[div class=”notice” class2=”icon”]The following is from an article on LiverKick.com, part of the MiddleEasy Network.[/div]
This Sunday marks the second big K-1 event of the year, the 70kg MAX Japan tournament. Last year’s tournament featured Yuichiro Nagashima and Hiroki Nakajima scoring knockouts in their quarter and semifinal bouts which culminated in a dramatic 3rd round knockout by Nagashima in the finals in a wild brawl. This year’s tournament is extremely interesting because, for the first time, K-1 has placed a former K-1 MAX World Champion into the field in Albert Kraus. It is also interesting because of the new blood brought in by K-1. They have brought in young prospects in RISE Middleweight champion Takafumi Morita, Krush 70kg tournament champion Kenta and K-1 Koshien 2009 70kg champion Shintaro Matsukura. Returning from last year’s tournament are 2010 Japan MAX tournament finalist Hiroki Nakajima, 2009 K-1 World MAX semifinalist Yuya Yamamoto, 2008 Japan MAX tournament winner Yasuhiro Kido and Yuji Nashiro. Despite losing tournament mainstays Ryuji and Tatsuji as well as last year’s winner Yuichiro Nagashima and semifinalist Hinata, the tournament field is as strong as ever and could produce a couple new stars for K-1. I have decided to rank the fighters in this tournament by their likelihood of winning to give people who may not know much about some of the participating fighters an idea as to where each fighter stands entering the tournament.