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Bai Ling attending SuperKombat World Grand Prix I next Sat. evening (Mar. 7) in Ploiești, Romania

  • Published in Kickboxing

It's nice to have friends in high places.

SuperKombat Fighting Championship will enjoy yet another special guest appearance from Hollywood, as famous actress Bai Ling will be ringside for next Saturday evening's (Mar. 7, 2015) SuperKombat World Grand Prix I event on Eurosport from Sala Sporturilor in Ploiești, Romania.  

The Chinese-born is no stranger to fighting since she often trains in martial arts for her interesting movie roles. 

Bai Ling is known for her work in films such as The Crow, Red Corner, Crank: High Voltage and Wild Wild West, and TV shows including Lost.

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Interview with the Glory heavyweight challenger and the SuperKombat's franchise, Benny Adegbuyi

  • Published in Kickboxing

The Romanian fighter Benjamin Adegbuyi is taking on Daniel Lentie on 7th March at SuperKombat World Grand Prix I. LiverKick is offering you the translation of his SportNews interview in native language. 

R: How do you feel? Are you ready?

B.A.: I feel very good. It's always a pleasure to fight in Romania, where the fans are with you, your family, and Ploiești is a great city. I feel good, I'm ready, I'm the same every time regardless of the opponent. I hope to make show. 

R: Do you find it harder to fight under this pressure?

B.A.: At the level where we are, we have to be professional, and these thoughts should not affect us at all.

R: Are you superstitious?

B.A.: I have no superstition, I'm always prepared. I hope to make a great game and win by knockout.

R: Did you study your opponent?

B.A.: Unfortunately I found out quite late the opponent's name. He's a pretty good fighter, awkward, southpaw... I began to study him, we have available a week and it will not be a problem. We have a plan. I hope him to have the same fate as against Morosanu.

R: What means the SuperKombat promotion for you?

B.A.: For me it means a lot, I was discovered here. I started here, and since then every gala I have been included, I won and I did very good matches. It remains my first love, forever in my soul... 

R: What advice do you have for those who want to follow in your footsteps?

B.A.: I always guided them, even on Facebook, to try not to quit. It's a pretty difficult sport, which is not sustained from the beginning, but with desire and will, seriousness, talent and a bit of luck you can get a pretty good level. So follow your dreams!

R: What are your goals for 2015? Where will you stop? 

B.A.: I would like to finish undefeated again. I hope to be the best if I can. I think I could get 2nd, but depends on the matches. The ranking system is a little odd, so I also need knockouts. Certainly if I grow, I get 2nd or 3rd.

R: Did you think about MMA?

B.A.: Honestly I thought, I think I will also do a little Brazilian jiu-jitsu in parallel. It helps the stand-up fighters' mobility.

R: Who would you want to fight and who would you want to avoid?

B.A.: I wanted to fight Semmy Schilt but he withdrew. He is a man who barely lost. I wanted to see my level and I think I would have been able to beat him. I fight any opponent, I would not refuse anyone.

R: Who  was your idol?

B.A.: I had no idol, but I admired Bonjasky, Aerts, Sefo and Hunt in Japan. Prior to my kickboxing start, I used to wake up at night to morning to watch them.

R: Could you fight a gym colleague?

B.A.: Honestly, I can't, but it can happen in some pyramids of the greatest promotions. If it happens so, we are professionals. But in other circumstances, I would refuse to fight with an opponent from our crew (Respect Gym).

R: What's a training day for you the SK figthers there?

B.A.: It is very complex. We wake up at 8 am, we have training, 2 hours of exhaustion. Some vomit, some faint, some have dizziness, some liver problems. After, you eat a bit, you go home and get some rest if you don't have anything else to do during the day and again at 6, training. You end at 8, you eat, watch a movie if you can, then simply fall to the bed.

If you're not in a training camp, you can manage to play soccer or go to the cinema/bowling. During the preparation only Playstation and FIFA.

R: Do you enjoy watching movies? Are you watching motivational movies?

