Eight men. One tournament. Who leaves Zagreb the grand prix champion?
Better late than never.
Ostensibly dead in the water, K-1 has joined FEG partner DREAM in the land of the living once again, the finals of its 2012 Grand Prix almost upon us here in 2013. This afternoon (March 15, 2013), Zagreb, Croatia will host the long-delayed one-night eight-man tournament, which has some serious potential for fireworks.
MMAmania.com will have LIVE coverage of the online pay-per-view (PPV) event beginning promptly at 3 p.m. ET.
While much of kickboxing's top heavyweight talent has migrated to GLORY, that doesn't mean this event is filled with nobodies. Former Showtime heavyweight champion Hesdy Gerges will be in action, as will Romanian bruiser Catalin Morosanu.
The big stories, however, are former K-1 finalist and PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix champion Mirko Filipovic, looking for one last title for his trophy case, and beleaguered brawler Badr Hari, on probation as he awaits trial for attempted manslaughter.
Hari is a late replacement for Ben Edwards, who was forced out of the tournament by scheduling conflicts.
Quick results and play-by-play below.
K-1 WGP 2012 Bracket
K-1 GRAND PRIX PLAY-BY-PLAY
Reserve bout: Dzevad Poturak vs.Sergei Lascenko
Round one: Alright, let's get this started.
Lascenko looks a little tubby. Not a good sign. Low kicks early from Poturak. Whiffs on a head kick, avoids a counter hook from Lascenko. Slick punching combo from Poturak, capped off with a low kick. Again. Lascenko's punches falling short as he eats another low kick and another. Sergei finally closes the distance and lands a couple hooks; Dzevad takes them well. Lascenko now trying to time the low kicks with a counter straight, but he's just eating them at the moment. These aren't big, but they're piling up. Lascenko with one of his own. Thudding body kick from Lascenko after a blocked kick from Sergei. Similar sequence again. High kick from Dzevad is blocked and he just avoids a counter hook. Easy round for Poturak.
Round two: Body kick right off the bat from Lascenko, Poturak right back to working the legs. Sergei's trying to put punches together, but can't get through the guard so far. Not much action in the opening minute, although Sergei's getting close with counter hooks off the low kicks. Nice body kick. Big right hand from Poturak seemed to stun Sergei and he slams a right to the body and a left hook before backing off. Lascenko trips him up with a low kick. Counters from Poturak now as he connects with three big shots after Lascenko tried the low kick again. Sergei to the body, Dzevad responds in kind and misses high. Another 10-9 in the books for the smaller Dzevad.
Round three: Sergei a bit more aggressive, but he opens himself up to a solid flurry from Dzevad. Double left hook and a gut-wrenching one to the body from Poturak. Stiff jab as Sergei pursues and lands a body kick. Sergei is letting his hands go, but nothing landing clean so far. Hook spam from Poturak forces Sergei back, but not for long. He gets pressed into the corner and clinches. Double hook to the body from Dzevad as he slips a right. Clinch. Low kicks, body kick for Sergei, who's missing his punches by a mile. Poturak with a left hook and body kick. Another body hook. Sergei swinging at him to the end, but can't land the big one. Should be a clean sweep for Poturak.
Final result: Poturak def. Lascenko by unanimous decision
Quarterfinals: Catalin Morosanu vs. Pavel Zhuravlev
Round one: Morosanu is all over him from the start with wild hooks. Pavel lands a winging right, but absorbs a barrage from Morosanu, only the first of which lands clean. Pavel cracks Morosanu with a huge left hook during a flurry, but Catalin is not deterred. Zhuravlev doing well off his back foot so far. Leg kick exchange, knee to the body from Pavel. Pavel sweeps him down with a kick to the back leg. Awkward right hook connects for Catalin, but the majority of his blows are either hitting glove or air. Right from Zhuravlev. Morosanu gets him to the corner, but is instantly reversed for his trouble. Morosanu just avoids a standing knee at the bell. 10-9 Zhuravlev.
