Kunlun Fight, one of the world’s top kickboxing promotions, returns to Dongguan, China on Sunday, March 20, for Kunlun Fight 39. The 11-fight card features two four-man, one-night tournaments as well as both MMA and kickboxing rules bouts.
The world’s most popular Muay Thai fighter, Buakaw Banchamek, returns to the ring following his exhibition battle at Kunlun Fight 38 last month. Buakaw’s storied kickboxing career includes more than 250 career wins and more titles than could ever be counted on two hands.
Since walking out on his 2014 K-1 MAX tournament final bout, not unlike Artem Levin’s decision to walk out on his championship fight with Simon Marcus at GLORY 27: Chicago, Buakaw has lost just once, a bloody and brutal war with rising Russian prospect Khayal Dzhaniev. Dzhaniev entered the 2016 Clash of Titans tournament field at the aforementioned Kunlun Fight 38. Dzhaniev dispatched of Japanese WBC Muay Thai champion Soichiro Miyakoshi and Kun Khmer star Pongthong Jetsada to win his four-man tournament block and move himself further in the year-long, 70-kilogram kickboxing rules tournament. Buakaw could eventually get his rematch with Dzhaniev outside of the tournament field, but the Muay Thai superstar has to get past Chinese martial artist, Kong Lingfeng.
Kong Lingfeng is a 22-year-old lightweight kickboxer who placed in multiple national san shou tournaments as a youth. The young fighter entered the talent-packed 2015 Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram tournament as just another kickboxer, but he emerged as one of the final eight members in the field of 64. Lingfeng defeated Wu Xuesong at Kunlun Fight 33 to move onto the quarterfinals against 2014 Kunlun Fight 70-kilogram tournament runner-up Victor Nagbe. Lingfeng fell short in the Kunlun Fight 35 match-up, dropping a decision and getting bounced out of the tournament.
The Clash of Titans 70-kilogram tournament series continues with two more one-night, four-man tournaments. The Group C tournament features the 2014 70-kilogram tournament runner-up and 2015 tournament finalist, Victor Nagbe taking on 2015 W5 71-kilogram grand prix champion Artem Pashporin in one semifinal. The 22-year-old Australian Nagbe has a world of experience fighting top fighters over the past two years, only losing to the fighters residing at the top of the division. Pashporin, 23, defeated veteran lightweights Cosmo Alexandre and Chris Ngimbi in one night to win the W5 GP tournament. Nagbe holds a win over the Russian prospect at Kunlun Fight 11 during the 2014 70-kilogram tournament quarterfinals. In the other tournament semifinal, Brazilian multiple-combat sport veteran Bruno “Robusto” Miranda enters the tournament on a week’s notice to face 26-year-old Chinese kickboxing product Li Zhuangzhuang. Both men bring heavy hands and knockout power into the tournament. Nagbe has to be the favorite to win the tournament, but he has a very tough fight ahead of him in the semifinals.
In the Group D tournament, Chinese kickboxing prospect Zhao Shuai takes on Japanese kickboxing champion Takuma Konishi. Moroccan kickboxer Sutafa Lakhsem takes on 40-fight veteran Seyedisa Alamdrnezam in the other tournament semifinal. This tournament field is more open for the taking, as there is no clear favorite to take home the tournament.
In the night’s other kickboxing action, Chinese Sanda fighter Yang Yu will defend his home territory against Ukranian Nikolay Gusniev. Yu has amassed 16 wins in his kickboxing career, however his greatest achievements came when he won the Chinese national Sanda title the past two years in a row. Gusniev, 30, has won multiple world Muay Thai titles in his young career. Gusniev has put together an impressive 17 wins in 20 bouts, only tasting defeat twice in his career.
Former K-1 MAX champion Albert Kraus returns to China to add to his four-fight winning streak against Liu Mingzhi. Kraus dispatched of Mingzhi late in their Kunlun Fight 36 bout from earlier this year. The third-round knockout gave Kraus his fourth straight, but the young Chinese kickboxer is looking for redemption when the two meet again.
Twenty-three-year-old South Korean kickboxing champion Kim Minsoo takes on popular Chinese prospect Deng Li. The 20-year-old hometown favorite will be looking to hand Kim only his third career loss. In a 64-kilogram bout, Chinese veteran Wei Ninghui attempts to fend off Georgian kickboxer Giorgi Khupenia.
In the evening’s mixed martial arts action, two of the top female fighters fighting in China will clash after meeting just two months ago at Kunlun Fight 36. Popular hometown fighter Tang “The Fighting Rose” Jin will look to defend her home turf against the surging Venezuelan veteran Karla Benitez, who earned a majority draw in their bout earlier this year. Also, 19-year-old Chinese bantamweight prospect Wu Tieyin takes on Brazilian Nilson “Feijao” Pereira.
The fight card airs live on Jiangsu TV.
Kunlun Fight 39 Predictions
95 kg: Yang Yu (16-4) vs. Nikolay Gusniev (17-2-1)
Yu by knockout
67 kg: Kim Minsoo (23-2) vs. Deng Li (23-8)
Li by decision
64 kg: Wei Ninghui (28-10) vs. Giorgi Khupenia (39-3)
Ninghui by decision
72 kg: Albert Kraus (78-19-3) vs. Liu Mingzhi (14-4)
Kraus by decision
70 kg: Buakaw Banchamek (264-42-12) vs. Kong Lingfeng (13-3)
Buakaw by knockout
58 kg MMA: Tang Jin (20-8-4) vs. Karla Benitez (13-8-1)
Jin by decision
60 kg MMA: Wu Tieyin (7-3) vs. Nilson Pereira (12-7)
Tieyin by knockout
Clash of Titans Group D Semifinal: Mustafa Lakhsem vs. Seyedisa Alamdrnezam (31-9)
Lakhsem by decision
Clash of Titans Group D Semifinal: Zhao Shuai (13-3) vs Takuma Konishi
Konishi by decision
Clash of Titans Group C Semifinal: Bruno Miranda (28-6) vs Li Zhuangzhuang (13-3)
Miranda by knockout
Clash of Titans Group C Semifinal: Artem Pashporin (18-6) vs Victor Nagbe (28-7-2)
Nagbe by decision
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