B.A.: Yes. Well, not really. I just like good movies with great actors.

R: A message for your opponent?

B.A.: You made a mistake by accepting this fight against me, I will destroy you! Haha...

 

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Card for Enfusion #25 on March 14th

  • Published in Kickboxing

On March 14th Enfusion returns with Enfusion Live #25 live from Belgium. The event is headlined by an Enfusion World Title match at 80kg where Hicham El Gaoui looks to defend that title against Morad Salhi. Also in the card is the talented William Diender against Nordin Ben Moh, a huge 70kg battle between Harut Grigorian and Marco Pique and more.

#25 Enfusion Live, Turnhout Belgium Saturday 14.03.2015
Local Start Time 21.30
1. 3X3      
Youssef Challouki (Belgium) Vs Sidy Barry (France) - 70KG
2. 3X3      
Anissa Meksen (France) Vs Isis Verbeek (The Netherlands)- 54Kg
3. 3X3      
Robbie Hageman (The Netherlands) Vs Engin Kutuk (Turkey)-  70 KG
4.  3X3     
Harut Grigorian (Armenia) Vs Marco Pique (Surinam)- 70 KG
5. 3X3      
Nordin Ben Moh (Morocco) Vs William Diender (The Netherlands)- 70Kg
6. 5X3      
Hicham El Gaoui (Morocco) Vs Morad Salhi (Morocco)
- 80Kg  Enfusion World Title
 

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SuperKombat Releases Card for March 7th 5th Anniversary Event

  • Published in Kickboxing

SuperKombat is looking to kick off their 2015 in style with their first event of the year; SuperKombat World Grand Prix I in Ploiesti, Romania. The show will begin with a SuperKombat New Heroes undercard that will look to help them establish talent for future SuperKombat events. Over the years SuperKombat has developed quite a bit of talent that have made a splash on the world stage and this card serves as both a reminder and a sign of what's to come with the New Heroes fights. The main card features many of the names that SuperKombat fans have grown to know and love, including; Cristian Ristea, D'Angelo Marshall, Bogdan Stoica, Amansio Paraschiv, Andrei Stoica and Heavyweight bruiser Benjamin Adegbuyi. 

The event will be broadcast, as always, on EuroSport. We'll have more for you as the event approaches.

Interesting angle for the New Heroes event is that Bogdan Nastase is an actual sheepherder and will come to the ring in his full sheepherding gear.

SUPERKOMBAT WORLD GRAND PRIX I 2015 (22:00 CEST)
1. Super Fight – Super Cruiserweight bout (-95 kg)
Clyde Brunswijk (Suriname) vs Cristian Ristea (Romania)
2. Super Fight – Heavyweight bout (+96 kg)
Michal Wlazlo (Poland) vs D’Angelo Marshall (Curacao)
3. Super Fight – Super Cruiserweight (-95 kg)
Ibrahim Giydirir (Turkey) vs Laszlo Nemeş (Romania)
4. Super Fight – Cruiserweight bout (-92 kg)
Zinedine Hameur-Lain (Algeria) vs Bogdan Stoica (Romania)
5. New Heroes middleweight title – Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Julian Imeri (Albania) vs Amansio Paraschiv (Romania)
6. Super Fight – Super Cruiserweight bout (-95 kg)
Marcelo Adriaansz (Suriname) vs Andrei Stoica (Romania)
7. Super Fight – Heavyweight bout (+96 kg)
Daniel Lentie (Cameroon) vs Benjamin Adegbuyi (Romania)
SUPERKOMBAT NEW HEROES (20:00 CEST)
1. Super Fight – Middleweight bout (-71 kg)
Robert Stoica (Romania) vs Andrei Ostrovanu (Romania)
2. Super Fight – Light Heavyweight bout (-86 kg)
Daniel Thomas (Great Britain) vs Stefan Szomoru (Romania)
3. Super Fight – Super Middleweight bout (-77 kg)
Bogdan Nastase (Romania) vs Alex Filip (Romania)
4. Super Fight – Cruiserweight bout (-92 kg)
Cosmin Ionescu (Romania) vs TBA
5. Super Fight – Female Lightweight bout (-65 kg)
Annalisa Bucci (Italy) vs Cristiana Stancu (Romania)
6. Super Fight – Lightweight bout (-63,5 kg)
Luca Donadio (Italy) vs Cristian Spetcu (Romania)
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Video: Watch Liam Harrison knock out one of Jordan Watson's teeth

