Some of you have heard of K-1 MAX (anyone who googled the name "Buakaw" lol), but probably don't really know what it is. I will try to be as brief as possible in explaining it, and why this year will be interesting for us Muay Thai fans.
K-1 World MAX is a huge tournament in Japan for the 70kg weight class. They invite fighters from all over the world for a very fancily put together tournament. Seriously, the stadium and event is epic...youtube it. yes, this is what the entrance looks like for fighters. ridonculous
The rules are simple: punches, kicks, and knees. They do not allow clinching, or elbows. They do not score throwing in the clinch. They also count kicks to the arms as "blocked" (in Muay Thai, the arms are considered a legitimate target for kicks).
In short, it is kick boxing and NOT Muay Thai
. The rules and scoring are definitely restricting for a full Muay Thai rules fighter. Keep in mind how different the two are.
However, you'll find that some really amazing MT fighters compete in this tournament (the payday is probably the highest you can get in fighting).
Buakao Por Pramuk made his name known to the world in this Tournament. This year, he and fellow Nak Muay, Giorgio Petrosyan, will be competing in it. Buakao and Giorgio are two very talented MT fighters who have fought to a draw before under full MT rules. This year they are 2 of 4 fighters competing in the final for K-1 World MAX 2009 title.
Youtube both of their K-1 fights. You will notice that it can be awkward for both of them with some of the restrictions. Either way, I'm rooting for 1 of these guys to bring home the belt.
Keep an eye out on October 26th!