The Fight Nerd

June 3, 2013

Knockout Athletics NextGen Shin Guard Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Tags: , , , — Peter Lampasona @ 11:19 AM

shinpadsKOat

The NextGen series MMA shin guard is one of the newer lines of shin pads from Knockout Athletics. NextGen combines some common design elements from other shin guards with great results in overall functionality. The only thing separating the NextGen from perfect review marks is some awkward sizing in the foot region and a higher than average price point. While this may seem like nitpicking, “fit” and “price” are two of the most important attributes of a shin pad that would have otherwise been perfect.

 

Fit and comfort come into play in every aspect of shin guard use. The NextGen combines the neopreane slip on backing with conventional Velcro straps to sidestep most of the problems of both. Unlike most neopreane-backed shin pads, the NextGen does not slip down or turn to the side when sparring or drilling at high intensity. The straps negate the slipping caused by other neopreane models while the cloth backing prevents the straps from digging into the calf muscle when tightened. This kind of security is all most people in training want out of a shin guard.

 

The problem, as mentioned, is that the foot is unusually small. The foot is secured by a single elastic strap sewn in to the padding and the neopreane back fits down to the ankle. This combination makes the foot strap not only nonadjustable but nonnegotiable. My first few days using the NextGen were physically painful around the instep and caused some cramping. Eventually they just became uncomfortable as I broke the pads in.

 

A note on the reviewer: I am exceptionally tall and skinny with a 13 double wide foot. The XL size may have fit my foot better than the L I was using, but would had been far too wide to fit securely around my leg. Some consumers may experience less discomfort in the foot area than I did, given my unusual sizing. But, the foot pad is still smaller than on the average shin guard.

 

Fortunately, the foot size is the only major functional criticism of an otherwise fantastic product. The multilayer foam inside the pad performed as well as any I’ve seen. After a series of stress tests involving deliberately kicking into elbows and checks on multiple partners for hundreds of repetitions, my legs were barely scathed.

 

With most new shin pads, I can barely finish that kind of test. Kicking hard into an elbow or a precisely timed knee on a check will still get a feeling of impact through the pad. But those will get through anything softer than rebar. Compared to other, comparable shin guards, the NextGen meets and exceeds all reasonable expectations for protecting the leg.

 

One of the strengths of other shin guards with a neopreane backing that the NextGen lacks is an ease of taking off and putting back on. To its credit, the NextGen is more or less glued to where you put it on for the training session. This is sometimes a double-edged sword. It’s not exactly the Iron Man suit, but taking off and putting on the NextGen guards will take longer than putting on or taking off a pair of sneakers. Overall, this is a minor issue in the fitting, but still something to consider.

 

What is not a minor issue for these pads is the $87.99 price point. The NextGen isn’t the most expensive brand on the market. And the pad certainly provides more bang for the buck than the insanely overpriced Hayabusa and UFC shin guards. However, savvy customers will note that there are similar pads running between $10-$20 cheaper.

 

The protection on the NextGen is still superlative and I would recommend sinking the extra money in for someone training 10 hours a week or more with a lot of kicking. But, because mileage may vary on the foot fitting and how necessary the padding is, more casual players may want to look at a cheaper brand.

You can order a pair of these shinpads directly from Knockout Athletics at this link here.
 

February 26, 2013

MMA Judging and Referee Seminars Illustrate Lack of New York MMA Infrastructure

Filed under: Features,Lead Story — Peter Lampasona @ 2:38 PM

When it comes to MMA, Rob Hinds knows his stuff. In fact, in a room filled with long-time adherents to the sport, including staple UFC official “Big” Dan Miragliotta, there was no doubt that Hinds was the one doing the teaching. With an engaging energy and a succinct answer to every question, Hinds commanded the attention of the gym that was hosting the ABC approved MMA officiating seminars that he was leading.

I had both trained with and conducted interviews with fighters at Tiger Martial Arts in Levittown, New York before I came to the start of the seminars the morning of March 16. I even counted some of the staff as friends, even though as a sports writer I’m not necessarily supposed to. But, in a familiar building to discuss a sport I believed myself to be an expert, I had plenty of new experiences. There were reporters, veteran coaches and fighters such as local fighting pride and UFC lightweight Al Iaquinta. And all of them learned at least some nuance of judging or officiating that they had never seen before that day.

