August 11, 2007Las Vegas, NV
Pictures courtesy of FEGWorld Grand Prix tournaments are the pinnacle and most celebrated contests in any combat sport, whether it’s kickboxing, boxing, submission grappling, or mixed martial arts, and just like in any tournament, they always have their clear favorites and potential darkhorses entering the field in these gladiatorial 8-man ironman competitions. Friends, oddsmakers, and the Las Vegas sports books alike usually base their lines on the common understanding of each fighter’s chances in each of his three potential match-ups throughout the night. However, on Saturday, August 11, 2007 at K-1’s annual “Battle at the Bellagio” in Las Vegas, Nevada it would not be that simple for those trying to predict an accurate forecast for the winner of the prestigious K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Las Vegas. As each man entered the field of eight in hopes of winning this sought-after crown and earning an automatic bid to next month’s 16-man K-1 Final Elimination in Seoul, South Korea, it would prove to be the most unlikely of champions by night’s end.
Undercard K-1 Rules Fight (3 rounds x 3 minutes):
Peyton “The Artist” Russell (127 lbs) vs. Raymond “Rio de Janeiro” Daniels (125 lbs)
The first fight of the night on the undercard was a bout between two 125 pounders. In the blue corner was the hometown Las Vegas, Nevada fighter Peyton “The Artist” Russell (4-2 : 1 KO) and he would be squaring off with the man in the red corner Raymond “Rio de Janeiro” Daniels (1-1) in the red corner hailing from San Jose, California.
It was a brutal opening round in the first bout of the evening to start off the festivities. It showcased speed, technique, and an excess of energy from Raymond Daniels. Daniels was able to deliver a seemingly endless array of kicks on Peyton Russell that would make any Tae Kwan Do stylist or Kung Fu movie buff proud.
Daniels continued his onslaught of the gutsy Russell, as he slammed a generous assortment of high kicks, spinning-heel kicks, axe kicks, and flying knees into Russell’s battered body much to the amusement of those fans that arrived early to the event.
Daniels was able to deliver his strikes with accuracy and ease in a fashion that could only be described as dynamic. The striking clinic, courtesy of Daniels, finally finished at 2:20 of the third round via TKO due to K-1’s three knockdown rule, as Russell was taken to the mat three times even being completely knocked through the ropes at one point.
Reserve K-1 Rules Fight (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Doug “Vicious” Viney (207 lbs) vs. Mahmoud “Mo” Fawzy (225 lbs)
The second preliminary match of the night was an alternate match for a potential spot in the 8-man World Grand Prix taking place later in the night. This was to ensure that there would be an active replacement ready in case one of the eight featured tournament fighters was injured during the competiton and could not continue into the later rounds of the tournament. This fight took place before a sparsely populated ballroom crowd, pitting Mahmoud “Mo” Fawzy (19-1-1 : 12 KO’s) against Ray Sefo protégé Doug Viney (15-5 : 9 KO’s) hailing from Auckland, New Zealand.
It was a quick and thrilling match where Doug “Vicious” Viney demonstrated KO punching power, which is characteristic of his fellow New Zealand countrymen Ray Sefo and Mark Hunt. Viney’s accurate and powerful hands found Mahmoud “Mo” Fawzy unable to respond or cover up fast enough. Viney landed a right hand and followed with an uppercut that were able to knock Fawzy to the mat twice in rapid succession, which ended the fight at 2:08 mark of Round 1 in accordance with the World Grand Prix’s two knockdown rule in a reserve bout. Viney gave a modest nod of his head as his hand was raised by his less modest instructor Ray Sefo. Viney had made a successful first appearance in K-1, while giving us a preview of what we should expect of him in his future fights to come.
