European Throwdown: Notes from Iberia to Siberia

By Tim Leidecker Dec 17, 2007
European Throwdown covers the first MMA event in Hamburg and looks forward to shows in Japan and the United States that feature Euro fighters this month. Plus: a New Year's Eve challenge, a German fighter with big plans for 2008 and a Dutch super event casts its shadow.

MMA in Hamburg

Hamburg, the German city with the most millionaires, played host to its first mixed martial arts show over the weekend. Nine amateur bouts took place at the small but mighty Delphi Showpalast in the hip district of Eimsbüttel.

Since the city on the River Elbe is second maybe only to Amsterdam when it comes to being liberal and open-minded, the show started with a stripper doing all kinds of naughty stuff with candle wax and baby oil.

But let's focus on the sporting part of the event. The highlight of the show was a brutal eight-second knockout of local district hero Phillip "The Cat" Höhne over newcomer David Goldberg.

The main event fell through after the promoter must have been a bit ambiguous about the weight limit for the fight. Top German middleweight Andre Balschmieter and his opponent, Steve Mensing, were 15 pounds apart and decided on an exhibition fight instead. The official bout is expected at a later date.

With M-1 Global choosing Hamburg as its German headquarters, you can be sure to hear many more positive things from the north of Germany in the upcoming year.

Gadzhiyev looks to protect perfect record

Russian samboist Alavutdin Gadzhiyev (Pictures) is fighting to keep his flawless record in Pancrase alive. He takes on young Japanese wrestler Masahiro Toryu (Pictures) at the last stop of the promotion's Rising Tour at the Differ Ariake in Tokyo on Dec. 22.

The teammate of Cage Force lightweight tournament winner Artur Oumakhanov (Pictures) has already knocked out Toryu's teammate Ichiro Kanai (Pictures) in his March debut and won a close decision over another PANCRASEism fighter, Daisuke Watanabe (Pictures), in September.

Given the good relationship between Pancrase's managing director Yasushi Sakamoto and HERO'S matchmaker Akira Maeda (Pictures), the robust Russian may very well end up on a future HERO'S card if he continues his winning ways in Pancrase.

Aerts challenges Hari to MMA bout

Three-time K-1 World Grand Prix champion Peter Aerts (Pictures) has challenged the current K-1 heavyweight titleholder Badr Hari to an MMA fight on New Year's Eve.

In an interview with the Japanese media, the 37-year-old Dutchman, who is widely considered the best kickboxer of the 1990s, boasted that he'd beat Hari.

"He has zero experience in MMA," Aerts said, "whereas I've been practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu for quite a while and know a couple of submissions."

Knowing the brash nature of the just 23-year-old "bad boy" of K-1, Hari could accept the challenge. Promoter Fighting Entertainment Group is looking for another three or four bouts for its Dynamite!! Show, and a battle between the old guard against the new would certainly fit the bill.

Hari's acceptance aside, there is another uncertainty that could thwart a possibly very entertaining encounter: Aerts badly sprained ligaments in his knee in the K-1 World Grand Prix final against Semmy Schilt (Pictures). It is uncertain how long he needs to fully recover from the injury.

But even if the fight doesn't make this year's card, there's always the chance it will be included in a HERO'S show next year.

Weichel wants success on U.K. soil

Daniel Weichel, universally considered one of the top-10 fighters under 170 pounds in Europe, wants to improve his record when fighting in the United Kingdom. Even though the 23-year-old jiu-jitsu expert has lost just three of his 20 career bouts, two of those defeats came on British soil.

In March 2006 he was submitted by Brazilian UFC fighter Thiago Tavares (Pictures) in a close affair just 13 seconds before the final bell. Twelve months later he was hit even harder -- literally -- when Paul Daley (Pictures) knocked him out cold just seconds into their FX3 title bout.

Now the man from Michelstadt in Southern Hesse is looking to finally break his duck in England. He takes on undefeated Norwegian submission specialist Simeon Thoresen in a super fight at Ultimate Warrior Challenge VI in Southend-On-Sea on March 1.

Weichel will have to remember his stellar performances in the European Vale Tudo Grand Prix in 2005 or his submission victory over UFC vet Dennis Siver (Pictures) last year if he doesn't want to come a cropper against the dangerous Norwegian.

Super show coming to Amsterdam

Dutch promoter Simon Rutz, the mastermind behind the highly successful "It's Showtime" and K-1 Netherlands shows, has announced the full card for his 2008 edition of the K-1 World Grand Prix in Amsterdam, which is once again set to take place at the Amsterdam Arena on April 26.

In the night's lone MMA bout -- the Dutch love their muay Thai and still struggle to warm to ground fighting -- Golden Glory's bad boy Gilbert Yvel (Pictures) takes on reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (Pictures).

The two countrymen have a long history with each other. Yvel knocked out Alistair's older brother, Valentijn Overeem (Pictures), in 1998 and later added another submission win over the Rings King of Kings 2000 finalist.

While "The Hurricane" has fought just seven times in the past three years, Overeem has been one of the marathon men of MMA with 14 bouts in the past 36 months.

Full Card:

K-1 Rules
Peter Aerts (Pictures) vs. Melvin Manhoef (Pictures)
• Gokhan Saki vs. Paul Slowinski
• Tyrong Spong vs. TBA

Andy Souwer (Pictures) vs. Joerie Mes
• Gago Aroetjunjan vs. Albert Kraus
• Buakaw Por.Pramuk vs. Faldir Chabhari
• Murat Direkci vs. Nieky Holzken
• Pajonsuk vs. Tarik El Isdrissie

Full Contact Kickboxing
Perry Ubeda vs. Stephan Tapilatu

Gilbert Yvel (Pictures) vs. Alistair Overeem (Pictures)

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