Overeem: ‘Cro Cop’ Yet to Sign; Manhoef Returns

By Tim Leidecker Nov 24, 2008
Although persistent rumors have been flying around for the past month regarding Pride grand prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic looking to lock horns with Dutch knockout artist Alistair Overeem again following their ill-fated Sept. 23 clash, no official confirmation for their Dec. 31 rematch at K-1 “Dynamite 2008” has been issued so far by promoter Fighting & Entertainment Group.

The distinguished heavyweight pair’s first encounter ended in a no contest after Filipovic (23-6-1, 1 NC) complained of repeated knees to the groin and the referee concurred.

“I’m afraid Mirko is trying to run from me again,” Overeem recently told Sherdog.com. “FEG wants to make it happen, I would like nothing more than get my hands on him again and I know that the fans would like to see a definite ending as well, so the only obstacle here is Cro Cop. He’s the one who hasn’t signed the contract yet and he’s the one who is trying to avoid fighting me again because he knows that he will get his ass kicked again.”

The 28-year-old “Demolition Man” did not want to talk tactics should his second meeting with the Croatian come to fruition, but did reveal one alteration he is planning.

“I won’t use any knee strikes to the body this time, so he won’t have any chance to wimp out of the fight again,” he said.

Strikeforce heavyweight champion Overeem (29-11, 1 NC), who still has three fights left on his current contact with the Dream promotion, will entertain offers from other promotions starting next summer. His management at Golden Glory has held loose talks with the UFC in the past, but those have been at a very early stage. Still, the 6-foot-5 kickboxer would not rule out a move to the Octagon should a good offer come along.

Manhoef out of retirement to face Slowinski, Kreshnik

Following his disappointing semifinal loss to eventual winner Gegard Mousasi at the Dream middleweight grand prix last September, Dutch knockout machine Melvin Manhoef announced his retirement from active competition in a panic reaction to spend more time with his wife and children. Overworked with seventeen bouts in seventeen months leading up to the Mousasi fight, “Marvelous Melvin” just needed a break to recharge his batteries.

Apparently he used a rapid charger, as the 32-year-old kickboxer has ditched his retirement just two months after announcing it, which beats even Paul Daley’s four-month resignation this spring.

Manhoef will take on Polish-Australian Paul Slowinski in an alternate bout at the K-1 World Grand Prix Final in Yokohama, Japan on Dec. 6. The powerful slugger also has another kickboxing bout scheduled next year against Belgian top talent Rustemi Kreshnik on Feb. 8 at It’s Showtime in Antwerpen, Belgium.

Whether the popular former Cage Rage light heavyweight champion will stay with kickboxing for the moment or make a full comeback to MMA competition as well is undecided at this time.

Fedor loses

Even the mighty stumble from time to time.

Heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko lost his first Sambo match in eight years at the Combat Sambo World Championships on Nov. 16 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Emelianenko –- whose only defeat in MMA came from a cut stoppage against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka in 2000 –- fell in the semifinals of the over 220-pound division to Bulgarian Blagoi Ivanov on points. Ivanov, a 23-year-old judoka from the Balkans, dominated the “Last Emperor” from the opening bell and was able to quickly carve out an 8-1 lead on points.

Emelianenko saved face by shortening the deficit by four points via a late knockdown, but in the end he had to accept defeat and be content with his first third place finish in sambo since 2000, where he came up short at the Russian Combat Sambo Championships in Orenburg, Russia.

To the 32-year-old’s defense, he had been busy filming the action movie “The Fifth Execution,” starring Michael Madsen and Rutger Hauer (and a supposed cameo from Fedor’s teammate and Dream middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi) for three weeks in late October into early November, which left him with little to no time to prepare for the event. Sidelines have not kept Emelianenko from dominating the sport of Sambo like none other in past years, however.

This development suggests two conclusions: Either Fedor is starting to slow down due to a frantic schedule that has him traveling around Europe, America and Asia for most of the year, or we have a genuine talent on our hands in Ivanov. It will be interesting to see if a European or even a Japanese promoter will make a move on the young Bulgarian to capitalize on his impressive upset of the former Pride heavyweight champion.