Women’s K-1 Rules Fight (3 rounds x 2 minutes):
Van Do Milnes (112 lbs) vs. Ardra “The Mexican Machine Gun” Hernandez (112 lbs)
The final preliminary match featured the lone female fight of the night. In my mind it was the dubbed the “Battle of OTM at the Battle at Bellagio” as both women were adorned in OTM shorts and insignia. In the blue corner was K-1 legend Cung Le’s understudy Van Do Milnes (7-3) of San Jose, California who had Cung Le in her corner. Standing across the ring from Milnes in the red corner was the hometown Las Vegas, Nevada native and Master Toddy student Ardra “The Mexican Machine Gun” Hernandez (12-1), who is well-known from her time spent on the Oxygen Network’s Muay Thai reality television show “Fight Girls”.
Ardra Hernandez took the center of the ring to start the action. She appeared to have the strength and power advantage, but Van Do Milnes countered with her speed and accuracy as she picked her shots from the outside. Hernandez landed more power shots, but Milnes won more of the exchanges.
Both women were fearless headed into the second stage, while also appearing to be picking up the pace. Hernandez tried to close the gap to engage in more of a punching game as Milnes appears content utilizing outside angles to strike Hernandez with leg kicks and body kicks. The round ended with Milnes landing more blows.
The final frame saw much of the same with both women using short snapping punches and leg kicks exclusively. However, the pace had slowed substantially, as both women appeared to be exhausted in the fight’s final minutes. Milnes had found her range and took more initiative peppering Hernandez from the outside, which in the eyes of the judges was enough to earn her the unanimous decision vitory (29-28 from all 3 judges).
Quarter-Final #1 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Tsuyoshi Nakasako (207 lbs) vs. Alexandre Pitchkounov (226 lbs)
The first quarter-final match saw the lone Russian and Japanese representatives square off. The tournament favorite was the Kyokushin Karate stylist and World Grand Prix 2007 in Hawaii finalist Alexandre Pitchkounov (7-1-1 : 3 KO’s) pitted against a fellow Karate stylist in the Japanese fighter Tsuyoshi Nakasako (18-24-1 : 5 KO’s). On paper and in the sports books, this was by far the most lopsided fight of the night with Pitchkounov coming in as a heavy favorite and it appeared that Pitchkounov was given a most favorable first round draw due to his recent success.
The fight began with Alexandre Pitchkounov in the red corner and Tsuyoshi Nakasako in the blue corner enaging in a caustious and tedious first round feeling out process as neither man is looking to take a risk as they try to find their range. Nakasako has a full head of hair on the right side of his head with the left side shaved. However, his fighting style is much more conservative, as he appears reluctant to open up and trade with Pitchkounov.
The second round began with a restless crowd, as each fighter exchange leg kicks. The men start picking up the pace as you can hear the impact of their kicks. Nakasako begins aggressing early on, but Pitchkounov was able to avoid any damage and settled in. He unloaded an arsenal of kicks that began connecting with devastating force. Nakasako was subsequently taken to the mat for an eight-count with a gnarly uppercut that landed on the button. As the fight continued, Nakasako was quickly knocked down again with a stiff jab. Nakasako would survive the two-knockdown rule, as the second time he hit the mat, it was ruled a trip, allowing Nakasako to close out the round.
Nakasako again opened the third round the aggressor, but quickly found himself unable to inflict any damage on the more skillful Russian, while he was forced to eat heavy blows from Pitchkounov every time he tried to engage. Nakasako finished the round bloodied and battered, while covering up from a decision-minded Pitchkounov, who appeared to be saving himself for the up-coming tournament rounds. The final bell rang and it was Pitchkounov’s hand raised with a 30-26 (three times) unanimous decsion.
Quarter-Final #2 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Rick “Savage” Cheek (255 lbs) vs. Imani “The Juggernaut” Lee (310 lbs)
The second quarter-final match saw the two largest competitors in the tournament face off. Rick “Savage” Cheek (19-0 : 17 KO’s) against the massively built Imani “The Juggernaut” Lee (17-4 : 12 KO’s). The fight was Cheek’s return to K-1 after just amassing three consecutive Mixed Martial Arts wins in Gladiator Challenge spanning five months with his last win in May. Along with his recent MMA accolades, Cheek is also an undefeated kickboxer and former United States Air Force and Armed Services heavyweight boxing champion. The undefeated Cheek started the tournament favored only slightly below Pitchkounov as a favorite in the Las Vegas sports books. However, he would be facing a veteran of last year’s “Battle at the Bellagio” who nearly shocked Michael McDonald in a second round match as a replacement, in the gelatinous and imposing form of Imani Lee’s 310 pound frame. The winner of the quarter-final match would have a clearly advantageous size advantage the rest of the night by advancing into the Semi-Finals.