Hinds kept the class light and interactive, but there was still a certain gravity to the room. The retired fighter from the NHB days and long-time referee made it clear that his goal for leading these seminars was to make sure fighters were treated as safely as a combat sport will allow and as fairly as an inherently subjective judging system will allow. In the referee seminar, we were there to learn how to protect the athletes’ bodies from unnecessary damage. In the judging seminar, we were there to learn how to protect the athletes’ careers from a bad decision.

A major focus of both the referee and judging seminars was getting the people in them to work as officials as quickly as possible. When the conversation first turned to the details of starting as an MMA official, Miragliotta inadvertently added to the gravity of the event with more than just his towering frame.

“You guys don’t realize that you have a huge leg-up when [MMA] comes to New York,” Miragliotta told the crowd. “The big shows want local guys [to judge/ref].”

A few off-hand sentences from Big Dan touched on volumes of both what was happening in New York and what was desperately needed in New York regarding the sport of mixed martial arts. Recently, a loophole in the 15 year ban The Empire State placed on MMA has allowed some sanctioned amateur events to occur on her soil. Using third-party sanctioning bodies, such as the USMTA and FILA, amateur MMA events have sprung up across the state since May.

The plot thickened two weeks ago in Zuffa Entertainment et. al.’s lawsuit against the New York State Attorney General. While arguing a motion to dismiss, counsel for the Attorney General admitted that the same loophole that allowed amateur MMA events in New York could also sanction a UFC event. The argument prompted the UFC to say that it was open to this option if the State government continued to turn its nose up at the sport. In light of Miragliotta’s statement to the class about big shows wanting local officials, the court revelation could lead to two scenarios that are both potentially bad.

The first scenario is that New York provides State-level sanctioning for MMA in 2013 and the State Athletic Commission seeks out local officials to run events. There is prevailing speculation in the New York MMA scene that sanctioning will happen rather than lawmakers being embarrassed by regular third-party sanctioning of a sport that is supposed to be banned. The second scenario is that third-party bodies begin to sanction major events in New York and use their usual stable of staff to run events. Both leave openings for huge officiating issues.

I’ve already observed that officiating is a problem in New York without MMA-specific training. But I never realized how big an issue this was before taking a course with Hinds. Even amongst the most knowledgeable people in attendance, there were details about both refereeing and judging that were brand new pieces of information. Seeing the gaps in knowledge from people I would have thought perfectly qualified to officiate without additional training made me realize something: I may have personally met, on March 16, everyone in New York who actually has all of the information the ABC asks of an official before they preside over an MMA event. Considering the number of professional promotions that want to come to New York, from the regional level to the UFC, it wasn’t that big of a room.

Should third-party sanctioning bodies become the go-to in New York, they will naturally prefer to use local officials that they are familiar with. And, if a body is sanctioning MMA for the first time in New York then, by definition, the local officials the body is familiar with will not have MMA experience.

Either way, Big Dan’s good news for New York’s potential officials forces New Yorkers to face one piece of bad news: the state lacks the infrastructure necessary to smoothly run a large number of MMA events. Judges, referees, inspectors and all the unsung heroes provided by the sanctioning body rather than the event promoters can make or break an MMA card and any number of the fighters competing on it.

And while New York boasts some of the finest fighters and coaches in the world, few of us have gotten specific instruction on how to officiate MMA. A fighter currently in the UFC was sitting in the front row of the judging seminar and a little mystified at some of the standards by which his own fights have been judged.

The empty promise that MMA is coming to New York soon has now become a palpable reality. And the time to build the necessary infrastructure to properly officiate events is now: before the state can become the site of a future officiating disaster. I would urge any New Yorker interested in officiating to contact the Association of Boxing Commissions regarding any approved officiating seminars. The one I attended led by Hinds, Combat Consulting, is currently the big one and the only one I can personally vouch for the quality of, but there are others around. Also, nearby Athletic Commissions such as the NJSACB allow interested persons to shadow their more experienced officials for hands-on training.

The battle to get MMA in to New York was hard fought and not quite over. Now is the time for New Yorkers to make sure we deserve the victory.

