimi (Pictures), who trains with top
Tamura (Pictures) at Tsudanuma Dojo.
Mussardo, nicknamed "The Terrible" following the example of Russian
czar Ivan IV, made a name for himself on the short-lived German TUF
clone Martial Arts X-treme, where he smashed amateur
fighters David Adam, Sebastian Baron and Amir Lekay
to book himself into the final against Daniel Weichel before the
promotion went out of business.
At 2-2-1 Niimi is not a world-beater by any means, however he is
arguably Mussardo's stiffest test since being knocked out by Nova
Uniao Italia leader Fabricio Nascimento last
Jon Olav Einemo
(Pictures), winner of the ADCC light
heavyweight division in 2003 has already booked his ticket for this
year's ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship, which takes
place May 4-6 in Trenton, New Jersey.
Ninety male and 18 female competitors want to follow Einemo's
example on March 24 at the ADCC European Trials, the final chance
for Europe's top grapplers to qualify for the "grand finale."
Among the most popular participants is the MMA experienced trio of
Per Eklund (Pictures), Jani Lax and Matias Awad from Sweden;
Polish Gracie-Barra fighter Michael Materla; English wrestler
Mustapha al Turk
(Pictures); and Dutch PRIDE veteran
After having to cancel his ADCC participation in 2005 due to his
commitments in the PRIDE Grand Prix (and that after having
dominated the European Trials), the lanky Overeem is certainly
fired up to make up for that missed chance.
That's the question everybody is asking. The organizers of the New
Generation Tournament II is already one step ahead as they try to
find out on March 25 in the Italian city of Milan.
Milan? Isn't that more famous for fashion and two of the greatest
football clubs in the world?
You are right, but not only since Roman boxer Alessio Sakara (Pictures) brutally punished Elvis Sinosic (Pictures) for three rounds at UFC 57, the
Italians are making a move on MMA as well.
To spice up the NGT2, the promoter was able to enlist the help of
two absolute MMA legends: On one hand UFC 2 veteran Remco "Grizzly"
Pardoel will send his pupils Jordy Peute and David Haagsma into combat. Even
further up the card will be the top student of none other than
Shooto, UFC and PRIDE veteran Enson Inoue.
In the main event, Pat Ayuyu
will square off against English fighter Andy Miles.
Here is the complete lineup:
Luca Zottarelli vs. Ahmed Chaidi
Alessandro Carapezzi vs. Hlias Datiras
Massimo Testa vs. Tom "Houdini" Osting
Cristian Binda vs.
Francesco Ligato vs.
Imad Barakat vs. Carlo
David Haagsma vs.
Paul Jenkins (Pictures) vs. Alikhan Iskhabov
Pat "Gori-Chan" Ayuyu vs. Andy
There's something attractive about the last weekend in April German
promoters can't really explain. After going through a complete
drought for the first quarter of the year, no less than three
events have been booked for the weekend of April 28 and 29.
As readers of this column will already know, that is the weekend
with the big FFC heavyweight tournament in Leipzig. In addition to
the "big bad boyz," promoter Marko Zschörner has also signed
Brazilian trio Marcelo
Costa, Jaoa Wilson and Igor Araujo to take on opponents
from Eastern Europe and Germany.
Already on the 28th, Klaus Waschkewitz, the former mentor of German
K-1 star Stefan Leko
(Pictures) and organizer of some of
the biggest kickboxing events in the country, has announced that he
will hold a four-man middleweight tournament at the Energy Dome in
The arena, which is the home of Cologne's basketball team, has a
capacity of 3,132 people and is certain to be sold-out. The four
participants will be Franconian grappler Andre Walberer; local hero
Farbod Fadami; Dutchman
Candied van de Ven, a student of PRIDE veteran "Dirty Bob"
Schrijber; and arguably the pre-fight favorite to win the title,
kickboxer Nordin Asrih
from the Masters Gym in Duisburg.
If that wasn't enough to split the nation into two again, one of
Germany's most popular MMA exports, Mario Stapel, is starting his own
show on the 29th of April as well. As the FFC event has already
booked most of the country's talented heavyweights, Stapel has
naturally focused on the lighter fighters. Unselfishly, he has
booked himself in the main event against Danish knockout artist
Sonny Nielsen. Arguably
the best fight on the card is the battle between Sebastian Baron and Andre Balschmieter. Both
fighters like to bang and this one has knockout written all over
it. Also announced has been another German-Danish duel between
Daniel Weichel and
Being half Norwegian and spending a little bit of time there
myself, fighters from the country of Norway interest me. Speaking
with family over there (I currently live in Ohio), it seems as
though MMA type events or fighters are thought of as barbaric and
violent. Which should be no surprise if you know how wimpy and
politically correct the home of the Vikings has become. Before I
get off track, how do you feel about the future of Norwegian or
Scandinavian fighters/MMA? Obviously, Joachim Hansen (Pictures) is the most well known "Viking,"
but there are also guys like Jon Olav Einemo (Pictures) and Jakob Lovstad. I just see MMA
having a hard time growing in an area so against any type of
violence as Norway and Sweden, etc. Do you think over time it can
be accepted? – Andrew Holdren
The conservative stance a lot of governments in Europe — not only
in some parts of Scandinavia, but also in Germany, France and Spain
— obviously hurts the growth of MMA. This can be partly explained
by the aftermath of World War II. In the half-century after the
war, a strong dislike and rejection of any kind of violence has set
in. The other reason, in my opinion, is, that large parts of Europe
are also very traditionalistic. As a result, traditional combat
sports like boxing, judo or karate are commonly accepted, while
kickboxing and Muay Thai, which have been around for a while, are
at least tolerated.
MMA has it more difficult to break into mainstream (or at least
become legalized in the first place), because it's on the one hand
a relatively new sport and on the other hand because of the way it
is being marketed over here ("the most brutal martial art"; "blood
sport"; attractive to thugs and hooligans). Until promoters start
focusing on the sport side of MMA and get rid of all distractive
elements, our favorite sport will always have a tough time over
The future of Scandinavian fighters on the other hand looks very
bright. As you have correctly pointed out, the "Hellboy" has only
been the vanguard of the Viking's advance into the biggest MMA
leagues of the world. Despite losing his PRIDE debut to Mitshuhiro
Ishida at Bushido 13, David Bielkheden (Pictures) has already been booked for the
first round of the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix on May 20 (should
there still be something like PRIDE then), while Martin Kampmann (Pictures) continues to shuffle up the UFC
middleweight division. Only one step below are fighters like
Mikko Rupponen from
Finland or Per Eklund
(Pictures) from Sweden, who are
perhaps one decisive victory away from making it to the "big
Being forced to fight in countries like England, USA or Japan and
facing much tougher competition there has greatly helped a lot of
Scandinavian fighters improve their game.
For more mixed martial arts news coverage in German language log
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