Don’t call it a comeback, karate’s been here for years.
In fact, karate is now an Olympic sport, so it should come as no surprise to learn that Karate Combat is back on the air tonight (Thurs., July 1, 2021) on CBS Sports, featuring former UFC champions Georges St-Pierre and Lyoto Machida as Season 3 senseis.
“Rush” mastered the art of Kyokushin Karate while “The Dragon” is representing his roots in Shotokan Karate.
Karate Combat is exactly what it sounds like: karate black belts facing off in “The Pit” under a modified, full-contact ruleset (read the specifics here). In addition, the promotion uses Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to create virtual environments for each competition.
Season 3 begins with 1890 Okinawa — and special guest Bas Rutten — tonight at 10 p.m. ET.
“To tell you the truth, if Karate Combat would have existed when I was younger, I would have certainly competed in it,” St-Pierre told ESPN. “I think it’s a great avenue for athletes who are coming from karate backgrounds because the rules make it in a way that they allow also takedowns and everything. So it’s really pure. In terms of rules, it’s the only organization of karate that they allow every style of karate to compete with each other.”
The bantamweight lineup for Episode 1 includes:
135 lbs.: Eoghan Chelmiah (Ireland) vs. Kevin Azouz (France)
135 lbs.: Nikolasz Lukacs (Hungary) vs. Abbdeslam Ameknassi (Morocco)
135 lbs.: Teeik Silva (Brazil) vs. Myrza-Bek Tebuev (Russia)
Season 3 lasts 12 episodes with global replays every Sunday night on YouTube.
“If Karate Combat was around when I was starting my career, I guarantee I would have competed here,” Machida said. “The way they mix tradition with a glamorous promotion style is amazing. Right now I’m the sensei but in the future you may see me here as a competitor as well.”
For more information on how to watch Season 3 of Karate Combat click here.