February 12, 2013

IOC Drops Wrestling from 2020 Olympic Games

Filed under: News — Peter Lampasona @ 12:46 PM

In a surprise move by the executive board of the International Olympic Committee, today, Wrestling has been dropped from the Olympics starting in 2020. The decision came as a shock to those outside of the 15-member committee vote, as long time rumors made it seem that the Modern Pentathalon was the event most likely to get dropped, with Tae Kwon Do also in danger.

According to a story first broken by the Associated Press, the executive board went through several rounds of anonymous voting before coming to the decision. The vote was held based on an IOC program commission report that analyzed 39 criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy, global participation and popularity. No official rankings of the remaining Olympic sports regarding the above criteria were released.

The Modern Pentathalon, along with Tae Kwon Do and Field Hockey, joined Wrestling on the potential chopping block in the final round of voting. But ultimately it was the oldest sport of both the modern and ancient Olympiad that was dropped.

“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said to the Associated Press. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”

No longer part of the Olympics, Wrestling will go back with many other IOC affiliated sports whose international governing body can reapply for a sport in the Olympics. Should Wrestling’s international governing body, FILA, reapply for the 2020 spot, it will be competing with Baseball and Softball, Karate, Squash, Roller Sports, Sport Climbing, Wakeboarding and Wushu for one available slot. It is considered highly unlikely that Wrestling could make it back in to the Olympics so soon after being dropped.

Speculation has been abound as to how Wrestling will be effected now that its highest competitive level has been removed. As of press time, no member of FILA has made an official statement regarding its loss of Olympic status.

Based in a cornerstone event of the Ancient Greek Olympiad, Wrestling has been part of the modern Olympiad since its inaugural event 1896.

January 6, 2013

Five Things I Learned From Invicta FC 4

Filed under: Features — Peter Lampasona @ 4:00 PM

Photo:Esther Linn/Invicta FC

Last night, premiere all-women’s MMA promotion Invicta FC held its fourth iteration at Kansas City’s Memorial Hall. The event marked Invicta’s first venture into the iPPV market, followed immediately by venturing back into free internet broadcast due to technical issues. Between the threat of having to pay for Invicta’s product, the first Invicta main event requiring a last-minute change, and the general loss of Invicta’s new-promotion smell, Invicta FC 4 was an event expected to answer a lot of questions about the women’s divisions of MMA. And, since the contributors at Bleacher Report aren’t the only ones who do everything in list form, below are the top five things to take away from Invicta FC 4:

Invicta Now Knows What it’s like to Market a GSP fight: The main event of Invicta FC 4 placed former All-American wrestler Carla Esparza against last-minute replacement and Aussie newcomer to the US promotion Bec Hyatt. While Hyatt has fought nowhere near the kind of competition quality that Esparza has and is known for fighting tall and punching forward aggressively, which is stylistic suicide against someone looking for a double leg, Hyatt’s fan-winning personality and back story made her the most attractive opponent to save the main event.

As basically anyone could have predicted, Esparza dominated by scoring takedowns whenever she wanted. However, a combination of Esparza’s conservative ground game and Hyatt’s great heart for the fight allowed the Australian to hang in there and do serious damage to Esparza for the few seconds they were on their feet. This led the audience to acknowledge that Esparza put on by far the superior show while secretly hoping that Hyatt could score the Hail Mary knockout, as the potential for a Aussie comeback was the element that made the fight exciting.

These events perfectly mimic every fight that UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre has put on against a fan-loved challenger. Expect hard core MMA fans to yell about how Esparza is ruining Invicta, citing that they watch the women’s fights because the ladies aren’t afraid to scrap and that conservative game plans don’t move the needle. Esparza, known for being a scrappy finisher who herself has taken on opponents even though she was over-matched, will become the first woman to learn that MMA fans think you’re only as good as your last fight. WMMA will take it’s next step forward into the main stream by having athletes people hate for no good reason.

Bas Rutten Loves Music and Possibly Alcohol, and Sometimes That’s Just What the Comment Box Needs: Former UFC heavyweight champion and general MMA legend Bas Rutten joined the Invicta FC commentating team for the first time at last night’s event. Rutten opened by quoting Dutch rock band Golden Earring and would frequently just start singing along to whatever music was played by the DJ between rounds. For some reason this worked beautifully.

Fellow Invicta commentator and recent addition to the Bellator stable King Mo Lawal has proven on many occasions that he has a fantastic eye for details in the fights he’s watching. But Lawal’s commentating delivery is simply too sparse and not animated enough to carry the production. Rutten’s full-on silliness at times and high energy all the time played the perfect foil to his fellow commentators and proved to be one of the highlights of the evening.