Round two: Morosanu trying to walk Pavel down. Both swing big before Pavel ties him up. Leg kick from Morosanu, who lands a counter right hook. Uppercut from Pavel. Wide left for Morosanu, who gets blasted with a right hook and a left that cuts him. Thudding body shot from Pavel after a wild exchange. Lead left hook by Zhuravlev. Both land left hooks in quick succession. Fight briefly stops to check Catalin's cut, which isn't in a bad spot. They continue. Zhuravlev continues landing his right hand as Morosanu rushes. Catalin bombing away against his guard. Clinch. BIG knee rattles Morosanu, but he's steady at the bell. Another 10-9 Zhuravlev.
Round three: Morosanu still doing his thing, but nothing connecting clean. Solid body shot, though. Uppercut connects for Zhuravlev as he continues slipping Morosanu's bombs. Thudding low kick from Morosanu. Zhuravlev smashes another hook into Catalin's cut; the man's chin is crazy. Morosanu finally lands a slapping right and charges after Pavel, who stays out of trouble behind a tight guard. Quick hook from Zhuravlev and another counter. Right uppercut. Knee just falls short. Big right at the bell for Pavel, who I have winning all three rounds.
Final result: Zhuravlev def. Morosanu by unanimous decision
Quarterfinals: Mirko Filipovic vs. Jarrell Miller
Round one: Both men pawing with their lead hands. Live kick from Cro Cop. Left straight as he circles away from the ropes. Clinch. Miller, surprisingly, trying some kicks; Mirko shows him what's what with an axe kick that causes him to slip. Cro Cop looking for a left straight as Miller approaches. Good left inside from Cro Cop, Miller uppercut as they tie up. Miller leads with a right., clinches, and eats a knee to the guts. Another clinch, possible clash of heads. LHK is blocked. Miller stumbles Cro Cop with a right; Mirko ties up and starts dirty boxing. Miller with a knee to the body. Great straight from the Croatian, clinch. Miller with a solid right and a knee to the body, but eats a liver kick at the bell. Close, but 10-9 Miller.
Round two: Miller moving forward aggressively, roughs him up in the clinch. Clinch, Miller driving some knees into the body. Miller backing Cro Cop up consistently now, landing another knee. Clinch. Not one leg kick from Cro Cop so far. They keep tying up and Miller keeps landing knees to the torso. Right head kick from Cro Cop is blocked. Another clinch, another set of knees from Miller. Mirko with a solid uppercut in the corner. Miller with some nice clinchwork yet again. Mirko bombs away at the end of the round, but that was Miller's through and through.
Round three: Clash of heads as the two simultaneously move to clinch. Miller's eyebrow swelling a bit, but they're back at it. Miller with a solid left hook and charging Cro Cop know. Miller with more big knees to the body. Miller walking forward with impunity at this point and battering the body. LHK whiffs. Mirko can't handle Miller's physical strength. Short uppercut from Cro Cop. Miller bullies him into the corner, but gets reversed. He ties Cro Cop up before Mirko can fire away. Clever left from Mirko and there's the bell. 10-9, fight for Miller.
Final result: Filipovic def. Miller by unanimous decision
Quarterfinals: Badr Hari vs. Zabit Samedov
Round one: Badr with a big low kick early. Samedov tries a spinning back kick to no avail. Samedov with a left hook. Damn, he looks tiny compared to Badr. Low kick trips up Samedov. Badr bullies him into the corner, but can't connect clear. BIG counter straight from Hari gets the first knockdown of the night. Samedov looks steady. Big body kick when they reset. HUGE dick kick from Hari prompts a brief rest period. Badr just walking him down; Samedov is landing well, but he's just not hurting him with anything he lands. Badr gets him to the corner and lands some huge shots. Samedov takes them well and wobbles Badr Hari at the end of the round with a left hand. I don't know what happened there; I think the ring bell is broken. 10-8 Hari.
Round two: Hari slips after getting leg kicked. Big flurry, no connections. Overhand right for Samedov; Hari tries to trip him down in the clinch to no avail. Badr avoids some wild bombs from Zabit. Clinch. Right to the body from Samedov, Hari answers with knees downstairs. Cracking right by Hari, but Samedov refuses to back down and catches Hari with some looping overhands. Hari with knees to the body, Samedov lands again. Sizzling right by Hari sounds evil but can't put Zabit down. Quick break to stop a nosebleed from Hari. Badr lands a knee on the reset. Good left from point-plank range from Samedov. Closer round, but I suppose 10-9 Hari for quality shots.