Rick Cheek and Imani Lee touched gloves and seemed to be trying out various strikes in an attempt to get a feel for each other, while trying to find their range. The much bigger Lee attempted a spinning heel kick much to the amusement of the crowd and Cheek attempted a spinning back fist, which would have made MMA fighter Shonie Carter proud. Cheek repeatedly danced backwards to avoid Lee’s heavy hands and was able to connect with several straight jabs before the close of the fist round.
The second round saw both fighters throwing with more force, as every strike was audible upon impact. Cheek landed a spinning back fist and Lee answered with a solid kick to Cheek’s ribs that echoed throughout the ballroom, which inevitably drew the crowd to their feet as these big men continued to bang it out to the end of the round.
The final round saw Lee looking to bring the fight to Cheek. He charged at Cheek and tried using his size to force him against the ropes. Cheek circled to avoid being boxed in, while opting to use the outside to reestablish his range. Midway through the round Cheek delivered a sharp powerful shot to the ample belly of Lee, which momentarily had Lee doubled over in pain. Cheek waisted no time going in for the kill by following with a flying knee from a Thai clinch, which connected with the back of Lee’s neck as Lee toppled over in pain from the shot to his gut. As Lee turned away from Cheek the referee stopped the fight at 1:52 and gave the TKO victory to Rick Cheek. Imani Lee began appealing to the referee and crowd that it had been an illegal groin shot which had doubled him over, but the replays on the big screens throughout the venue proved otherwise, so the crowd made sure to boo Lee for being a crybaby.
Quarter-Final #3 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Rickard Nordstrand (199 lbs) vs. Patrick Barry (232 lbs)
The evening’s third quarter-final match paired the heavy-hitting Ernesto Hoost protégé Patrick Barry (14-3-1 : 8 KO’s) of New Orleans, Louisiana against the professional Swedish hockey player and Muay Thai stylist Rickard Nordstrand (16-6 : 3 KO’s).
From the first bell Patrick Barry came out swinging for the fences, almost immediately connecting with an overhand right, while establishing himself as the more confident and aggressive fighter. He proceeded to unleash a barrage of high kicks to Rickard Norstrand’s head, which brought the crowd to its collective feet as they felt a brutal KO finish was in the works. Nordstrand showed some resilience by managing to escape most of this onslaught, but he was finally dropped for an eight-count by a thunderous left high kick. Despite two inadvertent groin shots from Nordstrand, Barry finished out the round constantly stalking Nordstrand around the ring.
Barry was able to quickly stagger Nordstrand with solid right kicks to the ribs at the start of the second stage. Nordstrand then retaliated by delivering yet another accidental groin shot with his foot. After Barry had time to recover, Nordstrand charged across the ring for an attempted flying knee. A noticably irritated Barry proceeded to punish Norstrand with an unforgiving right hook and an “accidental” groin shot of his own. This time with Nordstrand given time to recover, it was Barry who was first to the draw, delivering a sickening right leg kick to Nordstrand’s already abused legs, which dropped Nordstrand for good at the 2:16 mark. In Thailand, there is an old adage that “if you kill the legs, the head will fall”. These words proved to be all too true, as Barry’s hand was raised in victory, while Nordstrand lay helplessly on the mat unable to rise again under his own power.
