Feitosa vs. Karaev Headlines K-1’s Return To Vegas

Feitosa vs. Karaev Headlines K-1’s Return To Vegas

Superfight between 2005 tourney champions promises hard-hitting action for “Mayhem At Mirage II”

March 26, 2006; New York, NY….K-1 ”Battle at Bellagio IV” tournament victor Glaube Feitosa (63-15-1 (59 KO’s) will square off with “Mayhem At Mirage” tournament winner, Ruslan Karaev (159-8 (125 KOs), in an explosive Superfight during “Mayhem At Mirage II” at Las Vegas’s Mirage Hotel and Casino on Saturday, April 29th.

For both men, the contest represents an opportunity to build on newfound success they experienced in Sin City last year. The 6 foot 4 inch, 225 pound Feitosa of Brazil was the first of the two to shine when he made what was the second start of his career in a K-1 North America tournament during the Bellagio affair on April 30th.

After securing a victory by way of unanimous decision over Dewey “The Black Kobra” Cooper, Feitosa was roughed up early by 2003 K-1 USA champion, Carter Williams. The Kyokushin Karate stylist fought back courageously in the second round, though, and turned the tides on the stocky American powerhouse, stunning Williams with a strong axe kick and following up the blow with a knee strike to the midsection that put Williams down for the 10 count.

The win over Williams set up a championship round meeting between Feitosa and heavy handed brawler, “Big Daddy” Gary Goodridge, who had brutalized Sean O’ Haire and Scott Lighty, respectively, during the two previous tournament rounds, stopping each before the first round of action came to a close. Feitosa’s skills were too much for Goodridge, however, as the Karate player remained poised until he was given the opportunity to floor Goodridge with a high kick to the head. Goodridge beat the referee’s count, but the third man in charged called an end to the bout at the 2:40 mark as he deemed Big Daddy unfit to continue.

Relatively unknown in the world of K-1 despite his 100 plus previous martial arts fights, the 6 foot 2 inch, 215 pound Karaev was named a 17 to 2 underdog by odds makers before “Mayhem At Mirage,” his debut in The United States.

The 22-year-old native of Russia quickly asserted himself against first round challenger Freddy Kemayo of France with more than one barrage of body punches executed at a high speed rarely seen in heavyweight martial arts fighting. Karaev attempted to do more damage with high kicks, but it was a powerful spinning back kick that he planted precisely on Kemayo’s liver that put the Frenchman down for the 10 count.

The tournament’s semifinal round saw Karaev engage fellow K-1 USA newcomer, Azem Maksutaj, in what has since been recognized as one of the greatest K-1 battles ever to unfold in Las Vegas.

The drama heated up in the second round when, to the astonishment of those looking on, Karaev scored with the same spinning back that he used to defeat his first opponent. Maksutaj beat the count, though, and went on the offensive, snapping Karaev’s head back repeatedly with everything from straight punches to knees and roundhouse kicks.

During the final three minutes, Karaev countered another campaign launched by Maksutaj and unloaded a knee strike that put Maksutaj down for the second time in the bout. Maksutaj recovered once again and survived the round, but it was Karaev who earned the unanimous nod from the judges.

Karaev was again taken to task in the tournament’s championship round by American Muay Thai fighter, Scott Lighty. Understandably fatigued after the war with Maksutaj, the Russian worked at a slower pace than he had during his previous bouts that night. A strong right hand in the second round put Lighty on the run, after which Karaev attempted his spinning back kick twice.

Karaev finished strong as he dished out straight punches to the body and roundhouse kicks and knees. After the third round came to a close, he was declared the victor by all three judges scoring the bout.

“Mayhem At Mirage II” will also feature an eight-man, single-elimination format tournament, the lineup of which will be announced shortly. Additional Superfights and a preliminary card will be announced soon as well.

Tickets for “Mayhem At Mirage II” are on sale and can be purchased at the Mirage Hotel and Casino box office (800-963-9634). Tickets are priced at $50, $100, $200, and $300, respectively.

The Mirage Grand Ballroom doors will open for the event at 5 PM Pacific Standard Time on April 29th. The card’s preliminary bouts will begin at 5:30 PM and the tournament will commence at approximately 7 PM.

K-1 is a martial arts fighting sport that derives its name from its inclusion of a wide array of combat disciplines, including Karate, Kung-Fu, and Kickboxing (“K”), and its intent to determine one champion in one ring (“1”). After being staged for the first time in Japan in 1993 under the direction of founder Master Kazuyoshi Ishii, it later evolved into the country’s most popular sport and achieved popular culture status there as its athletes turned into larger-than-life celebrities.

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