Yes, of course this is going to contain spoilers. I'm giving you the ability to not see it before it happens, though.
Yes, of course this is going to contain spoilers. I'm giving you the ability to not see it before it happens, though.
In what was a matchup between the best fighters at Light Heavyweight under the GLORY banner we saw Tyrone Spong square off against Danyo Ilunga in the Light Heavyweight Slam Finals. Both men were worn down from fighting twice earlier in the night, with Ilunga fighting two harder bouts for sure. Both men were primed and ready for action when Spong landed a barrage of strikes that Ilunga was covering up.
In what was a rather confusing turn of events, Ilunga, who was still standing, still covering up and aware of what was happening, was pushed aside by the ref who called the bout in what was one of the worst stoppages that we've seen in a very, very long time. It makes some of the Joop Ubeda stoppages of the last few years look competent. We'll hopefully have footage of the stoppage in a bit up on the site, but if you somehow missed it, trust us, Spong was looking good, but Ilunga was not down and out by any stretch of the imagination.
Congratulations go out to Tyrone Spong, though, as he won the GLORY Light Heavyweight Slam in New York, which is a feather in his cap no matter what.
GIF from ZombieProphet.
Part of our main concern going into next weekend's It's Showtime 55 is that for some reason, Melvin Manhoef vs. Tyrone Spong is on the undercard. It's Showtime's broadcasts are a set length and currently their cards are in two parts, with "Part 2" being televised and "Part 1" usually being in some void somewhere that we don't get to view. We and many fans have expressed our concerns to It's Showtime and I reached out to Andrew Simon of HDnet to see what's up, and we have good news for you.
HDnet will indeed be airing the main portion of the card live next Saturday, at 3pm Eastern time. They will not be airing the first part, but HDnet will be airing the Melvin Manhoef vs. Tyrone Spong fight, according to Andrew Simon. It will air at a later date, which has not been disclosed yet, but HDnet has a lot of options for airing, including Inside MMA, HDnet's weekly fights they put online or just the entire undercard at a later date. Stay tuned for more.
This weekend in Chicago at GLORY 11, Tyrone Spong will step into the ring against Nathan "Carnage" Corbett, the man that he met back in 2009. While the fight was officially ruled a draw, Tyrone looks at it as a loss, as he had lost the fight before Carnage kept going after the bell, which changed the official outcome of the bout. Spong has a chance to once again prove that he's the best in the world at Light Heavyweight, but why not take a look back to when he won the right to call himself that?
This latest episode of King of the Ring shows what went down backstage for Spong.
My god. This has been an amazing night of fights so far, with lots of exciting bouts, big knockouts and some really solid action. The feature fight of the evening, Tyrone Spong vs. Nathan Corbett was set for just before the Heavyweight tournament finals and my god did it deliver. Both guys are extremely skilled and pack a lot of power. The first round saw a lot of crazy action, with Spong landing the better body shots.
Round two is where things changed a lot, as Spong landed a left hook that just flattened Corbett, only for Corbett to be able to respond to the count and get back up. As they were continuing to battle it was clear that Corbett wasn't completely recovered and another big shot put him down, with him unable to respond to the ref's count and the fight being stopped.
GIF from ZombieProphet.
It was a peculiar sight to behold at UFC 133, and no, I don't mean Dennis Hallaman's poor choice of costume or Brian Ebersole's arrow made of chest hair. Instead, I mean the amount of times we got to hear about K-1 level striking on a UFC broadcast and that it was hard to argue. No, sadly it did not coincide with the action in the cage, but instead the choice of trainers that the elite MMA fighters of the world have been choosing to help round out their game.
We've already seen Kenny Florian working with Cosmo Alexandre, Jose Aldo working with Andy Souwer, Jake Shields prepared for his fight with GSP by training with the legendary Rob Kaman and more. Tonight at UFC 133, though, the two feature attraction fights also featured two elite kickboxers in a corner, as "Sugar" Ray Sefo, a K-1 legend and the 2000 K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up cornering Vitor Belfort. Belfort is known for his top notch hands, for his speed, precision and power, but bringing on Ray Sefo has helped him to round out his full spectrum of striking after a quick loss to Anderson Silva. Without a doubt having a legend like Ray Sefo helping him prepare will give him some helpful tips and pointers, both in offense and defense and the results looked promising with Belfort picking up a win tonight.
In the main event, Rashad Evans brought a younger K-1 fighter to the ring with him, as he came to the ring with Tyrone Spong. Spong has been an integral part of Rashad's training camp to prepare for his fight, originally against Phil Davis before Davis had to pull out, and now against Tito Ortiz. The fight turned into more of a grapple-heavy contest, but some of the techniques that Rashad picked up along the way and the sparring with a fighter like Spong who is known for his strong clinch game and heavy kicks were apparent in the way Rashad moved and how he responded to situations. One of the clearest examples of him working on his clinch striking more came with the finish of the fight, where Tito Ortiz was on his knees covering his head up and Rashad landed what was a picture perfect knee strike to the midsection that dropped Ortiz and led to the finish.