  • Published in Muay Thai

In preparation of their upcoming title bouts, Bad Company's Jordan Watson and Liam Harrison were sparring in front of the Yokkao cameras, when Harrison landed flush with an uppercut, knocking one of Watson's teeth out. 

Despite the injury, it was all smiles between the two, who both are scheduled to headline Yokkao's double-event next month. Watson will be defending his 70kg Yokkao world title he won last October when he meets the ultra-talented Sanny Dahlbeck. Harrison on the other-hand, will need to claw the 65kg belt away from the grasp of pound-for-pound great Pakorn.

Yokkao's 12 & 13 will commence on March 21st from the Macron Arena in Bolton, Manchester. 

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Danyo Ilunga Signs with FFC

  • Published in Kickboxing

Former It's Showtime Champion and current GLORY Light Heavyweight standout Danyo Ilunga has signed on with Croatia's Final Fight promotion. While the promotion did not release details of the contract or when he will debut, they seem excited to have Ilunga on board considering how talented he is. 

Ilunga was the long-time top dog of the division until he ran into Tyrone Spong in the finals of the GLORY 9 Light Heavyweight tournament. From there he went on to defeat Michael Duut, Andrei Stoica and Ondrei Hutnik before falling to Saulo Cavalari in the GLORY 18 Light Heavyweight Contender's tournament. I don't expect him to stop competing in GLORY any time soon, though, so consider his move to FFC just in addition to that.

Final Fight's current Light Heavyweight Champion is Igor Jurkovic, which would be a potentially interesting match up down the line for FFC to make.

"We are extremely proud that we have such a big name in Final Fight Championship. I think Danyo Ilunga needs no special introduction since he is the world's best fighter in light heavyweight division and No 1 on Glory raking lists. It is also an important indicator of the reputation FFC has in the international fighting sports scene since fighters such as Ilunga fight only in top promotions,“ said the FFC President Orsat Zovko and added: “We will soon reveal more details on Ilunga's debut in the FFC and we hope it will be as soon as possible.“

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Tyrone Spong Making His Professional Boxing Debut on March 6th

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) Glory Sports International

It looks like Tyrone Spong's first fight back after his injury will officially be in a boxing ring. According to BoxingScene we can expect to see Tyrone Spong boxing in Germany on March 6th. Promoter Erol Cylan is in talks with Oczan Cetinkaya and Alexander Ustinov to possibly fight Spong on the card that will air on EuroSport.

While we are hoping to see Spong back to kickboxing soon and many have high hopes for his MMA career, we'll take seeing Spong back in any sport, hopefully healthy and looking strong.

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Glory 21 Announcement

  • Published in Glory

Glory 21 has officially been announced for May 8th at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Wikipedia tells us that the arena holds 16, 100 people for mixed martial arts events if the whole arena is used, so this could be a huge show.

Artem Levin will be defending his title against the winner of the tournament at Glory 20 in Dubai. So it could be Jason Wilnis, Alex Pereira, Wayne Barrett or Simon Marcus anyone one of them against Levin will be an exciting fight as they all bring something different to the ring.

There is also an all American heavyweight tournament which will grant the winner entry into the Glory heavyweight contender tournament where the winner will fight Rico Verhoeven for the belt. The American heavyweights have yet to be announced.

