Bushido Middleweight Grand Prix
Opening Round preview
On August 25th, the Camden Conference Centre will open its doors to an event unlike ever before - The international tournament known as the Bushido Middleweight Grand Prix. The opening round features eight fighters from six different countries, with all of them vying for the same prize - Glory. This will be the first time that Bushido has hosted an event on foreign soil and what better place to have the opening round than London, the birthplace of modern Boxing.
Middleweight Grand Prix
Buzz Meeks (3-3-1, Bushido Debut) vs. Seung-Jin "SJB" Bailey (9-4-0, 4-1-0 Bushido)
In the first fight of the evening, two young and promising competitors will clash as Buzz Meeks and Seung-Jin Bailey face off. In the red corner we welcome the first Azerbaijani fighter to grace our ranks, former DFC Middleweight Buzz Meeks as he makes his promotional debut this evening. And in the blue, we will welcome former Bushido Light-Heavyweight title contender, South-Korea's Seung-Jin Bailey.
Fighting out of New York, Azerbaijan's Buzz Meeks will be looking to put an end to the losing streak he has amassed as of late with a win in this opening round. Since losing for the third time in a row back on Ascension 0513, Meeks took some much-needed time out to work on his game before coming back to the ring. Due to his impressive training footage that was circling social media as well as a rumor of his imminent return, an invitation to the Grand Prix was thrown his way - and here we are. Meeks is a naturally heavy-handed fighter and has won all of his fights so far by way of Knockout, all within the first round. His power, made greater by his exceptional Muay Thai, is the key to his successes in the octagon and these skills will play a huge part in his fight this evening. Buzz will have to keep his questionable chin tucked and exploit the weaknesses in his opponent's Muay Thai if he wants to progress to the second round.
Formally known as "The Beast of Busan", Seung-Jin Bailey made his return to the Bushido ranks on Bushido 60 after an extended period in other organisations. With a 59 second Knockout of Ryu Aokison on his first fight back, the imposing South Korean had earned a place in this tournament. To this day, Bailey has earned each of his nine wins by way of Knockout and has also suffered all four of his losses by (T)KO, one being via cut. This means that both Meeks and Bailey fight with a double-edged sword as both possess high knockout power, at the cost of questionable chins. Bailey is a Boxer, a Sensational one at that and like previously mentioned, his weakness lies in Muay Thai so he will need to weary of the kicks and clinches of his opponent. It is also worth noting that Bailey is far larger than Meeks, as his natural weight is around 202 lbs before cutting compared to that 190 lbs for Meeks. This means that the Korean may move slower than his opponent this evening, but could have the strength and power advantages. This is all speculation however as we do not know what happens until the bell sounds!
The winner of this fight will earn a spot in the second round of the tournament in Las Vegas, and will be one step closer to glory.
Middleweight Grand Prix
Jukka Toskala (14-3-0, 8-2-0) vs. Corwin "Vindicate" Valentine (4-4-0, Bushido Debut)
The second fight of the evening is between two men that are at completely different stages of their career as Bushido Hall of Famer and former Welterweight Champion Jukka Toskala returns to the ring, meeting the much younger and far less experienced Corwin Valentine. This will be the first time that a 30 year old has clashed with someone eight years his junior in the red and white Bushido ring, and what better event for it to happen than the first ever Bushido Grand Prix.
With more credits to his name than most fighters, the esteemed Finnish Phenom Jukka Toskala looks to add another to his list of achievements and to do so he must first get past his opponent this evening. It is unsurprising that Toskala is one of the competition favourites given that he once held one of the longest winning-streaks in company history, as well as being the Former Welterweight Champion with three title defences. The main key to Toskala's success is his Wrestling, as he uses it to help him enforce his will on his opponents in the clinch, often breaking them down and earning him a Knockout victory. To this day there has yet to be a man Toskala feared so much that he'd avoid the close-exchanges, and similarly none have bested him in that area either. It doesn't take a master analyst to know that the Hall of Famer will aim to drag Valentine into the clinch and make it a dirty fight. Whether it would be enough to earn him a place in the next round however, remains unanswered.
Opposite Toskala will stand the young and ready Corwin Valentine as he looks to impress all on his promotional debut, letting it be known that he deserves a place in this prestigious competition. Before losing his last two bouts via cut to a man almost literally twice his size, Corwin enjoyed a short winning streak in which he was defeating opponents of all shapes and sizes, by all different means. It would be a lie if I claimed Corwin was as skilled as Toskala on paper as it simply is not true - but Valentine is a survivor, always pushing for the takedown and not stopping until he gets it. Even in the clinch where Toskala shines bright, Corwin has shown an understanding of Muay Thai as he kneed the ever-loving-shit out of former foe Hesekiel Troot when the pair clashed not too long ago. It is doubtful that he will survive in the close-exchanges with Toskala however, and the youngster must rely on getting the fight to the mat if he wishes to do what he does best. It's an uphill battle for young Corwin this evening, but a win tonight would set him up for wonderful things in the future.