Quarter-Final #4 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Esh’Chadar “The Dispossessor” Brown Ton (221 lbs) vs. Zabit “Darting Arrow” Samedov (203 lbs)
The fourth and final quarter-final match pitted the Belarus native and Azerbaijan resident Zabit Samedov (50-5 : 26 KO’s) against the Miami, Florida native and Dallas, Texas resident Esh’Chadar “The Dispossessor” Brown Ton (6-1 : 3 KO’s). Earlier this year Samedov’s ring savvy and skill had won over the Dutch fans, while advancing to the Semi-Finals in the World Grand Prix 2007 in Amsterdam. This time, he would look to do the same with the fans, while looking to advance further than he did in Holland.
The fight started off with an accidental head-butt in a clinch that bloodied Brown Ton’s face, as he appeared to be visibly shaken from the blow. Samedov then proceeded to unleash a fury of spinning heel kicks, super-man punches, and menacing hooks to the body. Brown Ton was driven around the ring like a toy car, until he finally dropped to one knee, seeking a brief refuge from Samedov’s wrath while trapped against the ropes. Brown Ton regained his feet only to hear the bell announce the end of the round.
In between rounds Brown Ton sat in his corner bloodied and appeared to be mentally and physically beaten from the first 3 minutes. Meanwhile, Samedov’s face glistened with energy and the faintest of grins as he knew it was time to finish the job. The second round saw Brown Ton’s face wiped clean of blood, but his nose had definitely been abused. Samedov circled and stalked Brown Ton before finally dropping him to his knees in the corner with a spinning heel kick to the ribs that would make MMA star Georges St. Pierre stand and take notice. When Brown Ton was unable to rise to his feet, the referee stopped the fight at the 1:05 mark via KO. Samedov then jumped up on the ropes with his hand raised in victory to the thunderous approval of cheers from the crowd.
In a last minute change of events, it was announced Thursday that Germany’s Chalid “Die Faust” Arrab was unable to obtain a travel visa from his homeland. He was subsequently scratched from this mega-card where he had been scheduled to square off with two-time K-1 tournament champion, Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga. It was then announced that Israel’s Ariel Mastov, who is currently training out of Legend’s Gym in Hollywood, California, had been signed to fill the vacant slot on the card’s Superfight lineup, which due to Arrab’s absence had been amended to match Mastov with Petr Vondracek. Vondracek’s original Superfight opponent was originally slated to be Stefan “Blitz” Leko, but with Vondracek now facing Mastov, Leko will do battle with the aforementioned “Mighty Mo”. The third and final Superfight bout between K-1 superstar Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo and Swiss fighter Bjorn “The Rock” Bregy will proceed as planned.
Superfight #1 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Petr Vondracek (238 lbs) vs. Ariel Mastov (205 lbs)
In the first of the three Superfights, designed to give the tournament fighters a breather inbetween bouts, featured the Czech Republic’s Petr Vondracek (44-19 : 23 KO’s) against Israel’s Kyokushin Karate champion Ariel Mastov (10-1 : 7 KO’s).
This fight began with firworks in the first round, which saw Ariel Mastov taking Petr Vondracek to the mat with wicked axe kick that appeared to be taken straight out of a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. Vondracek received a standing eight count with his eyes rolling in his head as he slumped against the corner from the staggering spear of a heel, which had struck his belly with a purpose. The return to action, saw the karateka Mastov open his full repertoire of karate techniques, which included a dazzling display of aerial flying high kicks and spinning heel kicks. Vondracek ultimately rallied to box Mastov into a corner, trying to utilize his superior strength in the clinch, after Matov proved to be superior in the technique department.
In a reversal of fortune, the action continued in the second round with Vondracek dishing out the punishment. Mastov was taken down for a standing eight count with a series of solid right hands to his dome piece. Mastov returned to action visably dazed and exhausted, as he awkawrdly threw misguided kicks that would have missed water if they fell off a boat. At one point, he even tripped himself to the mat while trying to kick Vondracek who was standing a good foot or two away. As Vondracek began to punch at will, Mastov could do nothing but cover up against the ropes. Timing Vondracek’s leg strikes, Mastov began to fight back by checking Vondracek’s right leg kicks and pushed Vondracek to the mat. The round ended with one round having gone to each fighter, but Mastov clearly looking the weaker and more fatigued of the two men.