Round three: Hari chasing him down, they tie up against the ropes. Looping left fails to connect for Samedov. Clinch. Big body kick from the "Golden Boy." Superman punch from Samedov looked pretty, but fell short. Hari clubs him with a right hand that drops Samedov, but the ref calls it a slip. Cracking right form Samedov, clinch. Hari hurts Samedov with a right as Zabit flurries, but can't capitalize. HUGE right and knee from Hari prompt a standing eight count. Samedov invites Hari to come at him, bro in the last thirty seconds. Hari just circles away to end the fight as Samedov talks shit. Samedov is all but begging Badr to hit him, but Badr doesn't bit. 10-8 Hari.
Final result: Hari def. Samedov by unanimous decision
Quarterfinals: Hesdy Gerges vs. Ismael Londt
Round one: Londt on the attack early. Dozens of punches, flying knees, the works. Gerges working the legs as Londt flurries. Londt gets him to the corner and is throwing with reckless abandon, if not accuracy. Gerges patiently chopping away at the legs. Gerges again maintaining a solid kick output as Ismael trying to smother him with punches. Head kick mostly blocked from Londt. More brawling from "Mr. Pain," more low kicks and quick punches from Gerges. Another flying knee fails to connect. Bell finally works. Commentators call it for Londt, I call it for Gerges; most of Londt's bombs were blocked. 10-9 Gerges.
Round two: Gerges the much fresher man, upping his output as Londt slows down. Inside leg kick from Gerges strays low. Gerges doubles up with body kicks, but they're blocked. Clinch as Londt wades in. Gerges with an uppercut and body kick. Both men brawl savagely enough to knock one of the cameramen off the ring. Another missed flying knee from Londt as he continues wading in with punches. Right hands connect for Londt, Hesdy chopping the legs. Spinning back kick from Gerges fails to connect. Londt visibly slowing at this point. Short punches from both to end the round. 10-9 Gerges for efficiency.
Round three: Gerges punching combo, ended with a leg kick. Londt with a solid hook to the guts. Leg kick exchange, Londt sweeps Gerges down. Londt with a right through the guard, short uppercut and left hook connect. Knee to the body. Hesdy misses a flying knee. Knee just lands for Londt and it's busted up Hesdy's nose. The ref...stops the fight? What? For a broken nose?
Final result: Londt def. Gerges by TKO (broken nose)
Superfight: Samo Petje vs. Xie Chuang
Round one: Head kick from Petje blocked. Low kick from Petje and a stiff knee. Counter right by Chuang backs him off. Wide hooks from Chuang fail to connect. Leg kick exchange. Lead leg hook kick connects for Chuang. Petje stalking forward unsuccessfully so far. Petje slips on a low kick. Xie lands one of his own. Solid left hook at the end of a combo. Good side kick. Leg kick exchange. Good left and right hooks from Petje. Solid right and left from Chuang to end the round. 10-9 Chuang.
Round two: Side kick from Chuang. Right hands land on both sides. Sneaky straight from Chuang. Petje with a good shot to the body and a leg kick. Flying knee lands for Petje and initiates a crazy exchange. Body kicks from Petje and a glancing left hook. Petje still walking forward, neither landing clean. Chuang misses a spinning backfist. Samo lands a few against the ropes. Flying knee just misses for Petje and he lands some hard punches. Chuang comes back with a left. Bell, 10-9 Petje.
Round three: Leg kicks as they move across the ring. Axe kick misses from Chuang. Spinning hook kick from Chuang connects! Petje takes a standing count and is steady, but Chuang is on the attack. Two good hooks to the body from Xie and a spinning hook kick falls short. Clinch. Left hook to low kick for Chuang, Petje comes back with a glancing head kick. Petje suddenly rampages forward with flying knees and head kicks, a couple scoring. Low kick from Petje. Neither man wants to back down. Big knee from Petje and a few others to end the fight. 10-8 Chuang.
