Last Saturday, the largest competitive series in kickboxing history hit the LA Sports Arena. K-1 is a special type of fight. If you’re familiar with Muay Thai, then you’re on the right track, but K-1 does not allow clinching. These fights are… fights. No wrestling, no clinching, no takedowns and no BJJ strategy. These are non-stop action, and to help out, the ring is very small.
World Grand Prix Champions of K-1 include Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt, and a ton of other big names.
Saturday gave us 30 fighters on 15 cards, including 4 heavyweight, 4 Max fights, 4 Super fights, and 3 undercard bouts. What I love about the K-1 series is that for many of the winners, Saturday was just the beginning.
The winners of the Heavyweight and MAX bouts will compete on October 14 at K-1’s Final 16 Event at the Sumo National Stadium. Heavyweight winners at the Final 16 in Japan will advance to the Grand Prix Finals in New York on Dec. 26. Winners of MAX bouts will compete in Athens, Greece on Dec. 7.
$1 Million will be awarded to the Grand Prix Champion and $300,000 to the MAX winner. In all, the 2012 K-1 Grand Prix and MAX tournament will award $2 million in prize purses.
The first 2 photos of fighters in this post are from one of the undercards. James Wilson (the first photo) defeated Doug Sauer by knockout. I mean big time knockout, as in half way out of the ring! See the hands holding his head? He was hanging out and they had to lift him up.
The next series of photos here are from the Bryce Krause & Justin Greskiewicz bout. This one was also crazy. Everyone I’ve talked to agrees that Bryce had the fight after two rounds. But Justin would not stop coming!
That’s Justin with the messed up face, and you ready for this… he won in the third round. That is K-1. The main reason I went to shoot photos was because two local fighters were on the card. One that I know, and one I met that night.
San Bernardino’s own Mighty Mo (the fighter on the left above) took on 46 year old Rick Roufus in one of the heavyweight bouts. Mo did a great job, and had some great spin kicks, but Rick pulled out the win by split decision.
USKO’s Joey Pagliuso is from Riverside. I’ve know Joey, and his family, since 1987. When he got the call to fight in K-1, I knew I had to shoot it. Joey is a great fighter in many styles. As you can see above, he is wearing a Karate Gi. That is his roots. His father founded USKO, so Joey grew up around Karate.
Saturday he fought Ben Yelle, and it was not the first time. During a pre-fight interview a few weeks ago Joey admitted he had fought Ben before. He lost that fight years ago, but not Saturday.
Ben fought a great fight and, if the right move catches your opponent, anybody can win one of these bouts, but Joey is at the top of his game.
Ben saw a lot of those gloves flying at his face Saturday.
Congratulation to Joey Pagliuso on winning his first K-1 match in style. Can’t wait to see K-1 in the states again. Oh yeah, for the rest of 2012, Spike TV will be streaming K-1 matches online, and then in 2013 they will be airing the matches on Spike.