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Schilt's Iron Castle & Hari's Struggle

K-1 veteran Semmy Schilt cements his reputation as an outstanding fighter, while Hari realizes, perhaps for the first time - seriously, that talking about being the 'real K-1 champion' is easier than actually becoming one.


 

Now, sure.

Isn’t that the gist of pretty much every K-1 WGP? Someone wins, someone loses, someone takes the belt and goes home with a bag-full of cash and someone has to sit outside on their balcony and contemplate their failure in dark misery? Yes, true, but it’s been a long while since those two extremes were displayed in such stark contrast as in this year of 2009. Of course, every win and every loss is very subjective, it depends on how the fans feel about it, how the fighters feel about their achievements. It depends on whether or not the fighting event as a whole has been a commercial success, attracted enough viewers, brought in enough cash, made a brighter future to the sport?

There are many perspectives to look at, but first, let us embrace the spirit of K-1 – the actual fighters, and their doings in the ring on December 5th, 2009.

Ruslan Karaev

Outmatched? Overpowered? Outpunched?

Maybe.

The bell rings and he springs right into action, he doesn’t waste a second, and you wonder; what was all this talk about changing trainers and gym? You watch his interviews back in the day and he keeps on mentioning his new and improved defense, he says he acknowledges the fact that he’s too aggressive and hence gets knocked out easily. He says, ‘no worries, I’m working on it, and you’ll see a completely new Karaev very soon’.

We got a chance to see this ‘new Karaev’ in employing an atypical fighting style against Kyotaro. Ruslan pulled his punches, didn’t follow the prey and stayed cool. He won that fight on points, and a spinning back-fist that made all of us say “Uhhh, he learned something new. Maybe he is actually improving.”

Evidently though, Ruslan threw away all his cautiousness in his first-and-only fight of the night against Hari and put all his heart into a good old-fashioned bayonet charge. What a show! We have all got to give him credit for being what all of us expected him to be – gutsy & fierce, but we’ve also got to ask ourselves – did he actually improve over the last year?

Ewerton Teixeira

Ewerton is a mystery. He doesn’t do much smiling, or talking, he doesn’t do anything exciting in the ring, or outside of it. He’s tough as tree-bark, build like a brick, and his expression desires some moisturizing lotion to soothe the dry, blank stare. He is solid in the ring, lumbering about like a slightly uncoordinated goblin. His punches are strong and his legs are meaty and thick. He can take damage and give it back.

Now, you look at that verbal portrait of Ewerton Teixeira and you think; he’s actually one formidable fighter. Of course, no matter what we might think, Alistair Overeem had his own ideas regarding Teixeira, and Teixeira was obviously not aware of those malicious thoughts.

Both men start the fight carefully, and Teixeira tests the waters with a couple of low kicks. After a bit, they go into a clinch and Overeem takes advantage of the Brazilian head in his hands and smacks it with a solid knee sending Ewerton out for a nap. Teixeria rigidly slumps onto the canvas and the fight is over with medics on top of him.

What is there to analyze? A hypothetical ‘illegal two-knee-in-a-row-rule’? The fact is – if it was a foul – it wasn’t called by the referee or the judges, so as far as rules stand – Teixeira’s out of the tourney, and while he still remains one of the top fighters – this latest “PR flop” did not do him any good.

Errol Zimmerman

Zimmerman has always been this guy who’s perpetually improving and showing great potential. His hands and legs work well together and his combinations flow easy and usually reach their targets. There’s nothing really outstanding about him, but there’s nothing worth critiquing except perhaps for his seemingly half-serious approach to the whole ordeal of K-1.

His opponent of the night was Remy Bonjasky and Zimmerman wasted no time on formalities and jumped into the fray of battle. It was a tough fight for both men, and although Bonjasky came out on top, Zimmerman played an incredibly important role, tiring and damaging Bonjasky beyond repair, and thus setting up an injured three times Champion for a match with a fresh Schilt, who just happens to be Zimmermans GG team-mate.

Zimmerman lost the decision, but showed that he can go toe-to-toe with the then-current Champion, and even wear him down.

Jerome Le Banner

As many as there are K-1 fans, just as many there are disappointments when it comes to the Jerome’s limp performance against Semmy Schilt. To make the story short, Le Banner was out after receiving two kicks in the liver. Whether his loss came as a result of his apathy or physical condition, let individuals decide for themselves, as it is hard to understand a fighter like Le Banner who is known for his enthusiastic, pumped mood every time that he enters the ring.

The fact remains – Le Banner exited the tournament on a dull note, and whether or not this trend of his will go on – we’ll have to see in his next bout.

Alistair Overeem

The man needs no introduction. A proud MMA devotee bursting with sharp insults and ready to give any K-1 fighter a beating, Overeem has made a rather shocking reputation for himself in the last year by defeating Hari, Aerts and giving Bonjasky a run for his money. His tournament goal was simple – win it, and show the whole world that MMA fighters can dominate K-1, although in this very process of “proving” he too has become a full-fledged K-1 fighter. Perhaps he just didn’t realize it.