A technique like that is often overlooked in the MMA world because one false move and the knee becomes an illegal strike to the head and can cause a point deduction, disqualification or a no contest if the opponent cannot continue. It takes a great deal of confidence and dedication to drill moves like that for a fighter to be comfortable throwing them, and Rashad timed it perfectly and it landed exactly where it should have.
If UFC 133 was any sort of indicator, the chances are that more and more UFC fighters will be turning to high level kickboxers and muay thai fighters to help them prepare for their fights. The days of fighters preparing with noted MMA striking trainers without much real combat experience might be coming to a close, or at least be supplemented by having modern professional fighters at the top of their game helping to spar and round out a fighter. Right now Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is preparing in his camp with American kickboxing sensation Mark "Fightshark" Miller, who has notably trained with Rampage's upcoming opponent, Jon "Bones" Jones in the past and can only help Rampage out more and more as he prepares for his title fight.
While October 12th might be the official launch date for GLORY 11 and GLORY's tenure on Spike TV, tonight will mark GLORY's debut on Spike TV with a half hour highlight broadcast that is set to go down at 11PM Eastern. This is a strategic move from both Spike TV and GLORY as it will be coming directly after TNA Impact Wrestling, which might not draw the same kind of audience as WWE does, but it does bring in a solid audience week after week.
It was a similar tactic that helped to build up the UFC with The Ultimate Fighter, as TUF followed WWE's Monday Night Raw on Spike TV for the first season, which helped to bring more exposure to it. It's not clear what they will fit into a 30 minute broadcast, but with GLORY 11 coming up, I'd expect highlights from fights of the upcoming competitors.
Eddie Walker is a name that has been popping up more and more over the past few years, first in relation with K-1’s resurgence here in the United States, which equated to nothing but false starts for him. Finally Eddie Walker got his shot at the big time when Lion Fight called him up and offered him the fight with Joe Schilling. Schilling is one of the bigger names here in the United States muay thai scene and it was a fight that Walker had been looking to take for a while. The talk was that Eddie was out of his league, that he didn’t stand a chance, and it was no doubt a rough fight for him, until he knocked Joe out.
That set the scene for Walker signing with Glory and appearing in one of their Road to GLORY USA events, fighting in a one-night tournament with himself and Mike Lemaire as the big names. It was fate that evening as Walker cruised through the first few rounds of the tournament before the big main event between Lemaire and Walker went down, a tough fight between two of the better fighters at 187lbs in America with Lemaire walking away with the victory but Walker impressing Glory officials. It turns out that Steve Wakeling didn’t have an opponent for GLORY 5 London after Schilling and Marcus fell through, so he gladly accepted.
“I’m glad to be involved with Glory,” he stated while walking home from his day job as a manager at a recycling plant. “I guess that I impressed Cor and them with my last fight, so they offered me this fight and I was glad to take it.”
Walker divides his time between two careers and a family life, something that not many fighters have to do anymore, but Kickboxing and Muay Thai don’t pay like MMA does, which leaves him working a fulltime job, the same job that he has worked at for 13 years now. His schedule is grueling, to say the least, with him waking up at 4am each day to get in an early morning workout before he heads to work, gets out of work at 3pm and heads home to take care of his kids before his wife comes home. Then after his wife comes home it is straight to the gym where Walker works on honing his skills and preparing for his next fight before it is back home for dinner and rest before starting it all over again.
“It’s exhausting,” he laughed after explaining his day-to-day. “Muay Thai and Kickboxing just don’t pay enough for me to do this full time. MMA might pay that much, but I just don’t have the time to dedicate to the training to feel prepared for MMA right now. So yeah, for now I’m sticking with the job.”
If he were younger and had less responsibilities he might be able to do more in the way of training, but with a family to support he knows that he has to take the hard road. It doesn’t stop him from noticing how younger guys don’t understand what they have, though. “Man, I see these 19, 20 year old kids and they don’t work a fulltime job, they don’t have a family and they half-ass it in the gym. They show up for their fights and they are all out of shape and they look terrible. You gotta put in the work to be a fighter and most aren’t willing to do that.”
Family plays an important role in Walker’s life, as much as he loves fighting and would love to do it fulltime, he understands how important they are and that they come first for him. His wife, Ashley, plays a vital role in his fighting career as well. “My wife is a graphic designer,” he explained. “So she had this idea to take some photos from all of my knockouts and blow them up and hang them up around the house. So I have these ‘Knockout Walls’ all around, it’s kind of cool. She does a lot for me, my marketing and PR, she designed my website, too.”
