Welcome to the Karateverse!
Karate Combat is Back.
Season 4 arrived in digital style and not only did we see the on-air debut of new Season Sensei Stephen 'Wonderboy' Thompson, we also saw three 2nd round TKOs and an action packed co-main event that somehow went the distance.
For quick navigation, scroll to the emboldened results, or read everything below to relive the magic!
The first round was action-packed, and 1-0 JCVD-fan Tommy "Nok Su Kao" Azouz brought forth a valiant effort, landing punches and splitting the judges' opinions despite finding himself on the wrong side of a tremendous slam.
But KC-debutant Artur "The Beast" Gasanov left no confusion in those judges' eyes when he literally kicked Tommy's mouth-piece out toward the Karateverse's sky in the second round.
It was a perfectly timed spinning-back-kick that did it.
Right. On. The. Chin.
Nothing like starting the season with a highlight reel finish. In this case, a 2nd round TKO for Artur Gasanov.
Fight 2 featured Fabiola "La Parkita" Esquivel fresh off an award-nominated head-kick KO, pitted against KC-debutant Sthefanie "The Shamaness" Oliveira. The two women met at a catchweight, technically the Women's Flyweight limit of 115lbs.
With Brazilian star-power at her back (Chinzo and Lyoto Machida to name a few), "The Shamaness," who foretold her victory after seeing it happen in a mystical visionary experience, brought forth an unexpected onslaught.
It was non-stop pressure from Oliveira, who moved forward unceasingly, even through several nose-bloodying strikes by Esquivel.
The blood was of no consequence to the Brazilian, who allowed no room or time for conscious thought on the part of her opponent. The damage came in bursts and those bursts kept coming at Fabiola.
It was a mental data-overload that lead to the event's next 2nd round TKO for The Shamaness.
In our third fight, we saw two familiar Lightweights (who won their Season 3 debuts in style) meet each another in combat.
1-0 versus 1-0? Well, then somebody's "O" had got to go.
"The Lion King" impressed judges and fans alike with flashy (and often effective) techniques that he referred to as his crowd-pleasing 'signature moves.'
He ventured multiple "Rolling Thunder" somersault flip kicks, but none quite landing as clean as his Season 3 offering of the same. Here in Season 4, he demonstrated an even more thrilling combat spectacle.
The jaw-dropper came by way of a parkour-style running slam off The Pit-wall!
We suggest calling it... the "Thunder Slam."
Both fighters impressed with heart, grit, and tough chins, making their entire fight a feast for the eyes. They traded accurate punches in what fans love to call a 'dog-fight'.
Nevertheless, it was consistent pressure, right-on-the-chin techniques, and several takedowns from "The Lion King" that made it clear.
The judges declared a Unanimous Decision for Lazar Kukulicic.
Our Main Event delivered as promised... and we've one more 2nd round TKO to report.
In Round 1, Levine kept The Iberian Bull on the back foot, pressuring him toward the Pit-wall throughout.
A spear-like takedown for de Castañeda managed to move the aggressor Levine back and onto the floor, but the referee did not allow any ground-and-pound as it was ruled an illegal double-leg takedown. (Check out the KC rules, here.)
Hoping to gain control of where the fight was taking place, de Castañeda tried several more takedown attempts in the round, but these were unsuccessful. He had more luck when he offered a striking response to the many kicks headed toward him, returning fire body-kick for body-kick in one case that caught the commentators' attention.
Igor's best moment was when he slipped a dangerous right hand past Ross's guard. It connected, but didn't transfer enough power to back Levine down or change his approach. No, Levine was finding too much success in dictating the flow.
Ross commanded where the fight took place with deliberate aggression, drawing the admiration of commentator Bas Rutten. He offered significantly more output, which included a crushing calf kick, and a few sunken toes-to-the-belly, among other strikes that altogether claimed Turbo the first round.
In Round 2, Ross continued implementing his gameplan: control where the fight happens.
Igor threatened looping hooks and tackled Ross to disrupt that gameplan. But, immediately once separated, Ross resumed control.
Perhaps it was one looping hook too many for de Castañeda, or maybe it was fatigue slowing those attacks down. In either case, Levine slipped one and leaned back in to land a beautiful counter-right to the jaw.
Looking to escape harm's way, The Iberian Bull backed off, evading a follow-up punch and kick, but in doing so finally ended up with his back on The Pit wall. With nowhere left to go, Ross delivered a spinning heel kick right onto the snout of the bull!
Igor de Castañeda, who stood up immediately as referee Daniel Movahedi waved off the fight, maintains that he was prepared to continue fighting and disputed the result. But the referee stood by his decision, and Bas Rutten noted his belief that The Iberian Bull was rather wobbly to his feet. He certainly did not lose for a lack of courage.
2nd Round TKO (and a Middleweight Title Shot) for Ross "Turbo" Levine.