K-1 WORLD GP 2000 FINAL ROUND 12/10/00 Tokyo Dome
Takayuki Kohiruimaki vs Wilfred Montagne R5 1:46. A dull fight with neither combatant fighting aggressively. There were few combinations, as both were content to squeeze in a low kick without taking a shot back. Still, most of the strikes were blocked or checked. Montagne pressed some in the third, but intention only goes so far when the opposition is content to backpedal and guard. Kohiruimaki’s KO was highly impressive with a middle knee and body blow setting up the right high kick. Below average match.
K-1 WORLD GP 2000 Quarterfinals:
Ernesto Hoost vs. Mirko Cro Cop 4R. A very close fight with neither gaining any real advantage in the first two rounds. Hoost did a little better in the third, but not enough to warrant giving him the fight. Hoost fought the extra round as though it were life and death, very aggressively pressuring Mirko. We knew Hoost was the stronger of the two, and it was no surprise that he was able to win the clinches and get Cro Cop against the ropes, so one has to wonder why it took Ernesto so long. He should have forced the action from the outset, as Cro Cop is a bully who doesn’t handle his opponent taking it to him too well. You could see Cro Cop was a bit rattled in the extra round, and even if he didn’t exactly get beat up, he had no real answer. Hoost won a unanimous decision. Above average match.
Francisco Filho vs. Stefan Leko 5R. A matchup suitable for both kickboxers on paper, as Leko wants to constantly attack and Filho wants to counter. Filho showcased his impressive counter kicks in the first, actually forcing Leko to back up and defend. However, Leko countered with some good low kicks while Filho moved in to attack, leading to a closer 2nd round. Leko wasn’t getting off in the third because Filho either attacked or threw when Leko moved into range. I felt Filho won rounds 1 & 3, but only one judge gave him the victory. Filho’s failure to secure the decision prompted him to be more aggressive in the extra round, but forcing the issue killed his accuracy. I felt this was the most even round, and there was really no way you could not send it to the second extra round. Both men were tired and cautious in the fifth, though Filho was still afraid to fight his fight because the judges might give Leko the fight on aggression. Again, there was nothing to warrant giving the decision to either man, but at this point they had to make a decision, so they perhaps gave it to Filho based on being the better fighter over the course of the bout. Above average match.
Peter Aerts vs. Cyril Abidi 3R. Though he failed to garner the bye known as Musashi, Aerts had the easiest path to the finals with arguably the three worst fighters in his half of the bracket. Unfortunately, fighting an easy opponent given the stage, and I suppose I’m not being fair saying Abidi is easy given he was 11-2 at this point including two first round wins over Aerts, doesn’t mean that opponent isn’t a sinister sore loser. When Abidi got over aggressive, Aerts put him down with two short counter punches. A seemingly unphased Abidi didn’t change his strategy, continuing to take it to Aerts. When he couldn’t beat him with strikes, he scooped him up and dumped him. Abidi only grew more out of control as the fight progressed, badly busting open a cut he legitimately opened in the first with a third round headbutt. Though Abidi was a wild man who was going to piss Aerts off if he couldn’t beat him, I shouldn’t make it sound as though Abidi had no chance and was simply taking short cuts. Although he charges in headfirst, he’s younger and more energetic so the more he pushed the pace, the quicker he gained perhaps his only advantage, stamina. Abidi was more than willing to mix it up with Aerts, though Aerts is more powerful and accurate, so he was winning all the exchanges. The fight was quite entertaining in the typical all offense K-1 manner, with an especially big flurry at the end of round 1. Abidi came on in round 2, but threw everything full force, so he rarely landed and actually wound up being the more tired of the two in the third. Aerts really wanted to finish Abidi because he was sick of his questionable tactics, but Abidi finished him so to speak, as although Aerts won a unanimous decision, the cut prevented him from continuing on in the tournament. Very good match.
Ray Sefo vs Musashi R1 1:38. Next to Bob Sapp, Sefo is my pick for the most overrated fighter in K-1 history. He made his name with this run to the finals, but as usual he didn’t beat anyone good. Musashi was better in later years, in fact he avenged this loss at the 2003 WORLD GP Finals on 12/6/03, but at this point he’d lost to almost every non-native they put him up against. Sefo actually had an excellent balance of power and speed at this point, but this was still the typical one-dimensional Sefo match where he comes out slugging and either knocks his opponent out or gets knocked out. In this case, Musashi couldn’t handle his barrage of punch combos.
K-1 WORLD GP 2000 Semifinals:
Ernesto Hoost vs Francisco Filho 3R. Hoost pressured Filho just as Leko did, but was far more accurate with his punching, throwing crisp combinations that didn’t leave Filho many openings to fire back. Hoost’s combinations are on such a high level he almost doesn’t care if you block, as it really only prolongs your agony. He throws one blow with the next in mind, and if you defend it he gets off his follow up before you can launch your counter attack, so he hits you sooner or later. Filho rocked Hoost with a left uppercut in the third, but it was his only shining moment. Hoost won a unanimous decision. Above average match.
Ray Sefo vs Cyril Abidi R1 1:45. I hate these old tournaments where they don’t have any alternate matches. One Abidi loss was more than enough for me, but since the doctor wouldn’t allow Aerts to fight, we got to see him made a fool of a second time. The matchup was actually favorable to Abidi, as he had defeated Sefo in their previous match on 8/20/00, ironically a tournament semifinal after defeating Aerts for the second time in 2000. Sefo once again landed a barrage of punches early in the first for a quick knockdown, but Abidi, who fights a similar go for broke style, came right back with all guns blazing. Sefo stunned him with a left high kick though, then took him out with a punch combo. Exciting match.
Vale Tudo Match: Frank Shamrock vs Elvis Sinosic 5R. Shamrock was winning in standup and on the ground, stunning Elvis with a few punches then taking him down and trying to submit him. Sinosic could pull guard to avoid standup, but Shamrock hasn’t lost via submission since an early Pancrase fight with Minoru Suzuki on 4/8/95. Sinosic wasn’t too likely to get submitted either, though Frank possibly could have taken him out with a rear naked choke in the first if it wasn’t for the 3 minute rounds. The way to beat Elvis is through ground and pound, but Shamrock preferred not to go that route, only doing the bare minimum to try to open up a submission. They tired after round 3, but Shamrock continued to win every en route to the unanimous decision. Average match.
K-1 WORLD GP 2000 Final: Ernesto Hoost vs Ray Sefo 3R. Sefo was in the big leagues now, and well, in case you don’t know the story as of 10/10/08 his career record against Hoost is 0-3, Andy Hug is 0-2, Semmy Schilt is 0-2, Remy Bonjasky is 0-1, and Peter Aerts is 1-2. But hey, he did beat Bob Sapp. Sefo had some success with punches on the inside, but kept getting trapped against the ropes and in the corner, which made it even more difficult to defend Hoost’s offensive barrages. Though he kept looking to the ref to help him out with a break, Sefo actually defended well enough to stay in the match. The problem is even though he’s purely an offensive fighter, since he couldn’t stop Hoost from moving forward the entire fight, he was rarely able to take the offensive. Hoost won a unanimous decision. Above average match.