Why support K-1?
Croatian fighting fans have been given a rear treat for this part of the world. In fact, for any part of the world, since K-1 has never before been organized outside of Japan.
And yes, we can agree it's not "the old" K-1, but maybe it's precisely us who have the chance to return K-1 to where it belongs in the hearts of fans. There have been quite a few comments that this is a weak tournament. This is completely false.
I think that this will be a lot better tournament than people expect. Because of the whole story how all the best fighters are in Glory, people think this tournament is weak. Even a superficial analysis speaks to the opposite. It may be true for the top three – Schilt, Ghita and Saki, but the arguable number four, Tyrone Spong, decided not to participate in the Glory 16-Man Tournament. The rest of the top ten can be debated as well. Everyone expected that Semmy Schilt and Daniel Ghita would face each other in the Glory Grand Slam final, which is exactly what happened. The tournament in Zagreb will be a lot less predictable and I think everyone but Jarrel Miller has a chance to take the title. I also think that Pavel Zhuravlev and Hesdy Gerges are currently better than all the Glory heavyweights except for those mentioned above, plus maybe Rico Verhoeven. Uehara's injury could actually prove to be the best of news for the tournament, since the Ukrainian will arrive to Zagreb on the wings of a great performance at Tokyo Final 16 and Superkombat's Grand Prix. People forget that not so long ago Zhuravlev defeated Gokhan Saki.
Cro Cop has talked about his dream of winning the Grand Prix for a long time. Now, late in his career, he has the chance to ride into legend without being tagged as one of the best kickboxers never to win the Grand Prix.
Cro Cop's reputation and ability to draw a crowd were key to becoming the host of the tournament.
He'll have a younger and, as he himself said, "hungrier" line-up to face. Jarrel Miller is a fighter he should beat, and in the semis he'd face the winner of the Morosanu-Zhuravlev battle. Ben Edwards had his fourth match against Paul Slowinski scheduled eight days after the Zagreb Grand Prix. The battle for dominance in Australia will give way to the tournament in Zagreb and the clash with Samedov.
Hesdy Gerges has managed to return to form at the right time and after defeating Lascenko in Japan and Williams in Bucharest, he can hope for a success at the tournament. The question is, how will the first fight against Ismael Londt end, since the winner of this match is unlikely to come out uninjured. The Surinamese, on the other hand, is known for his fitness level issues, and this could be the biggest obstacle to his success.
The new line-up, expected to build a new K-1 in Arena Zagreb, will be announced by Michael Buffer, just like in the golden days. Croatia is a good choice also because people who don't follow martial arts have known about K-1 ever since its inception and now we have the opportunity to help in the rebirth of the legendary organization.