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The Narratives Leading Out of GLORY 37: Van Roosmalen, Kongolo and More

For a lot of people, GLORY 37 snuck up on everyone. It's easy to understand, there is a lot going on in the world right now and the brief reprieve that we had from the usual onslaught of kickboxing shows was perhaps a welcome one. But it's right back to it and GLORY 37 saw a lot of interesting things happen. So here we are, let's break them down.

The smaller ring meant more action. This was a product of the venue and what worked best there, I suppose, but man did it really impact the night. The larger, more standard ring makes a lot of sense when it comes to heavyweights duking it out, but for lighter weight classes it has always felt a bit large. The smaller ring absolutely impacted the fights and it was interesting to see who benefited from it and who didn't. The smaller ring meant that more technical, outside fighters like Adesanya and Embree found themselves against strong pressure fighters being pressured. In the case of Adesanya it is fair to say that a larger ring could have yielded a completely different result. While a fight is a fight, things like gloves, the size of the ring and the slickness of a mat might seem incidental but can have a huge impact on the action. 

Not everyone can instantly adjust to kickboxing rules. This feels like a big one. Zoila Frausto has primarily fought in MMA and muay thai, this was her first kickboxing bout and it showed. When the fight got close she couldn't throw elbows, clinch and start throwing knees and it led to the fight being exciting to watch, but a bit of a mess. The same can be said for Matt Embree, who is an incredibly talented fighter who had a bit of trouble when it came to van Roosmalen's Dutch style. 

California is a mess. The issue of Robin van Roosmalen's weight cut and him being stripped of the title is an interesting one. While Robin's post-fight speech did perhaps try to shift away the blame from himself and his camp for him missing weight, there is a valid point that I've heard from others in California that everything with the commission gets gummed up there. Robin didn't have an official scale during his cut, was "on" in his hotel scale only to find out that he missed weight. That can't feel good. Something was clearly not communicated well during this process and van Roosmalen seemed to feel that he could have made weight if things had gone more smoothly.

Expect judges to rule against logic. One of the problems with the growing pains of kickboxing is referees and judges that don't have a strong connection with the sport. According to the GLORY rules and what we can assume was a literal interpretation of them by the judges, Wilnis was always going to win that fight. It was an incredibly close fight that really could have gone to either guy. That is on both fighters. What isn't is how the judges score these fights. Adesanya landed the better shots throughout the fight and kept Wilnis on the defensive, unable to land many of his trademark bombs. Yet, Wilnis waded in with the earmuffs on and controlled the ring. I saw a lot of disappointment that Adesanya didn't get the nod, even people upset at one particular bad scorecard that gave Wilnis four rounds. 

Robin van Roosmalen is a beast at Featherweight. Seriously. Sure, the weight cut happened, but there's a difference between having to overcome the mentality of being done with a weight cut only to find out you were off and being able to know exactly where you stand. It was .8lbs, which in the grand scheme of things, isn't the end of the world. As long as Robin van make the weight he's going to be a near-unstoppable force in this division. 

Cedric Doumbe's first challenge is set. There's a natural narrative in Kongolo fighting Doumbe for a third time, with that being Kongolo holds wins over Doumbe. Doumbe has grown a lot since those fights and has looked incredible, but styles make fights. It'll be interesting to see how Doumbe holds up against Kongolo in their third outing and there is really a natural story built in to this fight. Embrace it.

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Card for GLORY 38 Chicago on Feb. 24th

On the night of GLORY 37, GLORY has gone ahead and released the updated card for GLORY 38 Chicago, which takes place on February 24th featuring a Light Heavyweight Championship bout as well as a tournament featuring some of the top fighters in the weight class. The SuperFight Series is stacked as usual, with Adegbuyi vs. Braddock Silva, Catalin Morosanu making his GLORY debut, Groenhart vs. Thongchai and more.

GLORY 38 Chicago
Light Heavyweight World Title Headline Bout: Artem Vakhitov vs. Saulo Cavalari
Light Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B
Welterweight Co-Headline Bout: Richard Abraham vs. Antoine Pinto
Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Danyo Illunga vs. Ariel Machado
Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Zack Mwekassa vs. TBA


GLORY 38 Chicago SuperFight Series
Heavyweight Headline Bout: Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Anderson Silva
Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Cătălin Moroșanu vs. Maurice Greene
Welterweight Bout: Murthel Groenhart vs. Thongchai
Welterweight Bout: Paweł Jędrzejczyk vs. Daniel Morales
Lightweight Bout: Łukasz Pławecki vs. Niclas Larsen

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WATCH: GLORY 37 Weigh-Ins and Interviews

The GLORY 37 weigh-ins have proven to be a big deal this time out, mostly due to Featherweight Champion Robin van Roosmalen missing weight and being stripped of the title. Now you can watch the weigh-in event thanks to GLORY, including interviews with van Roosmalen and Embree at the scales (starting at around 8:30).

