Elhadji N’Dour won a unanimous decision against Adilet Shadykanov in the last Karate Combat event, which took place in New York City atop the One World Observation deck. So, it’s only fitting that he’s competing in their first event of 2019, Karate Combat: Hollywood. N’Dour has trained his whole life in Shotokan karate and Karate Combat offers him an experience that honors the discipline.
N’Dour likes what Karate Combat is bringing to the spectrum. While there are a lot of variations of trying to recreate fighting sports between boxing and mixed martial arts, N’Dour thinks Karate Combat’s focus on striking, with the five-second rule on the ground, not only keeps the focus on what true karate is but keeps it unique compared to other combat sports.
“Twenty years ago karate was very popular, “said N’Dour. However, when the Ultimate Fighting Championship came about and style versus style type bouts captured the eyes of fight fans, full-contact karate went out of the spotlight. Even with the karate competition that does exist, practitioners found themselves having to hold back years of training according to N’Dour because, “You get penalized if you hit too hard.” That’s what separates his current promotion. “[In other promotions] you hit too hard [and] you get penalties. In Karate Combat, if you knock someone out, you get a bonus.”
“I even got penalized in a world championship,” N’Dour reflected. “I got disqualified and I was in the semi-finals of the world championships. I lost because I knocked him out.” It was an accident according to N’Dour, but having gotten so far only to be disqualified for getting the intended result can make fans question how the sport was done.
That will not be a concern when he returns to action in Karate Combat to face Scotland’s Calum Robb at the Hollywood event on Jan. 24. The stream will be available free at karate.com, on its Android and iOS apps and Roku channel, along with partners including Twitch, YouTube, Dailymotion, FITE, Pluto TV, Eleven Sports, The Fight Network, Facebook Live, and UFC Fight Pass.
Edward Carbajal serves as the lead MMA analyst for Frontproof Media and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Ishin Ryu Karate. He has covered combat sports since 2014 and has been a fan of MMA since the first UFC. You can follow Edward on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com.