IAFC swoops in on Brazilian duo

Brazilian players in Russian football have been a noticeable phenomenon in the past couple of years. Even internationals like Mozart, Daniel Carvalho or Vagner Love have been lured to big Moscow clubs like Spartak and ZSKA with the help of the hard ruble. Russian MMA promotion International Absolute Fighting Council (IAFC) has also come to occupy a special place for fighters from the sugar loaf and has invited a Brazilian duo to compete in their Nov. 29 “Russia vs. The World” event.

Brazilians Bruno Carvalho and Gustavo Picone will take on local heroes Magomed Sultanakhmedov and Michail Tsarev will take the stage in Novosibirsk in deep Siberia. The bout between Carvalho and Sultanakhmedov will be particularly interesting, as both men have appeared with big Asian shows before.

Carvalho defeated Pancrase ranked Tatsuya Mizuno at the M-1 Challenge show in Korea last August, while Sultanakhmedov came up short again Zelg Galesic in the first round of the Dream middleweight grand prix this past April.

Other fighters scheduled to appear on the card are Russian quintet Alexey Oleinik, Vener Galiev, Andrei Rudakov, Juriy Folomkin and Andrei Semenov. Recent ShoXC veteran Alexander Shlemenko is a tentative entry to fight in the main event against French globetrotter Jean Francois Lenogue.

Blachowicz faces Perak in Euro superfight

Polish promotion Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (“Martial Arts Confrontation” in English) has announced the main event for their Dec. 12 show “Dekalog” (“Decalogue” in English). In another light heavyweight tidbit, KSW 9 tournament champion Jan Blachowicz will take on undefeated Croatian Maro Perak. With KSW superstar Mamed Khalidov out with a broken hand, organizers Martin Lewandowski and Maciej Kawulski are looking for the up-and-coming Blachowicz to draw a large crowd of Polish MMA enthusiasts to the 5,000-seat Torwar arena in Warsaw.

Both fighters have a lot in common –- they are 25 years old and come from a muay Thai background. Both have also exclusively competed close to home, with Blachowicz in Poland and Perak in Croatia and the neighboring Slovenia. Perak is the first to leave his comfort zone in his quest to prove that he is as good as his 12-0-1 record suggests. However, Blachowicz, will be far from a pushover with a very solid submission game going for him in addition to his excellent standup skills.

Ranked seventh and eighth in Europe by Germany’s leading website Groundandpound.de, the winner of this 205-pound clash is certain to move into the continent’s top five.

Daley goes for three in a row

Explosive British welterweight Paul “Semtex” Daley has never been a fighter who dealt well with losses. As a result, the best medicine for the 25-year-old kickboxer from Nottingham has always been to get back into the ring as early as possible following a defeat.

Following a kickboxing bout on Nov. 21 in his native Nottingham, Daley is going to take on the vastly experienced John Alessio in the co-main event of MFC 19 in Alberta, Canada.

“I've only had four weeks to prepare, I usually have eight to ten, but I still feel very confident going into this fight, even after what I class as an extremely disappointing performance against Jake Shields at my last fight with EliteXC,” Daley wrote to Sherdog.com in an email. “John Alessio has said he's going to stand with me? I hope so; I'm going to win and end the year with a bang! What do I predict? Same as always, a KO stoppage victory for me.”

Looming on the horizon is Daley’s third fight in six weeks. Daley is scheduled to face a yet-to-be-named opponent for World Victory Road’s Sengoku 7 on Jan. 4 at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo. Names like Nick Thompson, Kiuma Kunioku and Takuya Wada are in the raffle to get a crack at the former Cage Rage welterweight champion.

Sherdog.com is proud to publish the 30th edition of Tim Leidecker’s European Throwdown. For more mixed martial arts news coverage in German, log on to Ground & Pound at www.groundandpound.de
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