The third and final round began with Mastov delivering punches from inside the clinch and continuing to catch Vondracek’s leg kicks to push him to the mat. As the referee warned him for this tactic, he pled that it was accidental and the action resumed. Vondracek began to move forward to press the action with his size and strength advantage. Mastov saw a sequence in Vondracek’s slow and methodical footwork and exposed it by delivering a perfectly timed a spinning heel kick to the midsection of Vondracek. The blow was identical to the one that nearly stopped Vondracek in the first round and the stinging impact brought the larger Vondracek to his knees. As the referee reached an eight count, Vondracek waived off the fight as he was unable to continue, which gave the Superfight victory to Mastov at 1:52 via KO.
Semi-Final #1 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Doug Viney (207 lbs) vs. Alexandre Pitchkounov (226 lbs)
Before the two semi-final matches began, it was announced that first round victor Rick “Savage” Cheek would be unable to continue in the tournament due to injuries sustained in his opening round win over Imani Lee. This gave the reserve fight winner Doug Viney of New Zealand a place in the semi-finals against the tournament favorite Alexandre Pitchkounov of Russia.
The first round saw the Ray Sefo understudy Doug Viney further display his boxing prowess by taking Alexandre Pitchkounov into the corner with a flurry of punches. Pitchkounov managed to emerge from the corner without enduring too much damage, but he was still bloodied from the exchange and looked a bit hesitant throughout the remainder of the opening round.
The second frame saw a restless audience and very little action as Viney looked content to counterpunch and protect his first round lead, whereas Pitchkounov too was unable to connect with anything of interest as he looked a bit beleaguered from the wear and tear of Viney’s hands in the opening round. The fans booed and hissed in the closing moments of Round 2 for having to endure such a lull of a round.
Viney and Pitchkounov both appeared to have regained a second wind entering the final frame as both combatants were exchanging dangerous flurries. However, a visably fatigued Pitchkounov was unable to muster enough force to even phase Viney, despite connecting with a solid left high kick followed by an axe kick to the head. The final frame ended with a unanimous decision victory going to Doug Viney (29-28, 30-27, 29-28).
Semi-Final #2 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Zabit Samedov (203 lbs) vs. Patrick Barry (232 lbs)
The second semi-final match saw the heavy-hitting Bayou native Patrick Barry squaring off with the charismatic Caspian Sea inhabitant Zabit Samedov. The audience was on their feet cheering as both men entered the ring, as most people in attendance now expected the winner of this match to be the overall tournament champion.
The opening round began with a relentless display of strikes, as each fighter pushed a steady pace. Patrick Barry left a clinch, complaining of a groin strike with Zabit Samedov shaking his head in denial and the audience booing for the delay. The action resumed with the smaller Samedov pushing the action with sick hand speed, appearing to try and fatigue the stronger Barry. Samedov began attacking Barry’s massive thighs with razor-like leg kicks. Barry responded by connecting with left high kick, but only found an unimpressed Samedov taunting him for more with some flashy head movement taken straight out of Roy Jones Jr.’s showmanship repertoire.
The second round saw a slower and more conservative pace from both combatants. Barry attempted to return Samedov’s leg kicks with some bruisers of his own, but Samedov cautiously fended off each attack by pushing Barry back with some front kicks to the stomach before finally attacking Barry’s swollen pink thighs again with a leg kick.
The final round saw Barry pushing Samedov againt the ropes and again trying to deliver high kicks with little to no effect. The two continued to exchange blows with Samedov fearlessly egging Barry on for more, as the audience took note and voiced their approval in excitement. The fight went to the judges, which may have been influenced by Samedov’s showmanship (as he kept indicating Barry’s shots were causing no damage) and the close split-decision victory was awarded to Zabit Samedov (28-29, 29-28, 30-27).