From his speech patterns, God bless him, Bas may have had a few to drink during the show. Or maybe it was just Bas being Bas. Either way, it worked.

Invicta Needs Competent IT Solutions Planned Well Ahead of Time: Perhaps the most memorable thing about Invicta FC 4 was that the internet Pay Per View system didn’t work forcing Invicta to issue full refunds to all buyers and make the stream free half-way through. This turn of events not only resulted in no iPPV profits and pushing away potential viewers who would have watched if the stream started out free, it also actively discouraged anyone from buying an iPPV of Invicta if the promotion ever finds a way handle the logistics of such a venture.

For the promotion’s overall growth, this technical SNAFU was an unmitigated disaster. Invicta is going to have to do a lot to bring confidence back to its viewer base before attempting anything other than a free stream.

Hiroko Yamanaka Was Never All She Was Made Out to Be- In the only fight of the evening that could safely be called a disappointment, Japanese star Hiroko Yamanaka got smashed for one round by Ediane Gomes, before Gomes completely gassed. Gomes, making a common error that comes to even the best fighter who loses composure, had nothing left but to valiantly struggle to the end. Luckily for the Brazilian, that end did not come as Yamanaka’s spindly arms are apparently only good for crushing cans in JEWELS.

Yamanaka proved far too timid to take advantage of her opponent’s gaff and ended up dropping the decision. In spite of Yamanaka’s almost comical reach advantage and Gomes’ inability to close after spending her tank too quickly, Cat’s Eye cautiously refused to put anything behind her punches to take advantage of the situation.

While the commentating team claimed that Yamanaka was too respectful of the takedown, her awkward punches and kicks were exactly par for the course for anyone who has followed Yamanaka’s career. While clearly tough and skilled at surviving a submission assault, Yamanaka has never been a serious striking threat. Her comparison with other, better Japanese talent has been a result of some convenient matchmaking and Yamanaka’s career in the West should be proof of that.

She’s no Mega Megu is what I’m saying.

Even One of the Weaker Invicta Cards is Still Pretty Great: When compared to Invicta FC 3, one of the better cards ever for all eternity ever, last night’s iteration didn’t have quite the same flare. However, it was still a pretty damn solid card. The majority of bouts featured great performances with Shayna Baszler and Alexis Davis being the standouts among the standouts. There was heart. There was action. There were comebacks and narrow escapes. The only time I stopped watching the action in order to talk about how Looper was actually a pretty good movie was when Yamanaka was in the cage.

Ultimately, Invicta can still deliver everything a fan can ask for, thanks largely to a combination of the efforts of Invicta CEO Shannon Knapp and the deplorable pay expectations female athletes have.

The only reason why its logistically feasible to get the sheer amount of exciting matchmaking available in every Invicta card is because female athletes in MMA are tougher, hungrier and much, much cheaper than their similarly-ranked male counterparts. In the future, should Invicta FC’s mission statement of developing the women’s divisions to the point that they are on equal footing with the men’s be realized, cards as good as last night’s may very well be impossible. The women will start caring about their well-deserved sponsorship money and sensible matchmaking. They will train full-time and incur as many injuries as the men: screwing up many well-marketed main events at the last minute.

But, until that day comes, rock on Invicta. All the promotion’s cards have ranged from great to awesome and technical problems have left its head bloody but unbowed. I am very much looking forward to Invicta FC 5 and will be the first one to pay $7.95 if the iPPV system ever actually ends up working.

December 19, 2012

DVD Review: Forced to Fight

Filed under: Movie Reviews — Peter Lampasona @ 1:00 PM

forced to fighForced to Fight is a Romanian martial arts movie starring Gary Daniels and Peter Weller with a suspiciously similar plot, action style and subtitle to Bloodfist 3. It’s about as good as you’d expect from that introduction. The B-movie appeal of Forced to Fight shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Daniels is one of the unsung heroes of the 1980’s American karate B-movie renaissance and Weller is the aging star of Robocop. Anyone who looks at the cover of Forced to Fight and expects a Merchant-Ivory period drama has only himself to blame.

