By Neil Manich
Since Mousasi absolutely blasted aging Japanese K-1 legend Musashi in under a round at Dynamite 2008, I’ve always wanted to see how he’d fare in more straight kickboxing affairs. Apparently FEG agreed with me. The selling point here is fairly simple. Mousasi destroyed the greatest Japanese heavyweight ever, and now Kyotaro wants to defend K-1’s honor. Theoretically a fighter as accomplished as Kyotaro in K-1 should be able to handle an inexperienced kickboxer in Mousasi with ease, but I don’t think this fight is that simple at all.
When asked in a recent interview whether or not Mousasi was worried about going up against the K-1 heavyweight champion he responded in the negative. In fact, he argued, he was even more confident because it allowed him to fight aggressively and not worry about takedowns. And if history is any indication, I believe him. Mousasi went right at Musashi two years ago and showed he was in no way intimidated by the change in rules. He has proven himself over his recent bouts to be one of the best MMA strikers in the division. Also, Overeem has shown that with some polishing and dedication, a gifted MMA striker can find success in the K-1 field.
That being said, Mousasi isn’t gifted with the same natural advantages that Overeem was. Until fairly recently, Overeem’s entire offensive kickboxing arsenal was to get inside and muscle his opponents in the clinch until he could land one of his cement knees. If not, he would just use his MMA repertoire to dump his opponent. Overeem was able to pull this off so successfully because the dude is massive. He’s called Ubereem for a reason. To my knowledge, Mousasi has never been given a nickname that sweet. And for good reason. He’s not massive. He won’t be able to out brute anybody.
Also unfortunately for Mousasi, his aggressive attack is just going to open him up for Kyotaro’s counter right hands. The same counter right hands that have been knocking down strikers much more experienced than Mousasi. As much as I’d like to see it, I just don’t see how Mousasi gets past Kyotaro. The only way I see this fight ending is with Mousasi on his back, but hopefully not before he’s had some success. Win or lose, I’d like to see Mousasi fight K-1 more often, this matchmaking is just to much for him to handle.