1. Hiroaki Suzuki vs Joachim Hansen
In the first fight of the tournament, JMMA staple, Joachim Hansen will be facing off against Shoot Boxing’s Lightweight Champion, Hiroaki Suzuki. Hansen will be looking to get back in the win column after a 2011 loss to Kawajiri and Suzuki will be trying to keep his win-streak going.
CJ: I am going to go against my inner-MMA fan and pick Suzuki to win this fight. While MMA fighters have done well in Shoot Boxing, Hansen is being thrown to the wolves in his first Shoot Boxing fight. Without the time and experience to adapt, I think Suzuki will use his power and aggressiveness to take the decision.
IQ: An exceptionally difficult debut Shoot Boxing fight for Hellboy here. Suzuki has really established himself as the current Japanese ace since the last S-Cup with his discombobulating power. Ultimately Hansen will need to force a lot of clinch action and hope he can score some shoot points to have any chance but I think Suzuki’s power and Shoot Boxing experience will be too much as he KO’s Hellboy late in the fight.
2. Henri Van Opstal vs Bovy Sor Audomsorn
Coming off a victory against Jienotsu, which qualified him for the tournament, Henri will be facing off against a Muay Thai Champion in Bovy. Bovy qualified for the tournament with a 1st Round TKO of legend Akihiro Gono. This fight is a classic case of experience vs youth.
CJ: I am going with Henri. Bovy is an awesome fighter but I am not that impressed by his victory over Gono and recently he hasn’t been performing as well as used to. Henri is a hungry up and coming fighter who is looking to make a name for himself.
IQ: Man, as much as I love Bovy, I just can’t see him winning this. Bovy is so far out of his prime and really about as shot as you can get. He still has his power but I don’t think that will be enough against a technical young beast like Henri. Henri gets a unanimous decision.
3. Hiroki Shishido vs Gesias Cavalcante
Hiroki is coming off of a highlight spinning back fist KO of Satoru Suzuki and Gesias is coming off of a submission victory of T.J O’Brien. This will not be Hiroki’s first S-Cup, as he has been competing in Shoot Boxing since 2002. While Gesias is a predominantly MMA fighter he has fought in kick boxing before, a 2007 decision loss to Masato.
CJ: This fight is pretty tough to call. As they say, styles make fights and these two come from such different backgrounds that it is hard to tell how it is going to play out. If I had to guess, I would pick Gesias. If he fights the fight smart, like fellow MMA fighter Toby Imada, and mixes the grappling with his striking well he should be able to win.
IQ: This is indeed a very difficult fight to predict. Shishido is one the best Shoot Boxers of all time but is having a real rough patch right now and stylistically, I think this is one of the best possible matches for JZ but I’m going with Shishido. I don’t think JZ has the speed to make a Toby Imada gameplan work. He just isn’t physically on the same level as he was in HERO*S and I think Shishido will out point JZ from the outside all the way to a very close decision victory but he has to really be careful in the clinch.
4. Andy Souwer vs Kem Sitsongpeenong
In a battle of champions, Multiple S-Cup and K-1 Champion, Andy Souwer will be facing off against Muay Thai Champion Kem Sitsongpeenong. Souwer has had a busy year, having already fought four times this year winning an It’s Showtime title in the process. He also already has a fight scheduled for December. If you think Souwer had a busy year, then you will be blown away by Kem. He has already had ten fights this year and another scheduled in December. Both of these fighters are legends in their respective sports and this fight could be the best of the night.
CJ: I’m not gonna lie, this is the fight I am looking forward to the most. Champion vs Champion. While Kem is an amazing fighter with more experience than you can shake a stick at, I find it impossible to go against Souwer in any fight. Souwer is not only a kick boxing legend but he is also a Shoot Boxing legend. After watching him destroy Satoru Suzuki earlier this year, I think Souwer’s fighting spirit is brighter than ever.
IQ: I think that in the Shoot Boxing environment, you have to favor Andy over anyone because he’s simply the best to ever do it. I’m with you CJ, this fight will be very technical but Kem will have to overcome a few problems, he really cannot afford to start slow or take R1 off because Souwer will definably not be starting slow. Also, elbows are a huge weapon for Kem that he won’t be able to use but on the flipside of that, we’ve seen Andy have some problems against high level Muay Thai fighters so this bout is very intriguing. I gotta roll with Andy here, he’s been in this situation too many times to lose in the first round. It will be a tough fight but Souwer gets the judges nod.
Winner of the tournament predictions:
CJ: The winner will be…..Andy Souwer. After his disappointing run at last years tournament, I think he is going to come into this tournament like a killer. My main question for the tournament is what will happen if Andy has to fight his student Henri. Anyone who thinks he isn’t going to win is a blasphemer.
IQ: Well I’m a blasphemer then because, as much as I love me some Souwer Power, It’s Hiroaki Suzuki’s time to reign. He’s just hitting way too hard right now, he has all the skill and the momentum it takes to go all the way.