His first bout – with Teixeira ended positively and had all those watching think that maybe, just maybe, Overeem is on his good way to the title. That was an early scare though and Alistair’s striking ability came to a clarifying point in his semi-final against Hari.

A bit too slow, a bit too open and maybe a tad bit too confident in his own pumped self. Badr Hari was right on the money, exploiting Overeem’s defense holes and driving home a nice finishing kick.

Thus ended Alistair Overeem’s run for the gold and hopefully we’ll see him again in the K-1 ring, because although he isn’t the champion, he certainly is one of the best.

Remy Bonjasky

Actor. K-1 Queen. Pretense case.

Best legs in K-1. The flying gentleman.

Call him whatever you want, but he is the three time WGP champion. He didn’t get those titles by winning the lottery or doing favors for the K-1 bosses. After last years WGP folks around the world voiced their disapproval, some at Hari behavior, some at Remy’s stretching about on the canvas. Additionally, Remy was peppered with accusations of having a defensive fighting style, cowering behind gloves and avoiding slugging it out in the ring. Apparently those accusations made a good headway and Remy embarked to prove to everyone that he is indeed not a girl.

No better man for the test could have come along. Zimmerman gave Remy a proper beating despite losing the decision, and Remy has taken a step forward to reconciliation with fans and fellow fighters.

Bonjasky’s opponent in the semi-final was none other than Semmy Schilt. Remy started well, scoring a hopeful knock-down, but his success festival was not to be continued and a fully charged Schilt chopped the Flying Gentleman down.

Badr Hari

Who doesn’t know Badr Hari, or enough about Badr Hari in order to make their own judgment of this already legendary fighter?

Exactly. No need to delve into details.

Quarter-Final

We’re already familiar with Karaev’s misadventures, and his early departure from the WGP.

Semi-Final

For Hari, Overeem was a fighter that he must beat, physically and mentally. For himself and for the world of K-1. He promised that Alistair would not last 2-3 minutes in the ring with him, if they meet. That must’ve been some pressure to live with for that day, especially after seeing Teixeira bite the dust. Whether the (perhaps over-hyped) row between MMA and K-1 was really his motivation, or whether it was personal – Badr came out victorious.

Semmy Schilt

Semmy Schilt had a lot to prove.

Endless finger-pointings at his “push & kick” style has brought many fans to despise and discard Schilt as an entertaining fighter. Yes, everyone agreed, he is strong, he can jab and kick, but he bores us, he bores us to tears!

Add to that the embarrassing KO loss to Badr Hari in Amsterdam that same year and you get a man on the mission.

Quarter-Final

Schilt’s first test was Jerome Le Banner. Semmy passed with flying colors sending the Frenchman to the post-fight conference room early on.

Semi-Final

A worn down Remy Bonjasky made the best he could out of the situation, giving Schilt an early scare with a left, but later succumbing to the monstrous limbs of the Dutchman.

THE FINAL

Badr Hari vs Semmy Schilt

Semmy enters as his usual self, no emotions, no fuss, just him, walking along in his gi and staring blankly into the distance. Not a smile, not a frown. It’s just Semmy having a walk around.

Hari enters, exuding an air of confidence and fate that is hard to match. His eyes are empty and calm, his usual angry demeanor is gone. All the signs are there; Karaev is out, Alistair has been proven wrong. Now it’s Schilt’s turn to taste Hari’s power.

A bit over-confident perhaps? I am the son of god, kind of thing?

The bell rings and the men get down to business. Badr remembers the strategy he applied in Amsterdam earlier in the year and puts it to use once again, pressing Semmy with punches and wild hooks. He seems to be doing well for a bit, but Schilt’s not letting Badr eat his cake twice.

Semmy goes to work cynically, he doesn’t know that Badr thinks very highly of himself, Schilt doesn’t care that Badr is the son of god. Badr watches as Schilt’s straight left zeroes in on his face and sneaks through the space between his gloves.

“No, that’s not happening.” Thinks Badr while looking at the approaching glove. “I’m fated to win this one.”

“…” Thinks Schilt, and Badr goes down.

The rest is history. The 3 knock-down rule applies and Badr goes down 3 times. Schilt is victorious, again. For the fourth time. Except this time – he was fun!

From now on, there shall be no more finger pointing and boredom allegations directed at the venerable Semmy Schilt. He won all his three fights by finishing his opponents in a beautifully brutal fashion, and redeemed himself in the eyes of many, maybe even himself.

The summary of it all

Many, without count, have predicted that this will be the year of Hari’s ascension to the throne of K-1. Many were willing to believe that it was possible, including himself, but unlike the undying belief of the fans, his pre-fight interviews did leak a hint of doubt. The old, rash Badr was gone, and a new, more mature, experienced, life-taught fighter has emerged, and he wasn’t 100% sure of his win. No one ever should be. For all concerned, he played a great part in that night’s events, bringing Overeem to his knees, and proving to the vast majority of those willing to understand, that in the future, it will most likely be him, at the helm of K-1.