Superfight #2 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Stefan “Blitz” Leko (215 lbs) vs. Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga (299 lbs)
The second Superfight was the most anticipated fight of the night as it featured the Samoan Bulldozer in K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Hawaii champion Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga against two-time World Grand Prix in Las Vegas champion and four-time K-1 tournament winner Stefan “Blitz” Leko (71-54-15 : 32 KO’s, 1 No Contest). The German Leko, fighting out of the famed Golden Glory team and the Samoan-American fan favorite “Mighty Mo”have already earned their automatic passes to September’s K-1 Final Elimination in Seoul, South Korea, so this fight offered a look at the form that both fighters are currently showing.
The two K-1 legends entered the ring with Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga enjoying the clear hometown favorite treatment with a raucous roar of cheers from the audience. The two-time World Grand Prix in Las Vegas champion Stefan Leko appeared unphased by the huge weight difference and biased crowd as he started things off with his trademark stance pointing one arm at Mighty Mo in what could be desribed as a modified Heisman Trophy stance. The first round saw Leko delivering a series of spinning heel kicks, stinging leg kicks, and spinning back fists to the torso of the much bigger Mighty Mo, while Mighty Mo seemed content to bide his time and wait for an opening.
The second stanza saw Leko landing shots to Mighty Mo’s gelatinous midsection (complete with “SAMOA” tattooed across it) with little effect as it appeared Mighty Mo’s belly absorbed each blow with little effect. Mighty Mo tried his trademark overhand right, but missed with Leko tripping backwards in frantic scurry to avoid a dooming blow. Mighty Mo would attempt the overhand right once more before the end of the round, but it only glanced Leko with little effect.
The final round found Mighty Mo obviously fatigued and unable to land any strong shots. Leko persisted with an assortment of kicks, though none landed with any real impact. The fight ended with the decision going to the judges, who gave a unanimous decision (30-27 on all 3 cards) in favor of Stefan “Blitz” Leko. The crowd erupted in disapproval and left many questioning Mighty Mo’s conditioning headed into South Korea next month.
Superfight #3 (3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Bjorn “The Rock” Bregy (279 lbs) vs. Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo (250 lbs)
The third Superfight saw the legendary K-1 showman Ray “Sugarfoot” Sefo (61-15-1 : 49 KO’s) squaring off with the K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Amsterdam finalist in the 6 foot, 8 inch, 280 pound Swiss leviathan Bjorn “The Rock” Bregy (14-7 : 8 KO’s). Sefo a native of New Zealand having relocated to Las Vegas was the clear fan favorite. However, there would be more incentive on the line other than gaining bragging rights and pleasing his fans. This would also be the last chance for Sefo and Bregy to earn consideration for a Wild Card in September’s K-1 Final Elimination in Seoul, South Korea.
The fighters entered the ring with the New Zealander and current Las Vegas resident Ray Sefo clearly the hometown fan favorite. The Switzerland born Bjorn Bregy’s massive size was evident as the fighters touched gloves with Bregy a full 8 inches over Sefo. The fight began cautiously with the crowd eager for action. Bregy began with his straight jabs easily slipping through with Sefo repeatedly taunting Bregy on with his trademark smirk. Sefo was able to land some solid leg kicks, but overall it was an actionless first round that left the fans with much to be desired.
The second round saw the fight escalate a bit in action, as Bregy continued stroking Sefo in the jaw with his jabs, while Sefo was unable to return any good shots. Sefo became noticeably frustrated as Bregy persistently moved backwards as Sefo tried to close the substantial striking distance, which weighed heavily in favor of Bregy due to his obvious reach advantage. This frustrated Sefo as he appeared to be pleading to Bregy to enagage and go toe-to-tow instead of utilizing his reach advantage. Even when Sefo was able to close the distance, Bregy clinched and beared down hard on Sefo’s neck until they were separated by the referee.
