Coming up on January 30 is the semi-final round of the United Glory World Series of Kickboxing and MMA - a pair of 8 man tournaments started last October and wrapping up this spring. The current favorite to win the kickboxing side of the tournament is the #6 ranked Gokhan Saki, however the latest rumors indicate Saki may end up dropping out of the January 30 event. Saki is still recovering from injuries suffered in his Grand Prix war with Daniel Ghita, and may not have time to get back in shape for this semi-final round. If he does indeed drop out, Saki will likely be replaced by his Golden Glory stablemate Errol Zimmerman. Zimmerman was originally scheduled to take part in the tournament, but had to drop out after being KO'd by Ghita at the K-1 Final 16.
The current semi-final matches have Saki vs. Wendel Roche and Brice Guidon vs. Mourad Bouzidi, with the winners meeting in the finals on April 21. Losing Saki would be unfortunate, but in all honesty would make the tournament more interesting. As it stands right now, Saki is the prohibitive favorite - Roche, Guidon, and Bouzidi are all talented fighters, but Saki stands head and shoulders above them. Zimmerman on the other hand is at a career low point, and more on a level with the other semi-finalists. He has already faced both Roche (with Zimmerman pulling off a close extra round decision win) and Bouzidi (in a fight that Bouzidi won via cut stoppage). Both opponents would make interesting rematches for The Bonecrusher, while the underrated Guidon would be a tough challenge for Zimmerman. Entering this tournament would help give us a clear view of just where Zimmerman stands right now, so while I wish Saki the best recovery, I won't complain about this switch if it happens.
On the MMA side, the semi-finals are currently listed as Siyar Bahadurzada vs. John Alessio and Roan Carneiro vs. Tommy Depret, however there is some shuffling over here also, as Alessio posted on twitter that he has been forced to drop out due to an injury suffered in training. No word yet on a possible replacement. Again, winners here will meet in the finals on April 21.
The rest of the January 30 card includes a number of kickboxing and MMA super fights. Two fights of note for kickboxing fans: Robin van Roosmalen will be in action, though his opponent is not yet determined; and Frederic Sinistra faces Filip Verlinden.
Dave Walsh has been covering MMA and Kickboxing since 2007 before changing his focus solely to Kickboxing in 2009, launching what was the only English-language site dedicated to giving Kickboxing similar coverage to what MMA receives. He was the co-founder of HeadKickLegend and now LiverKick. He resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he works as a writer of all trades.
His first novel, the Godslayer, is available now.
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