Of course this will all be Live on Spike TV on Friday, May 8th. I'm so happy to see Glory announcing events more than a month before the show now and giving us all a chance to get excited and also more time to buy tickets.  [source]

 

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Top Class Muay Thai Fighters, Top Class Fights At Lion Fight 20

  • Published in Muay Thai

(C) Bauzen

Foxwoods Casino, 2/20/15: Scott Kent and the Lion Fight crew delivered another great night of fights, showcasing what really makes Muay Thai the Sport of Kings. If you don’t already know, what sets Muay Thai apart from other combat sports is the sportsmanship, honor, respect and friendship amongst the fighters. Even after what was to some a questionable decision the fighters always maintained a smile on their face, and acknowledged the skill and ability of their opponent. By the end of the night there were two after parties. One at Scorpion, the bar across the hall from the Fox Theater, where UFC Veteran and BJJ Gold Medalist Gabriel Gonzaga and many other spectators were partying it up and burning off the adrenaline. The other, smaller party was fighters, coaches and cute medical staff only, and it was in the ambulances and emergency room of the local hospital, where at least half a dozen of the fighters got to bond. The pictures from the taxi’s, buses, ambulances and ER are great. They look like pictures from a kid’s 12th birthday party. But enough of this love in the hospital, let’s get to the war in the ring.

In the main event Jorina Baars was just too fast, too strong, and too accurate for the more experienced Chantal Ughi to handle. Starting with a one-sided first round in which Jorina came forward with a mix of punches, body and low kicks that kept Ughi moving back, defending, and still taking clean hits. Although Chantal posed no danger to Jorina, her own front leg was quickly in danger of collapse from Baars’ kicks. More of the same action followed in the second round. Sensing her imminent demise, Ughi began throwing elbows after clinching Jorina, but couldn’t find the space to make effective contact. She did have a brief flash of life before the end of the round, but it turned out to be naught but a last gasp. Although Chantal made it out of the round, she was unable to get off the stool, and surrendered from her corner before the third round could start.

The co-main event was one of those fights that could have been a disaster on paper, but in either direction. Joe Sittisak has a world of experience, but with that experience comes an older body which can break down in training or a fight. Chris Mauceri has youth, speed, height and reach on his side. Youth brings with it passion and aggression, whereas the elder has composure, patience, power and resilience. Watching this fight was like watching a young fighter training on a heavybag, or even more like a wing chun dummy, heavybags move too much. Mauceri came forward tirelessly, like an incoming high tide, throwing waves of punches, kicks and knees. But like a strong seawall, Sittisak just absorbed them and turned them back. He moved around the ring like tired old elephant, but when he felt his back touch those ropes, he would fire back with a solid combination, or a clean knee or kick to the body, or a sweep so smooth and effortless you’d think he was on ice. The rounds were close, and followed the same pattern for the first four rounds with Sittisak doing just barely enough to keep the Upstate New York product at bay. In the fifth the older Thai looked like he just wanted to get to the end and have a cigarette and a beer. He had put enough rounds in the bank and was now in cruise-control. Mauceri may have sensed he was behind because he hit the gas even harder, coming forward and almost literally swinging for the fences with huge arcing right hands that Sittisak either slipped, faded, or countered. One of those counters punched Chris’ ticket to the ER, opening up a gash over his left eye which was bad enough for the ref to ask the doctor to look at. After the pause, Chris opened up the throttle even more and poured on the pressure. It was a valiant effort, and a great fight, but in the end the heavy bag will always be hanging there ready for more, while we need to rest and ice. So to did Sittisak win by UNANIMOUS DECISION 48-47 x 3 judges.

I wish I could just skip the rest of the card, oh faithful reader, and list the results. But to do so would be an injustice of the highest order to both you and the fighters who had the crowd dazzled. So dazzled that they didn’t really know when to applaud or cheer. Or perhaps they were on Japanese manners that night? It was ironic because the theater was filled, but almost silent for most of the time during the fights. I think not having the traditional Thaiboxing music playing during the rounds opened up the ears to hear the silence from the crowd. The other pro fights were intense, but I’ll try to keep it short.