For now, however, the charge is all Schilt’s. Whatever makes him a fighter that he is – differs in opinion from person to person. Most attribute it to his physical attributes and a rather defensive fighting style (that has been refurbished, as per WGP 2009 into a more aggressive entity), ignoring the fact that not every huge fighter is actually any good. It’s easy to slug Semmy off, but at the end of the day, his castle still controls the plain, and when things concern belts and titles, even Badr Hari isn’t good enough yet.

As for the show itself – without a doubt WGP 2009 has been one the most exciting and refreshing K-1 events over the last few years, and it is bound to attract new fans to the sport and involve people in the martial arts.

Of course, all of us will judge individual fighters upon our own standards and try to prove to one another that this or that man is superior, or someday will be superior. Fair enough, we can all do that as long as we fully appreciate events like the one that happened on December 5th 2009, and hope that for the next K-1 GP all of the participating fighters will take an example from the brilliant display of the Final 8, who, for the first time in many years, actually tried their very best to become the K-1 heavyweight champion.

 

A big thanks for a great show to all the fighters, after all, if they didn’t fight – we’d have nothing to talk about!

                                                               All interview quotes taken from official K-1 site.

 




Comments

Post new comment
D-rop, Video editor (2420 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-12 at: 12:22
glad
Great stuff, I liked very much reading this.
Well done and thank you, Alex E.
Bård
Rasmussen
(539 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-12 at: 12:36
Very well written! I found this very interesting.
Balint (199 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-12 at: 01:23
nice composition
Rob, Holland reporter (1964 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-12 at: 04:41
glad
Well written and nice analysis! Keep it up :)
Kim, Editor (1548 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-12 at: 05:02
Both interesting and entertaining to read, good job Alex!

Thanks for posting!
szanpan (2088 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-12 at: 08:15
it s a greatly written and indeed a great article and good opinion really on all the fighters, and yes i agree with you on really all points. a little little miss the prefights only would wonder on your opinion also on those fights :) And Yes it was a GREAT K-1 final to watch i cant wait for the next one, also hoping that there will be more tournaments than last year.
Pablo (795 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-12 at: 10:27
Great insight into the evening, with many interesting details, thanks
Alex Evdokimov (138 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-13 at: 12:48
Thanks for all the feedback guys! :)

to szanpan - I wanted to include all fight descriptions, but simply got carried away with the top 8, and forgot!
Alexey (41 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-13 at: 03:31
@Alex Evdokimov Alex Evdokimov приходи если интересно, на valetudo.ru крупнейший русскоязычный форум о K-1 и MMA
Rob, Holland reporter (1964 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-13 at: 06:01
English please or use personal messages , thank you :)
szanpan (2088 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-13 at: 09:03
I had to return here to show my most favorite part of the article it s just GREAT :):):) i think it was like this really...

“No, that’s not happening.” Thinks Badr while looking at the approaching glove. “I’m fated to win this one.”

“…” Thinks Schilt, and Badr goes down.

These were the most important fights of not only the night but also of the year!!! :) Thank you once more for the great Article Alex
Nichya (41 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-14 at: 04:06
Thank u Alex! U must have watched the tournament twice or more than that to write this article. Very fascinating to read. With me, I understand more about K-1 after I read this article. :)
Alex Evdokimov (138 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-15 at: 04:23
to szanpan - Thanks for pointing out your favorite part, you're the first to do that, ever! That is one my favorite parts as well, haha

to Nichya - Thanks for liking the article, I'm very glad that you actually learned something, I learned something myself as well ;) when I write, I realize things. As for the show, I didn't actually watch it many times, I watched some fights that I was unsure about a few times, but some other fights, like Remy vs Zimmerman are fairly straightforward. There you go! :)

Cdn Mongoose (1425 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-15 at: 03:33
This is the kind of article that makes fans of k-1 the best site. An extremely well written logical article. Not the usual Badr rules and Remy sucks kind of garbage on other sites.

Nice work

I love this site
Rob, Holland reporter (1964 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-15 at: 05:47
happy
@szanpan & alex
That was indeed the most funny line ever hahaha
It had me laughing out loud behind my pc!!!
Alex Evdokimov (138 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-16 at: 04:34
to Cdn Mongoose - I do love this site too - it gives me a window to express myself in, and the members on this site are quite nice as well! Proper discussions, not fanatically crazed obsessions.

to Rob - Good to know someone laughs at stuff I write haha it's not just me then ;)
szanpan (2088 posts)
Posted: 2009-12-21 at: 08:18
It has me laughing whenever i think of this perfect line :) And i guess in the name of everyone I can ask you for more more more of these great writings of yours.

Personally I think these fights werent the ones which you must watch more. I watched them each once and i remember them every since so great , passionate and fatal fights in one tournament i guess this year had set up a record in this. I cant wait for the next year's finals :):):)
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Alex Evdokimov


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