When asked if he’d like to add Wakeling to his wall, he seemed happy at that prospect. “Oh absolutely, that would be great. Steve’s a great guy, though. I have nothing bad to say about him. I know that there is some promotional video floating around of me saying that I’m gonna knock him out and all of that, but I don’t like trash talk. This is a professional sport and I’m not here to do that crap.”
I was quick to point out that his previous opponent, Joe Schilling, is well known for his trash talk, which seemed like a sore subject for him, as was a rematch. “You know, I respect the guy. The way that fight even started was on Facebook. I made a post asking if I should watch the fight between Marcus and Schilling, two guys that I wanted to fight, or the fight between Tate and Sahak, two guys that I’m friends with. Well, Joe and I were Facebook friends at the time and he made a comment telling me to keep dreaming and whatever. So, you know [Andrew] Tate, right? Well, he and Joe went at it on there and it turned into this big thing.
“I just don’t like that trash talk stuff, we’re not in middle school anymore. We are professional fighters in a professional sport, there is no room for that. I found out that he had talked some trash on my wife as well, which you just don’t do. You don’t do that. I didn’t find that out until after the fight, either. I don’t want her to have to deal with that.”
So Walker goes into his fight with Steve Wakeling with a lot of respect for him and his skills as well as everyone else on the card. “Man, so many guys are fighting that I’m not sure that I’ll even show up on anyone’s radar for this fight. Even when I fought Schilling it was an arena full of Schilling fans or people asking me if I was the guy that was fighting Schilling. There are a ton of names on this card, I’ll just get lost in it,” he joked after I ran through the list of names on the card.
Even with his busy schedule, though, he still tries to make time for having some fun, or else he might go crazy from stress. The other day he posted a photo of him holding the new God of War game for PS3, which he laughed about. “That is my game, man. I don’t play a lot of games or anything, in fact, the last game that I played was the last God of War. But man, that is my game, I love them. I had to pick it up right away. Even then, I only got to play for like an hour last night after the kids went to bed, when my wife was just staring at me I knew that I had to stop.”
So while Eddie Walker might not have finished God of War: Ascension before his fight with Steve Wakeling at GLORY 5 London, let’s hope that he has the time after the fight to just sit back and relax for a while. On March 23rd Eddie Walker will meet Steve Wakeling in London on a stacked card headlined by Remy Bonjasky vs. Tyrone Spong.
It is just a week away until Tyrone Spong will step into the ring at It's Showtime 58 against the legend Peter Aerts. The bout is slated to be Mr. K-1's retirement in the Benelux region of Europe, originally his full retirement, before Glory stepped in with an offer that he couldn't refuse. As we are all very aware of, Spong is training in Florida alongside the Blackzilian camp, which includes UFC Heavyweight contender and former K-1 World Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem. This means that Spong and Overeem train together, and for Spong, who better to train with than the man that narrowly defeated him in K-1? The team behind the Reem was there to photograph their training and share it with the world.
Don't forget to go ahead and purchase the PPV for It's Showtime 57 and 58, which means access to the full card!
There aren’t many fighters out there who possess the natural abilities that Tyrone Spong does, but there are many that see his position in the GLORY Light Heavyweight division and want a piece of it. Last year Tyrone Spong worked his way through an 8-man tournament at GLORY 9 New York where he went over the former It’s Showtime 95kg Champion, Danyo Ilunga, in dominant fashion. This secured Spong’s spot at the top of the heap in the world of Kickboxing’s Light Heavyweight division, which was only compounded upon when he met Nathan “Carnage” Corbett in the ring at GLORY 11.
Corbett has long-been considered the best at that weight class in Muay Thai for many years, with Corbett rarely ever competing in Kickboxing rules. A rematch against Tyrone Spong within the GLORY ring was too much for him to turn down, though. The first fight with Corbett turned into a learning experience for Spong, who showed in the rematch just how much he learned since then. He completely dominated Corbett at GLORY 11, which only makes the GLORY 15 Light Heavyweight Championship tournament that much more exciting for Kickboxing fans across the world.
Heading into the GLORY 15 Istanbul tournament you’d expect Tyrone Spong to feel overly confident, but Spong is intent on taking it very seriously. While other side of the bracket features a man that he decimated back in November against a guy who is dropping to Light Heavyweight for the first time, in his hometown, with all of the pressure being on him, Spong still sees both men as very dangerous opponents. That being said, the first thing on Spong’s mind is the very tough Brazilian fighter Saulo Cavalari. Spong realizes how big of a fight this is for Saulo, which makes him incredibly dangerous, in Spong’s view:
“He’s young, he’s hungry and this is the biggest fight of his life,” Spong explains. “But for me? This is just another fight. You know, I’ve fought the best, I’ve beaten the best in the world, so this is just another fight for me. For him this is the biggest fight of his life. That makes him very dangerous.”