Final result: Chuang def. Petje by unanimous decision
Superfight: Emil Zoraj vs. Edmond Paltatzis
Round one: Edmond took this fight on less than a day's notice. Props.
Both men with wild swings early. Ugly spinning backfist misses for Edmond. Good right from Emil, but Edmond takes him off his feet with a big uppercut in the clinch for a knockdown. Zoraj back up and lands a glancing head kick. Clinch. Another. Low kick for Edmond. BIG straight right goes right through Emil's guard and puts him down a second time. Sloppy brawling when he regains his feet. Good low kick from Edmond. Another. Clinch after a missed head kick. Knee to the body for Zoraj at the bell. 10-7 Paltatzis.
Round two: Edmond keeping the pressure on his man. Ugly kicks and punches from both; Zoraj lands a counter left. Another wild backfist. Knee to the body from Zoraj drops Paltatzis and this fight is over! Great comeback.
Final result: Zoraj def, Paltatzis by KO (knee)
Semifinal 1: Pavel Zhuravlev vs. Mirko Filipovic
I missed the first two rounds because K-1's official stream, which I PAID FOR, is dead. I am on a bootleg stream. I''ll admit it. K-1 is a joke right now. Cro Cop did rock Zhuravlev badly in the last round, so he's got at least one on the bank.
Round three: Zhuravlev aggressively pursuing the Croatian legend. HARD body kick from Cro Cop. Cro Cop slips a left hook and clinches. Right hand connects from Pavel but Mirko takes it well. Right to the body from Pavel before he gets tied up. Knee to the body from Pavel after Mirko's is blocked. Clinch. Good body knee from Zhuravlev, Cro Cop responds with a punching combo and a blocked head kick. Clinch. Great final round, 10-9 Cro Cop.
Final result: Filipovic def. Zhuravlev by decision
Semifinal 2: Dzevad Poturak vs. Ismael Londt
Round one: Okay, now they found Poturak. Yippee.
Good kick exchange. Poturak slips on a body kick. Londt lands one of his own and a couple leg kicks. Londt slips on a high kick. Good body shot from Poturak. Clinch. Body kick from Londt. Leg kick. Good right from Poturak wobbles Londt, but Ismael comes back with a knee to the body and continues battering the legs. Good body kick to overhand right combo. Another body kick from Londt and a big jab. 10-9 Londt.
Round two: Londt aggressive with leg kicks and punches. Londt punishes the body with a knee and left hook. Big standing knee to the head and a flying knee. Poturak bombs away heedless, but eats another knee to the body. Poturak turns around after some continued beating and calls it quits. TKO for Londt
Final result: Londt def. Poturak by TKO (Retirement)
Superfight: Toni Milanovic vs. Jason Wilnis
Round one: Hari's broken his foot. They apparently can't find Poturak. This is ridiculous.
Milanovic with a good leg kick early and a powerful cross counter. Good work with leg kicks, solid body shot. Wilnis lands a right. Right, then a left body kick land flush for Milanovic and another leg kick. Another, Wilnis responds in kind and has a high kick blocked. Left uppercut and overhand right from Wilnis rattle Milanovic and another big right lands flush, but Milanovic is firing back. HUGE right hand from Winis is answered by body shots. ANother big right hand. Beautiful double right hook, body then head, put Milanovic on his ass. He's back up, but completely out of it and the ref rightly calls it. Fantastic knockout by Wilnis.
Final result: Wilnis def. Milanovic by TKO (punches)
Superfight: Agron Preteni vs. Andrei Stoica
Round one: Both men attacking each other's legs early. Body kick Stoica, Preteni responds in kind. Stoica sweeps Preteni down after eating a body kick. Leg kick from Stoica and another. Inside this time. Another good leg kick. If the announcers don't stop complimenting him I'm going to eat my laptop. Body kick Stoica. Leg kick exchange. Left hook-low kick from Stoica. Another low kick after missed punches. Yet another low kick and Preteni's leg isn't looking good. 10-9 Stoica.