John Nofer shocked everyone in the Muay Thai world except for him, his trainer Rami Ibrahim, and the Sitan family. After Jason Andrada started fast with some heavy leather and leg kicks, Nofer landed a solid right cross that make Andrada acknowledge it with a smile and nod. The emotionless Nofer just pushed his fists deeper into his gloves and came forward like the Terminator. Andrada’s movement and quick slickness weren’t enough in the second round to prevent a sudden knockdown that he popped up from but had to endure a count for. Then he got his with a solid and well placed left handed crossing elbow that cut Jason just above and behind his right eye. After getting up, smiling and wiping the blood from his face Andrada attacked. But attacking the Terminator never worked in the movies, and it didn’t work that night as the stoic young automaton put together enough punishing combinations that referee Tom Sconzo was forced to step in for a standing 8-count, effectively the 3rd knockdown of the round and thus end of the fight. Nofer wins by TKO at 2:58 of the second round.

In what started out at a slow simmer of a fight in the first soon heated up and boiled over as the rounds wore on between Rich Abraham, out of Chicago, and Jo Nattawut, up from Georgia. They started out with the traditional slow Thai pace, and I figured out quickly, as it appeared Jo did, that Abraham was a slugging boxer, throwing hard punches at every opportunity. Nattawut seemed made for this type of opponent as he figured out that his own kicks were as fast, if not faster from distance than Abraham’s arsenal of punches. The tough and aggressive Abraham continued to press forward and advance through all five rounds, including the fifth in which Nattawut really tried to step it up and put him away. Nattawut had tasted Abraham’s power a few times in the fight, but was not afraid of it, to the point that he would bait Abraham with lowered hands, and if not taunt, then at least toy with him, pulling out any trick he could muster, including a cartwheel kick that looked good until it missed and Jo landed heels over head in the ropes. Aside from that, Nattawut dominated, cutting up Abraham’s head, sending him to the ER Party, UNANIMOUS DECISION, Nattawut.

Dublin, CA sent us Gaston Bolanos and his interesting mix of traditional and exotic techniques to take on New York’s Caleb Archer and his tough Sitan style. A good match up with both fighters showing great skill and stamina, however a close eye could see that Gaston was building momentum and confidence as the fight progressed. He was looking for a spinning back elbow throughout, setting it up from afar with a right cross miss, then stepping through and spinning the left elbow. He missed it about 4 times, but like a good baseball player knows, with enough at-bats he’ll get the homerun, he stayed with it. And it paid off in the 3rd round; when he finally landed the right spinning back elbow flush to Caleb’s head, knocking him out at 1:05 in the round. A quick note here about the great refereeing of this moment in particular. Caleb was unconscious but on his feet. Veteran fighter and referee Coban Lookchaomaesaithong (yes, I had to look up the spelling!) stopped the action, waived off the fight, and caught the fighter in his arms before he could hit the mat and bounce his head off the floor. I can’t stress how important that is, because the concussive force of a limp person’s head hitting the floor compounds and amplifies the damage from the original blow, if not creating its own separate concussion. Kudos to you, Coban!

Julio Pena gave up height and reach, but carried the muscle needed to get inside and pound on Tom Evans. After a clinch had been broken, Tom turned his back momentarily and walked away. Pena seized the opportunity and jumped in front of Evans, unloading a barrage of punches. There is already a Vine of the knockout, title “One-punch KO” but that takes away from the effort that Julio truly exerted. He through punches non-stop for a good ten-seconds before landing that perfect right cross. Ten seconds of non-stop full power punching is no joke. Try it. I’ll wait… 8…9…10. Okay, now catch your breath, wipe the sweat and reassess the one-punch theory. All that work earned Julio a KO at 1:30 of the first, and Tom Evans a VIP ticket to the ER Party.

The first professional fight, which sadly didn’t make it to air on AXS TV was one of the most even match ups and a great contest. Bryce Lawrence showed some fluid movement and great combinations in the first round, scoring both a knock-down 8-count and a cut on Tim Amorim’s face. Tim is normally a slow starter, but picked his pace up quickly from the time of the knock down. Through the second, third and fourth rounds he stayed aggressive until Bryce checked his progress with strong punch combos followed by nice snappy kicks and forced him into the reverse. The very game and tough Amorim continued to fight back, but was moving backwards away from the smooth and confident Lawrence. In the fifth, just when Bryce was looking winded, he snapped a teep to Tim’s face that scored well and followed it with a right cross, spinning back-fist combo that put Tim down for another 8 count and sealed the deal for Bryce Lawrence, giving him a majority decision, 47-47, 48-46, 47-46.