The plot of Forced to Fight is one that’s very canned in the genre. The movie opens with Daniels’ brother, played by Arkie Reece of Hollyoaks and being generically handsome fame, refusing to take a dive in an underground fight and tries to flee from the dirty fight promoter, played by Weller, with money he bet on himself. He’s caught by Weller’s men and beaten nearly to death. Reece seeks shelter with Daniels, a retired fighter with a wife and child. Weller finds Daniels and threatens his family unless he can pay back the money Reece owes. Daniels then has to come out of retirement in order to fight for Weller and square his brother’s debts.

The plot is derivative, but this film genre has always been a flimsy excuse for kicking and punching to take place. The problem is that the film doesn’t deliver enough on the things that make it entertaining.

Forced to Fight is a movie that vacillates between boring nonsense and B-movie hilarity with enough velocity to give the audience whiplash. It’s unfortunate that Forced to Fight loses its momentum so often, because there are some truly great B-movie moments that it simply can’t keep up.

The large swathes of dull in the film are basically every scene where Daniels talks to his wife or child. The family scenes that are supposed to be the heart of the movie are so devoid of substance that the son’s science project that’s never actually seen is a major secondary plot point.

Daniels has always been a little bit of a wooden actor, but compared to the performance his family turns in the old kickboxer is Al Paccino. The combined bland performances in Forced to Fight during the core drama scenes create a feeling that no one involved cares about what’s going on. This effect is hilarious for a few minutes but it quickly becomes boring.

The fight scenes are made in the exact same style that Daniels was doing in the 80’s when he got his start starring alongside Don Wilson. Each man takes turns slowly throwing strikes at his opponent who apparently has never heard of defense. It’s something of a lazy method done to easily film fight scenes in confined spaces, and you can really feel how confined these spaces are. The cinematographer valiantly uses every trick in the book to cover exactly how small the stage they are shooting in is. But, unfortunately it is to no avail.

One minor but catching bit of amusement was the sheer lack of extras in Forced to Fight. Daniels’ opponents and training partners are clearly the same four guys being recycled, even though more than one character specifically mentions that Weller’s fighters are never put against each other.

The real saving grace of Forced to Fight is Peter Weller. The experienced B-movie aficionado will probably notice that, in many of these films, the villain is played by a more veteran actor than the rest of the cast recruited either for their physique or willingness to work for scale. Where everyone else is just sort of reading lines, said villain actor actually knows how to act but also knows that he’s doing schlock and has fun with it.. Weller’s character, Danny G, may very well be the most righteous example of the fun, over the top villain of any movie in the genre.

The performance that Weller puts in lies somewhere between Edward G. Robinson and a drunk Peter Weller. (God bless him, I don’t think the glass of Scotch Danny G carried around the whole movie was a prop.) Weller is simply fantastic and every scene with him in it is delightfully camp. His performance gets bonus points for the incredibly dignified explanation Weller gives for his insane portrayal in the DVD extra features. It’s solid gold.

In the end, Forced to Fight pulls in a resounding “meh.” It’s kind of a neat throwback, but is so derivative of the old that it doesn’t feel like any kind of clever homage. Weller makes it worth the price of admission, but the audience quickly starts to regret every scene he’s not in.

December 7, 2012

Training in Thailand DVD Review

Filed under: Product Reviews — Peter Lampasona @ 3:00 PM

Training in Thailand is an instructional DVD on Muay Thai outside striking released by Victory Belt Publishing. In the DVD, former Lumpinee and Rajadamnoern champion Peteak Sitjaopor demonstrates what amounts to a conventional Thai curriculum on basic outside striking techniques with a few interesting variations. While the techniques showcased by Sitjaopor are ones the vast majority of Muay Thai coaches would agree on as staples, the way Training in Thailand teaches the audience has some serious delivery problems.

The chapters of the DVD are broken down in a very simple and understandable way: one chapter for punches, one chapter for kicks, one chapter for knees and so on, with each individual technique given its own sub chapter. Sitjaopor will demonstrate each technique on a pad or heavybag multiple times while a voice-over discusses what is being demonstrated. Then a solo drill is shown for practicing the technique and the DVD moves on to the next move.

The first thing that is palpably absent from this basic instructional is that almost no combinations are shown for how to string together one technique with a previous one. Each move is taught more or less in a vacuum. Since Training in Thailand is also physically structured around techniques as islands on each DVD chapter, the isolated teaching method is functionally fitting. However, it illustrates a much larger problem Training in Thailand has with the audience relationship.