Round two: Preteni trying to get aggressive early, but is outgunned. Good body kick from Stoica. BEAUTIFUL counter left hook from Preteni drops Stoica! He's up, but he's not looking great. Preteni on the attack, but Stoica is firing back. Another left hook and a right. Preteni hitting downstairs and upstairs. Preteni presses him into the corner and lands a right hand. Head kick, left hook, Stoica's eating the lot and somehow firing back. Body kick from Stoica as Preteni's assault wanes at the end of the round. 10-8 Preteni.
Round three: Stoica moving forward to start things out. Both men land to the legs. Body shot Preteni. Body kick Stoica. Looks like Stoica's recovered and he throws a spinning back kick and an axe kick in quick succession. Good body shot, Preteni responds upstairs. Stoica continues firing away. Both men aggressive, Stoica moreso. Left hook upstairs from Preteni in response to a solid body shot. Good combinations by both men. Stoica getting the better of it so far. Solid right hand and left to the body by Stoica, Preteni makes him slip with a high kick at the bell. 10-9 Stoica, great fight.
Final result: Preteni def. Stoica by unanimous decision
Superfight: Mladen Brestovac vs. Frank Munoz
Round one: Brestovac noticeably bigger than Munoz and stalking forward. Good kicks from both. High kick from Munoz is blocked. Slick combination by Brestovac, nothing lands clean. Leg kick from Brestovac. Good left hook from Brestovac drops Munoz, but the ref calls it a slip. Good counter right hook. Good leg kick and body shot by the Croat. Brestovac continues stalking to the end of the round, landing one to the body before the bell. 10-9 Brestovac.
Round two: They trade body kicks to start. Nice combination by Brestovac. Push kick from Munoz fails to move Brestovac. Nice lead straight from the Croat. Another. High kick glances off of Munoz's guard. Good knee to the body as Munoz tries to bomb away. Nice straight. Good knee to the body. Combination. Munoz is game but ineffectual here. 10-9 Brestovac again.
Round three: Brestovac kicking early. Munoz to the leg. Brestovac content to just stalk and rough Munoz up; Frank is at least partially blocking most of the shots, but can't retaliate. Nice body hook. Body kick from Munoz, after which he absorbs a couple to the legs. Frank storms forward with a flurry to no avail. Munoz with a body kick, Mladen responds and adds a punch or two. Munoz blocks a series of head kicks and connects with a leg kick. There's the bell, another 10-9 Brestovac.
Final result: Brestovac def. Munoz by unanimous decision
K-1 WGP Final Match: Mirko Filipovic vs. Ismael Londt
Round one: Londt slips early on a kick. Counter knee from Londt as Cro Cop approaches.Push kick from Londt. Cro Cop with a heavy flurry that pushes Londt into the corner. Londt fires back with a knee to the body. Cro cop lands a right and ties up Londt as he approaches. Leg kick Londt, knee to the body. Left hook connects. Right to the body. Cro Cop slips on a body kick. Londt hits him with a knee to the guts and another after Cro Cop connects with a left straight. Good right from Londt and a pair of knees to the body. 10-9 Londt.
Round two: LHK FROM CRO COP DROPS LONDT! Ismael is back on his feet but Mirko has no intention of letting him get away. Cro Cop firing away as Londt drives knees into his gut. Good right from Londt but he can't keep Mirko off of him. Repeated knees to the body from Londt as Cro Cop pursues. Solid right hand from Ismael. Clinch. Clinch. Londt rips to the body as he gets Cro Cop into the corner. Jumping knee fails to connect. Another good knee to the body and a body kick. There's the bell, 10-8 Cro Cop.
Round three: Londt in full attack mode. Tons of punches, knees, throwing Cro Cop off of him when he clinches. More knees to the body. Another and another. Londt continues savaging the body. Jumping knee fails to connect. Cro Cop with some solid uppercuts in the clinch as Londt continues pounding away at his body. Jumping knee again fails and Cro Cop knees him in return. Uppercuts in the clinch by Mr. Pain, but he's running out of time. Londt swinging with everything he's got but can't get the finish. 10-9 Londt.
Final result: Filipovic def. Londt by unanimous decision