Tune in tomorrow night at 10:30pm Eastern time on UFC Fight Pass for the GLORY 37 SuperFight Series and 1am eastern for GLORY 37 on ESPN3.

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Robin van Roosmalen Stripped of GLORY Featherweight Championship

Robin van Roosmalen, the former GLORY Lightweight Champion can now add former Featherweight Champion to his record as well in a shocking twist at the GLORY 37 weigh-ins. The GLORY weigh-ins are usually a bit less of dramatic affairs, with fighters making weight, flexing in their underwear and staring down their opponents without there being much to report. This time around things are very, very different.

Van Roosmalen weighed in at 143.8lbs, which is .8lbs over the Featherweight limit. When given a chance to try a second time van Roosmalen turned down the opportunity, forcing GLORY officials to work swiftly in stripping him of the GLORY Featherweight title ahead of his would-be defense against Matt Embree at GLORY 37's SuperFight Series. What that means for the fight and the title is interesting, to say the least.

If Matt Embree defeats Robin van Roosmalen he'll be awarded the GLORY Featherweight Championship, but if van Roosmalen wins neither man will walk away with the title. For Robin to reclaim his title he needs to make weight for a future fight for the title and win it all over again, creating an interesting situation for both men and some unforeseen opportunities for other fighters within the division. 

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Knockout of the Year - Guto Inocente

Continuing in the fine tradition of the LiverKick 2016 Awards, we move on to the Knockout of the Year. This was, perhaps, the most difficult category as there was such a wide array of dazzling knockouts throughout the year. Everything from head kicks to brutal punches and even spinning stuff. Hell, there was a Japanese event called KNOCK OUT where five out of the six fights ended in KO. 

Needless to say, lots of good fighters got put to sleep this past year.

Our pick for the Knockout of the Year is rather dazzling and even brutal. Both Jay and I had the same guttural reaction of "man, poor Demoreo" when it happened, because damn. Guto Inocente's spinning back kick just slept the poor guy. What made it so amazing was that it was a legitimate heavyweight doing a move that would have been brutal from a much lighter fighter, yet it was a heavyweight. Heavyweights are known for having power in their fists and even in their head kicks, but a move like this is usually left to the smaller guys.

But nobody told Guto that, nor did they tell Demoreo to expect it. 

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Fighter of the Year - Cedric Doumbe

When it came to selecting who the fighter of the year was for 2016, the choice seemed rather cut-and-dry. While a lot of fighters had good years -- fighters like Superbon, Sitthichai, Rico Verhoeven and others, there was only one man who rose up to prominence in meteoric fashion and did so in a way where many didn't see it coming.

You have to admit -- Nieky Holzken seemed unbeatable for a long, long time at Welterweight. Sure, it seemed like Murthel Groenhart came dangerously close to defeating him before, but Nieky still knew exactly how to pull off the victory. His hands felt unparalleled in the sport and his fight IQ is off the charts. Yet. Yet.

Cedric Doumbe's greatness snuck up on a lot of people, but heading into the Holzken fight he was able to get inside of Nieky's head, then in the ring, he was able to avoid Nieky's hands while imposing his will. It felt like the end of an era, the changing of the guard and that Cedric Doumbe's era had arrived. In fact, it's difficult not to appreciate Doumbe for his personality, his skills and his sportsmanship.

He was the very clear 2016 Fighter of the Year.

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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Badr Hari Wants Rico Verhoeven Rematch in May or June

The fight that many believed would never happen between Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven did happen, but the ending was perhaps bittersweet and exactly the kind of letdown that fans have grown accustomed to when it comes to the sport of kickboxing under-delivering on big promises. So while the fight was put together, the fighters ready to brawl and the arena packed full of passionate fans, the outcome was Badr Hari forfeiting thanks to an injury. 

Rico Verhoeven immediately offered Badr a rematch in the ring, to which Badr Hari replied in amiable fashion to, although still denigrating his opponent. The scorecards reflected that the judges had Badr Hari winning the first round, but the fight was far from over, especially considering a strike from Verhoeven is ultimately what injured Hari and forced the stoppage. For fans a conclusion to this fight is not only desirable, but almost a necessity. In an interview with John O'Regan, Hari claimed that he was looking to plan for a rematch in May or June, although he still didn't seem to respect his opponent.

“That's why it was so sour that I had to stop. But be honest, did you see me worrying, or in trouble? Like I said in the ring [after the fight], he became a man but he needs to be more to beat me. He is still not in my league.”

Hari's punching power and explosiveness are legendary, as are his temper both in and out of the ring. Legal issues have kept him away from the ring during what could have been the prime of his career and still haunt him to this day, everything from where he can actually get a license to fight to working around court dates and the uncertainty of the future. 

