K-1 Returns To Las Vegas August 7th
By Michael Afromowitz
muaythaimes@aol.com

K-1 Returns To Las Vegas August 7th [June 17, 2004] Tickets for �Battle At The Bellagio III� on sale in two weeks

K-1 martial arts fighting will make its highly-anticipated return to Las Vegas, Nevada�s Bellagio Hotel and Casino on Saturday, August 7th. Superstars Ray Sefo, Cung Le, Carter Williams, Dewey �The Black Kobra� Cooper, and �Big Daddy� Gary Goodridge are the first five competitors to be appointed to the �Battle At The Bellagio III� card, tickets for which will go on sale in two weeks.

�Battle At The Bellagio III� will be highlighted by K-1�s signature eight-man, single-elimination tournament as well as several, single �Superfights.� Sefo, Le and Goodridge will compete in separate Superfights against opponents who have yet to be determined while Williams and Cooper will see action in the tournament. For each of the tournament competitors, the single-elimination playoff represents the final opportunity to qualify for a subsequent leg of competition that will take place on September 26th in Japan.

Sefo, a nine-year veteran of the K-1 circuit and a favorite amongst martial arts fight fans worldwide, put together his best career performance to date in Japan�s Tokyo Dome four years ago. During the annual �World Grand Prix Finals� eight-man tournament in 2000, the 33-year-old native of New Zealand defeated his first two opponents before finishing as the event�s runner-up. Last year, he was victorious in three of his four K-1 starts. Sefo�s hard-nosed style and charisma have earned him a slew of product endorsements and larger than life status in Japan.

A four-time K-1 Superfight victor, Le will attempt to bolster his perfect career record during the card�s sole San Shou rules bout. During K-1 �Battle At The Bellagio II� Superfight action on April 30th, the 32-year-old resident of San Jose, California repeatedly executed his brilliant throwing techniques against a persistent Brian Warren before gaining a unanimous judges decision win.

At 24 years of age, Williams is recognized as America�s brightest young talent. Last year, the Modesto, Californian rose to power when he defeated three straight opponents to take hold of the 2003 K-1 USA crown. On June 6th, Williams rebounded from a �Battle At The Bellagio II� tournament loss by stopping veteran Petr Vondracek inside of two rounds in Nagoya, Japan.

On April 30th, Cooper turned out his best K-1 tournament performance to date as he defeated Japan�s Nobu Hayashi and heavy-handed American boxer, �Mighty Mo,� respectively before facing Michael McDonald in the event�s championship round. The 29-year-old Las Vegas hero, who holds two world kickboxing titles and a black belt in Kenpo Karate, went the distance with McDonald before placing as tournament runner-up. Also a professional boxer, Cooper has yet to be defeated in 12 starts.

The 38-year-old Goodridge, who signed a two-year fight contract with K-1 earlier this year, staged a heroic and courageous performance against the heavy-handed Toa during a �Battle At The Bellagio II� Superfight. After being smothered and backed into a corner early in the opening round of action by Toa�s persistent punching, Goodridge worked his way out of trouble with his own boxing combinations before scoring two knockdowns and earning a win by way of technical knockout at 2:43 of the same round.

Tickets for the August 7th K-1 event will be available for purchase both online in the K-1 USA website (www.k-1usa.net) store as well as at The Bellagio Hotel and Casino box office (1-800-963-9634). Tickets will be priced at $50, $100, $150, and $250, respectively.

�Battle At The Bellagio III� will be the second event of its kind staged this year. On April 30th, K-1 played host to a sellout of crowd of nearly 8,000 fans, including boxing legend Muhammed Ali as well as former undisputed heavyweight champion, �Iron� Mike Tyson.