Alistair Overeem has one more K-1 kickboxing match on Saturday in Japan, and after that he says he'll shift his focus back to mixed martial arts and defending his Strikeforce heavyweight title. In news that may be related and would certainly hinder Overeem's chances of kickboxing success, K-1 has announced that it plans to ban strikes from the clinch, beginning with this year's Final 16 tournaments.
Here's how the new rules are written, via K-1's official web site:
Attacking an opponent while holding a neck of an opponent with both hands is considered a foul technique. A fighter is allowed to attack momentarily when grabbing his opponent with one hand. Referee may call a brake during a match if the one handed grab does not lead to an effective attack, and may give a caution or a warning if these ineffective single grabbing continues and or if such actions cause deadlock.Head Kick Legend writes that Overeem's knockout of Ewerton Teixeira is a textbook example of the kind of strikes that K-1 is seeking to outlaw, although I'd argue that Overeem's double-knee strike against Teixeira actually should have been declared a foul even under the old rules, which limited fighters to one kick or knee in the clinch.
Passive holding or clinching is prohibited. However, the referee can permit a fighter holding or grabbing his opponent with one hand only when it is accompanied by an authorized attack. A caution and a warning may be given to a fighter even when he is holding with one hand if referee considers this single hand grab or clinch is causing a deadlock or that fighter is trying to avoid attacks.
But whether this rules change is a direct response to the Teixeira fight or not, there's no question that Overeem likes to use the clinch, and that these new rules (which could be viewed as a step to making K-1 a little more like boxing and a little less like MMA) will make it harder for him to be effective in the clinch. One more reason for him to turn his attention back to MMA.