The DVD instructs primarily in how to execute basics, but the teaching method is only good for people who already know these basics. The repeated demonstrations from multiple camera angles show every aspect of a given technique, if you know what to look for. The voice-over explaining the technique will stress some details while completely ignoring others, the most glaring of which being that foot position in relation to the target is almost never mentioned. Meaning if you don’t already know the details of the technique, it’s easy to miss them while watching Sitjaopor demonstrate. And, if you do already know the details, there’s very little of value in the DVD. (more…)

December 4, 2012

Bellator in AC Interviews: Zach Makovsky

Filed under: News — Tags: , — Peter Lampasona @ 1:07 PM

[youtube id=yiDHApEmGqY width="600" height="350"]

This Friday, tournament-style MMA promotion Bellator FC will hold the second to last event of its seventh season in historic Caesar’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The event will feature the triumphant return of women’s title holder Zoila Gurgel to the televised card, the final of the featherweight tournament and the return of former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky.

To get geared up for the event, the fighters on the card have taken to the internet. In the above interview, Makovsky talks about losing the title, staying active and coming back to Atlantic City.

November 30, 2012

Bellator in AC Interviews: Kelvin Tiller

Filed under: News — Peter Lampasona @ 2:00 PM

[youtube id="mqjt6Vt7BYA" width="600" height="350"]

One week from today, tournament-style MMA promotion Bellator FC will hold the second to last event of its seventh season in historic Caesar’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The event will feature the triumphant return of women’s title holder Zoila Gurgel to the televised card as well the final of the featherweight tournament.

To get geared up for the event, the fighters on the card have taken to the internet. In the above interview, preliminary card and local fighter Kelvin Tiller introduces himself to the Bellator fans.

November 26, 2012

“Ring to Cage” Sale Continues on Cyber Monday

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter Lampasona @ 12:44 PM

http://www.ringtocage.com/media/Cyber-monday-2012.jpg

Friends of The Fight Nerd, Ring to Cage is continuing its sales season with Cyber Monday specials. With the attached coupon codes you can get 25% off the entire store plus a free pair of handwraps, free shipping for orders over $99 purchase. The offer ends November 28th, 11.59pm EST. Retails Only. Pick your choice of handwraps color by emailing info@ringtocage.com with your order number.

COUPON CODES: OFF25CM12 for 25% discount, FSSEP for free shipping with orders over $99 purchase. Check out Ring to Cage right now to save big!

October 25, 2012

Glory Revives DREAM for 2012 New Years Eve Show

Filed under: News — Peter Lampasona @ 3:31 PM

Last year’s NYE event poster

Reports of DREAM’s death appear to be highly exaggerated as it was announced today that the Japanese fight promotion’s name will be carried by Glory Sports International for a New Years Eve event at the Saitama Super Arena on December 31.

“We are very fond of the DREAM brand and the company’s world-class production team,” Pierre Andurand, chairman of Glory Sports International said in a prepared statement. “The GSI team is passionate about Japanese MMA and is intent on restoring it to prominence. The DREAM 18 event on New Year’s Eve is a first step towards this goal.”

New Year’s Eve shows at Saitama Arena have traditionally involved both MMA and kickboxing bouts and that will continue with this year’s event, entitled ‘GSI presents DREAM 18 – Special NYE 2012.’

At a press conference in Tokyo, today, Andurand explained that GSI is taking over and presenting the New Year’s Eve show rather than partnering with DREAM and thus the one-off event can essentially be considered part of the GSI portfolio via the company’s Japanese sub-division, Glory Sports KK.

New Years Eve shows have traditionally featured Japan’s biggest breakout stars such as Fedor Emelianenko, Gegard Mousasi, Shinya Aoki and Joachim Hansen. Japanese fighters currently confirmed for GSI’s take on the big show are DREAM featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya, the ‘Crusher’ Tatsuya Kawajiri and the lightweight contender Satoru Kitaoka.

The event will feature ten MMA fights and three kickboxing matches. GSI vice-president of business development Bas Boon told the Tokyo press conference that the tradition of having kickboxers fighting under MMA rules and MMA fighters competing under kickboxing rules would likely continue on this event, although participating fighters were not specified.

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