The 2009 K-1 Grand Prix Finals ended in spectacular fashion just hours ago, with Semmy Schilt becoming the champion for the fourth time (this prestigious record is only matched by Ernesto "Mr. Perfect" Hoost, another legend of the K1 world).
The giant from Netherlands finished Jerome Le Banner, Remy Bonjasky, and the potent Badr Hari. They were all first-round KO's or TKO's.
As an MMA fan, my eyes naturally veered towards Alistair "The Demolition Man" Overeem. After destroying another K1 superstar and veteran Peter Aerts just months ago, this genetic freak seemed to have no limits.
I considered him as a great candidate to possibly make the upset (although secretly I had a gut feeling that Schilt was going to take it) and to be honest, he didn't do such a bad job at all.
Overeem's first opponent in the Finals was Ewerton Teixeira, a tough Kyokushin Karateka who had never been knocked out in his relatively short but impressive K1 career. Overeem dwarfed Teixeira, who is not a small man by any means (6'2'', 240 lbs), but took a more conservative approach against the Brazilian fighter.
Many expected this fight to go to a decision, mainly because Teixeira had proven countless times how durable his chin was, but Overeem got him in a clinch and landed a devastating knee just 1:06 in to the first round. That was the end of Teixeira; to the shock of the Japanese crowd, he collapsed to the mat face first and was knocked out cold.
Now Overeem just had to win two more fights; his next opponent was someone who he had embarrassed a year ago—K1 Bad Boy Badr Hari.
In their first fight, Overeem had surprised Hari, and the world, by beating the K1 representative to the punch and showing incredible power and accuracy. Overeem made MMA proud by finishing Hari in the first round wth a vicious left hook
Hari made several excuses after the match, saying how he was unprepared and unmotivated. This was the perfect opportunity to prove his dominance.
I hoped for the repeat of the first fight to occur, but Hari seemed to have changed; I guess all of that new physical training regimen did him some good, because he was even faster and more accurate than Overeem in the rematch.
Overeem was tentative and slow; in the clinch he easily overpowered Hari, pushing him or simply rag-dolling him to the mat.
But when Hari maintained some distance, he peppered the Demolition Man with kicks and punches. Eventually Overeem ate a laser-straight right hand that dropped him, and just seconds after that, he succumbed to a left high kick to the head.
That was the end of Overeem's run in the 2009 Grand Prix.
But in fact, there was another MMA representative in the event tonight—Russian heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov—who had beaten such greats as Fabricio Werdum, Pedro Rizzo, and Semmy Schilt in the MMA universe—faced off against Daniel Ghita, a dangerous kick-boxer armed with incredible low kicks.
Kharitonov fared well, thanks to his boxing background, but eventually was TKO'ed due to the constant leg kicks that he couldn't check.
To sum up the event tonight; Remy Bonjasky earned a hard fought decision against Errol Zimmerman, but was knocked out by Schilt. Badr Hari finished his nemesis Ruslan Karaev in less than a minute, and also disptached Overeem in impressive fashion, but showed a disappointing performance against the near-invincible Schilt.
Hari could do nothing about Schilt's left straight, and eventually ate a left kick to the head, prompting the referee to stop the fight.
It was a great night for Schilt, and although I hoped for Overeem to do more, I can't complain.
I just want him to come back to the MMA scene and defend his Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion title against Fedor "the Last Emperor" Emelianenko.