The winner of this bout joins the winner of the previous as the second man to progress in the Bushido Middleweight Grand Prix!
Middleweight Grand Prix
"The Gypsy" Khalid Mamedov (8-3-0, 3-0-0 Bushido) vs. Zell Dincht (8-3-0, 1-1-0 Bushido)
The third fight of the tournament is possibly the one with the most eyes on it as the current reigning Middleweight Champion, Khalid Mamedov looks to defeat former adversary in the former DFC & AFL Middleweight Champion - Zell Dincht as the two meet for a second time. In their previous fight Mamedov quickly earned the takedown after a brief exchange on the feet, and from then on he would work for a submission that finally came to fruition late in the opening round. As this is a non-title fight, Mamedov risks not his belt but pride in this fight, and a trilogy may come about if Dincht is to walk away the winner.
Fighting out of Las Vegas but born in Romania, self-proclaimed "Gypsy" Khalid Mamedov looks to challenge himself further, and he noted at the press conference that by winning this tournament he would cement his legacy as the top Middleweight. With notable wins over former Middleweight King Benson Whyte as well as his opponent this evening Zell Dincht, it is no surprise that Mamedov has the most eyes on him going into this tournament as he is a fighter unlike many others. The Romanian boasts a diverse and high level skill-set as his Elite Boxing and Black Belt in BJJ have earned him multiple knockout victories as well as submissions, making him an extremely dangerous man in all areas of the game. Not a man to take lightly. Mamedov isn't untouchable however, as the Champion has found himself on the recieving end of knockouts and submissions, and some analysts believe his chin isn't all that great. Mamedov is a product of hard work and elite techniques, and he does not rely on god-given gifts to earn victories, making him all the more dangerous.
Looking to earn redemption in the form of sweet vengeance is none other than former DFC and AFL Middleweight Champion Zell Dincht. Admitting that he underestimated the Champion the last time that they fought, Dincht will be coming into this rematch with a laser focus and a complete understanding that Khalid Mamedov is one of the toughest 185ers on the planet in this ID range. A master of Muay Thai, Dincht will be looking to exploit the weakness of his opponent and must avoid the ground game to the best of his abilities or it could spell disaster. With a granite chin and heavy hands his chances are more than great this evening. With these two perks, Dincht has earned a number of knockout victories, and will no doubt be hoping to add another this evening. One thing is for certain though, and its that Zell must change his gameplan from the first time these two met, to avoid getting caught by the takedown early.
Will the Champion make it to round 2, or will he go home early? Find out tomorrow night, live from the Camden Conference Centre.
Middleweight Grand Prix
"The Man They Call" Jayne Cobb (8-2-0, Bushido Debut) vs. Nam "The Fifth Tiger" Ho (18-4-0, Bushido Debut)
The final fight of the opening round is between two of the most interesting characters in the line up as former AFC Middleweight Champion Jayne Cobb takes on The Island Season 6 winner and LIA Middleweight Champion Nam Ho, for a place in the second round. Riding the momentum of a four fight win-streak, Jayne Cobb will be looking to extend it this evening as he makes his promotional debut. To do so he will need to pass the extremely experienced The Island sensation Nam Ho, who recently had his long streak of wins put to an end.
After watching his career progress under the banner of DFC, Jayne Cobb was extended an invitation to the Grand Prix by Bushido executives due to his number of great victories as well as his interesting persona. Primarily a grappler, Cobb aims to take the fight down early where he begins to break down his opponents with strikes followed by submission attempts. In an awe-aspiring move, Cobb managed to earn a submission victory in no more than 13 seconds from the starting bell as he forced the aforementioned Buzz Meeks to tap out due to a tight Kimura. Cobb has been out of action for quite some time now and when rumors of his return to MMA began circling the web, none were surprised to hear he'd make his comeback as part of this tournament. It will be interesting to see how Cobb deals with the wrestling of his opponent this evening, and whether or not he can dominate Ho on the ground like others have in the past.
With a tiger mask laced up on his face and a pro wrestling belt of sorts draped over his shoulder, The Island Season 6 standout Nam Ho will make his walk to the Bushido ring this evening with all eyes on him. With a fanbase like no other fighter in a promotion, "The Fifth Tiger" no doubt expects to get the largest reaction from the crowd when the time comes. They say the crowd can't fight for you however, and luckily for Busan's Nam Ho, he has the skills needed so that it is not a problem. With fantastic Boxing, decent Muay Thai and great Wrestling Nam Ho is a well-rounded individual that has the ability to survive wherever the fight may take place. You don't earn 16 career knockouts out of 18 wins without doing something right, and some say that Nam Ho's talents come from the Tiger mask he is allowed to wear in the ring.
Will "The Man They Call" Jayne Cobb join the three others waiting in the second round, or will "The Fifth Tiger" Nam Ho let his animal side out this evening? Find out that and more by tuning in!
Thanks for reading!