European Throwdown: Notes from Iberia to Siberia
This latest edition of "ET" is jam-packed with news and notes from
all across the continent! Read about Kharitonov's new destination,
Liaudin's preparation for UFC 75 and Europe's next dream fight.
European Throwdown is the one-stop fix for all your Euro fighting
Former PRIDE heavyweight challenger Sergei Kharitonov
(Pictures) has joined Dutch standout
team Golden Glory. The 27-year-old Russian will bring his
experience in Sambo to the Amsterdam-based squad that already
includes K-1 world champion Semmy Schilt (Pictures), fellow K-1 Grand Prix winners
Stefan Leko (Pictures) and Chalid Arrab (Pictures), as well as PRIDE veteran
(Pictures) and Shooto middleweight
Through Golden Glory's excellent connections with K-1 promoter FEG,
Kharitonov managed to land a deal that will see him compete both in
K-1 and HERO'S.
With an amateur boxing background, the former member of the Russian
Army's Ground Forces will provide a new challenge for K-1's aging
(super) heavyweight kickboxers Aerts (36), Feitosa (34), Bonjasky
(31), Le Banner (34), and Mighty Mo (33), plus bolster the HERO'S
heavyweight division that includes his new teammate Alistair Overeem (Pictures), Bob Sapp (Pictures) and Hong-Man Choi.
Charismatic Frenchman Jess
Liaudin (Pictures), who is squaring off against
Ultimate Fighter season two participant Anthony Torres on the undercard
of Saturday's light heavyweight title unification bout between
Dan Henderson (Pictures) and Quinton Jackson (Pictures), is taking the preparation for
his sophomore UFC fight very seriously.
Instead of preparing at Pancrase London as usual, the "Joker" has
headed out to California to train with Dan Henderson (Pictures) at his Team Quest branch in
Murrieta, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego.
A trip to Las Vegas to support Fernando Gonzalez
(Pictures), who was fighting at the
Aug. 5 WEC show and a short jaunt to Tijuana aside, the 33-year-old
all-rounder had little to laugh as Hendo, Rameau Thierry
Sokoudjou (Pictures), Jason Miller, Ryo Chonan (Pictures) & Co. put him through many
brutal cardio, grappling, boxing and sparring sessions.
Liaudin even denied himself another Vegas visit despite having
tickets for the Couture-Gonzaga fight to get in some extra training
The foursome of fighters from Swedish "Hilti NHB" team got off to a
good start at the tapings for bodogFIGHT season six last weekend.
Lightweight standout Per
Eklund (Pictures) and CageWarriors veteran Diego Gonzalez scored unanimous
decision victories over American Top Team fighter Rafael Dias (Pictures) and UFC-experienced Steve Berger (Pictures), while featherweight fighter
Sami Aziz kept his
undefeated record intact with a first-round knockout over Japanese
Shooto old hand Hiroyuki
Jakaczynski prevented a 4-0 sweep when he suffered a
first-round TKO defeat at the hands of busy up-and-comer Dan Hornbuckle.
An arguably even bigger impact on the Bodog middleweight division
arrived with new signing Gegard Mousasi (Pictures). The 22-year-old Armenian, who
fights out of Holland's Jurojin Gym, had little trouble with
American Kyacey Uscola
(Pictures), winning by TKO in the
With wins over high caliber opponents like Makoto Takimoto (Pictures), Hector Lombard (Pictures) and Gregory Bouchelaghem
(Pictures), PRIDE's "Golden Rookie of
the Year 2006" could very well be in for an instant title shot
against South African champion Trevor Prangley (Pictures).
Czech submission specialist Andre Reinders has won the
talent-studded "Best of Europe" middleweight tournament in
Magdeburg, Germany this past weekend. The fighter from the "Penta
Gym" in Prague needed just 22 seconds to defeat German Luta Livre
practitioner Nordin Asrih
via armbar in the opening round.
In the final of the four-man tournament he repeated his feat from
last year when he won a decision over PRIDE veteran Jean Francois Lenogue
(Pictures). The Frenchman had already
eliminated pre-tournament favorite Grzegorz Jakubowski in his
Also on the card was German K-1 MAX veteran Denis Schneidmiller who
won a decision victory over former German Muay Thai champion Denis
Olivka in a Thai-boxing fight.
Frenchman Cheick Kongo
(Pictures) is a much sought-after man
these days. Not only will the kickboxer from Paris step into the
octagon to face PRIDE Grand Prix winner Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic
on Sept. 8, the 32-year-old knockout artist faces yet another tough
challenge on the national front.
Highly promising French heavyweight Patrice Quarteron, who looks
like a cross-breed between Remy Bonjasky and the Incredible Hulk,
has challenged the UFC fighter after racking up his eighth
consecutive kickboxing win.
Kongo, who happened to be in the arena when the challenge was
pronounced, jumped into the ring and accepted with the words: "I'm
neither a bitch, nor a victim! The day you find a promoter to make
this fight happen, I'll smash your face in, OK?"
Way to go, Cheick!
In addition to the middleweight title eliminator between Izuru Takeuchi (Pictures) and Bryan Rafiq (Pictures), there will be another Japan vs.
France clash on Pancrase's Sept. 5 show.
Johnny Frachey, a
teammate of Rafiq, will take on featherweight King of Pancrase
(Pictures) in a non-title fight.
The 23-year-old grappler has done a lot of traveling throughout his
four-year career, accepting fights in places as diverse as England,
Hungary, the Czech Republic, South Africa, Brazil and Slovakia.
Now his trade has brought him to Japan where he will face the very
dangerous Maeda, who has scored knockouts in six of his past eight
Polish promotion KSW is becoming more and more of a hot insiders
tip due to its fantastic tournaments and excellent knowledge of the
Eastern European circuit.
The promoter's next show on Sept. 15, called "Eliminacje"
("Elimination"), they have booked a battle that is already making
European fight fans mouths water.
In one corner you have Chechnyan ace Mamed Khalidov, undefeated in
the past two years and currently riding a nine-fight win streak. In
the other corner there is "German Wunderkind" Martin "King Kong"
Zawada, who was one of the finalists of the last KSW tournament in
June. Despite his still young age of 23 years, Zawada has a wealth
of experience with 20 bouts (17 wins) under his belt.
The winner may very well book himself on a future UFC European
show, so this is definitely a confrontation to keep an eye on.
For more mixed martial arts news coverage in German language log
on to Ground & Pound at www.groundandpound.de!
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