A rematch seems in order as long as both men are up for it and the asking prices don't fly through the roof. Right now the sport needs the rematch, if not to clear up the debate of who is the better fighter, to deliver on a promise and help build up the reputation of the sport once again.

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Badr Hari Suffered a Muscle Tear, Not Broken Arm Against Rico Verhoeven

All throughout the past week kickboxing fans have been running through the video of the huge showdown between Badr Hari and Rico Verhoeven, studying it like the Zapruder film trying to find the phantom bullet that broke Badr Hari's arm and ended the dream match to end all dream matches early. Clinch and a knee. Clinch and a knee. A kick and a block. Back and to the left?

While multiple theories have floated around -- including conspiracy theories about foul play -- no one has really been quite able to figure out the exact moment that it happened. The reason behind that is simple; there was no bone break. According to Mike Passenier, it was only a muscle tear, not a break that Badr suffered on Saturday. He has returned to Morocco where he is currently healing up and planning his next move. 

This report is also in sharp contrast to earlier reports, where a photograph of an x-ray with a broken arm has been floating around social media, with claims being sent out by representatives of Hari to explain away why the fight ended early. Mike Passenier initially denied that image was true, but then said that Badr's arm was broken. As always with Badr Hari, everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Before anyone gets excited about a potential rematch, remember that Badr is also due in court in January about one of his assault cases and that a future rematch with Rico Verhoeven might depend on the outcome of that court case. [source]

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Remy Bonjasky Accepts Gokhan Saki's Challenge Via Social Media

The fires within Saki have been stoked after over a year away from the ring. After seeing a packed arena for GLORY: Collision, former GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion Gokhan Saki was quick to toss his name into the hat for a big money fight with the champion, calling out Verhoeven. Claiming to be aiming to be a two-division champion (Saki still argues his claim to the Light Heavyweight Champion even though the promotion has moved on).

Of course, Remy Bonjasky had gone on Dutch television days prior to GLORY: Collision to say that he'd be willing to come out of retirement and fight Badr Hari. So it seemed only natural for the two of them to get into a social media battle of their own. So they did, with Saki saying that he'd fight Bonjasky as well. It didn't take long for the now-retired Remy Bonjasky to reply and accept the fight via a video on his Instagram. 

 

Saki seemed pleased with it, using it as a platform to continue calling out Rico Verhoeven. 

So while the two legends seem set to fight each other in the GLORY ring, currently only Gokhan Saki has a contract with GLORY. That means that they'd have to renegotiate with Remy Bonjasky and in the past that has been an issue with the three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion usually demanding a rather hefty purse for his fights. Will GLORY be willing to pay that? Considering his last few fights with the promotion didn't draw huge numbers for them and were a bit underwhelming, I would assume not, so it would be in Bonjasky's interest if he really wants to fight to be open to negotiations. 

The two met in 2008 in the K-1 World Grand Prix Semi-Finals where Bonjasky scored a highlight reel knockout via a flying kick to the midsection.

Remy Bonjasky's last fight was at GLORY 14 where he narrowly defeated Mirko Cro Cop in 2014. Gokhan Saki's last fight was in 2015 for GFC where he fought at heavyweight against Sebastian Ciobanu, picking up a decision victory. His last GLORY appearance was in 2014 at GLORY 14 where he won the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship tournament by defeating both Nathan Corbett and Tyrone Spong.

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Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari's Historic Clash Sees Unfortunate Ending

The most anticipated heavyweight kickboxing fight in years went down tonight in Germany at GLORY: Collision. The atmosphere was beyond electric when Rico Verhoeven came down the ramp first, ignoring his champion status for the crowd favorite and living legend Badr Hari. Hari was second, making his typical entrance through the crowd. The crowd absolutely mobbed Hari, to the point where when Hari stepped into the ring about seventy or so fans attempted to follow him, jumping the railing, filling up the ramp and trying to storm the ring.

To say that it was chaos would be an understatement.

After minutes of the team attempting to clear the ring, they finally did and it was underway. Both men were staring daggers at each other and the first round was perhaps one of the most tense rounds that we've seen in years. Badr was landing his jabs, but Rico was controlling the ring and scoring with low, middle and the occasional high kicks. 

The second round saw Hari land a big hook, but Verhoeven land a big head kick. Rico, frustrated with Hari went for a clinch and pushed him against the ropes, landing two big knees to the arm. When they broke, Badr turned his back and walked to the corner, referee Atsushi Onari starting a count with Badr not answering the count. Apparently he suffered an injury to his arm and did not wish to continue. 

Rico agreed to fight Badr Hari again and was complimentary while Hari was somewhat complimentary, but wasn't willing to call him the best just yet. Badr called Rico over. "Next year, I swear, I'll knock you the fuck out."

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