The final round ended the fight with much of the same inaction. Ultimately it turned out to be a slow plodding affair, that saw Sefo unable to break through Bregy’s reach and Bregy content to cover up and drop jabs through Sefo’s guard. The long tedious decision went to the judges and the crowd voiced its displeasure when it was announced that their favorite Ray Sefo had lost a close split-decision. Bjorn Bregy won the split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Las Vegas Final
(3 rounds x 3 minutes with possible extra round):
Zabit Samedov (203 lbs) vs. Doug Viney (207 lbs)
For the tournament’s final match it was the Belarus native Zabit Samedov who currently makes his home on the Caspian Sea in the country of Azerbaijan against the man from down under in the Auckland, New Zealand native and Ray Sefo protégé Doug Viney, who advanced all the way to this final match as an alternate reserve fighter. Viney’s true warrior spirit had unexpectedly propelled him to the main event, while carrying on the emblematic Polynesian winning tradition established by his mentor Sefo as well as fellow Kiwi K-1 champion Mark Hunt.
Going into the fight Doug Viney’s cornerman and coach would be not be present, as Ray Sefo had just just finished his Superfight with Bjorn Bregy only moments earlier. The final match began in rapid fashion with Zabit Samedov throwing several flashy high kicks, while Viney favored the use of his boxing skills. Samedov took the worse of the early exchanges, as he was unable to connect cleanly with his kicks while taking powerful uppercuts and stiff jabs to the face from Viney.
The second stanza opened with Viney landing a solid right high kick to Samedov’s noodle. Samedov answered by showcasing his superior hand speed with a fast 1-2 combination. The back and forth exhanges continued as they finished out the second round with Samedov characteristically taunting Viney and playing to the crowd by exposing his head, while bobbing and weaving in his best Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope impersonation.
The third and final round of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Las Vegas began with Samedov trying to close in and connect with Viney. He may have sensed he was behind on the judge’s scorecards and appeared to be picking up the pace. Viney continued to pick his shots with precision and methodically picked apart Samedov’s defense. He used his jab with authority, which began to show its effect on Samedov’s face. As the end of the match began to reach its waning moments, Samedov tried a few desperation high kicks. However, his legs were still suffereing the effects of facing tougher first round opponent’s than Viney and they caused little damage. Viney absorbed the kicks with little effect and continued to out box Samedov even staggering Samedov before falling into a clinch.
When the final bell of the night rang, both Samedov and Viney raised their hands as they each believed they had done enough to earn the victory. The charimatic Samedov had won many fans, but just as many fans were pulling for the underdog Viney who entered the night as an alternate. When the scorecards were collected by the judges it was announced that by three consecutive scores of 29-28, that the reserve fighter from New Zealand, Doug Viney, would be crowned the K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Las Vegas champion via unanimous decision. Viney celebrated with his team, including Ray Sefo who had returned to the ring to join the celebration, while a clearly disappointed Zabit Samedov turned to the crowd in appeal as he looked visibly confused and dejected.
K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Las Vegas (August 11, 2007)
Match Winner Loser Method Round Time
1 Raymond Daniels over Peyton Russel TKO (Three Knockdown Rule) Round 3, 2:20
2 Doug Viney over Mahmoud Fawzy TKO (Two Knockdown Rule) Round 1, 2:08
3 Van Do Milnes over Ardra Hernandez Decision (Unanimous) Round 3, 3:00
4 Alexandre Pitchkounov over Tsuyoshi Nakasako Decision (Unanimous) Round 3, 3:00
5 Rick Cheek over Imani Lee TKO (Strikes) Round 3, 1:52
6 Patrick Barry over Rickard Nordstrand KO (Leg Kick) Round 2, 2:16
7 Zabit Samedov over Esh’Chadar Brown Tom KO (Spinning Heel Kick) Round 2, 1:05
8 Ariel Mastov over Petr Vondracek KO (Spinning Heel Kick) Round 3, 1:52
9 Doug Viney over Alexandre Pitchkounov Decision (Unanimous) Round 3, 3:00
10 Zabit Samedov over Patrick Barry Decision (Split) Round 3, 3:00
11 Stefan Leko over Siala Siliga Decision (Unanimous) Round 3, 3:00
12 Bjorn Bregy over Ray Sefo Decision (Split) Round 3, 3:00
13 Zabit Samedov over Doug Viney Decision (Unanimous) Round 3, 3:00