Amateur Results:

KRIS SILCK def. Brian Gamez by TKO Rd. 2.
GREG MULGREW def. Mike Carbonneau by KO Rd. 1.
STACEY SCAPECCIA def. Colleen Downey by UD
JULIAN NGUYEN def. Chris Malloy by UD
PHIL DaSILVA def. Ben Anton by SD
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Saenchai Drew Capacity Crowds for NYC Seminar

  • Published in Muay Thai

This past weekend in the snowy New York City Saenchai headed into the heart of the city with Yokkao promoter Stefania Picelli for a stint of three days jam-packed with seminars and private sessions. Saenchai, along with Manop Yuangyai shocked attendants by putting on a blistering three-hour long seminar for the attendees. The seminars were originally intended to be at the York College Arena where they could fit more people in, but due to weather they ended up having more intimate affairs at the Striking 101 Gym where they had to limit each seminar to 50 people.

In attendance were professional fighters and muay thai enthusiasts from all over the country, even attendees from as far as Canada and Brazil. 

Due to the success of these seminars Yokkao are looking to hold more seminars across the country with Saenchai. If your gym is interested in hosting one reach out to them; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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VIDEO: Enriko Kehl vs. Erkan Varol and Zabit Samedov vs. Merit Arkan

  • Published in Video

K-1 World MAX Champion Enriko Kehl has been keeping busy while he is set for a showdown with the legendary Giorgio Petrosyan in just a matter of weeks now. Earlier this year Petrosyan fought Erkan Varol, picking up a victory over Varol. Now Kehl has gone and done the same thing, this being a rematch between the two. They met this weekend in Turkey and Kehl looked confident in the fight. Of course, the test of Petrosyan is a big one for the young fighter, but hopefully he'll be ready come April 11th.

Also on the card was the man who knocked Badr Hari out, Zabit Samedov. Samedov fought Merit Arkan.

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February 2015 LiverKick Rankings Update

  • Published in Rankings

(C) Glory Sports International

You've spoken and we've listened. We know there was a bit of a lapse in updating the official LiverKick Rankings, but they are officially back after the events of GLORY 19. Some of the movements will make sense, others will be a bit more confusing or you might not agree with. That's why we are here to talk about it. 

First off, apologies on the lack of updates on them. There wasn't a ton of movement for a while and then when there was both Jay and myself were busy. In late 2014/early 2015 Jay's wife gave birth to their beautiful daughter and during that time I was finishing up my second novel, which is currently off with my editor being polished up. LiverKick has always been a small operation and when we are under a crunch the site tends to suffer a bit. It just is how it is, but we appreciate your understanding.

Now, onto the rankings.

The first odd thing is Heavyweight. Just the entire division at this point. Andrei Gerasmichuk is the new addition to Heavyweight and he's troublesome, at best. He defeated Rico Verhoeven in January at a Kunlun event, but the reality here is that we can't just place him at #1 just yet. The problem created by that win is immense. Placing him at #1 is an issue if he does not continue to face top competition. His win over Balrak was impressive, but depending on how the rest of the Kunlun tournament goes will depend on if he's a legitimate top ten player or not.

The inclusion of Ben Edwards at Heavyweight will continue until either he loses in HW Kickboxing or he goes for one year inactive (as has been our rule since the beginning and how most 'retirements' are not permanent). 

Not much movement at Light Heavyweight.

Middleweight saw very little movement as well. With Simon Marcus we had a similar problem with him getting smoked in China, but his opponent is still a relatively unknown quantity on this level. If he continues to face tough opponents we'll rank him and Marcus will probably drop out.

Welterweight had some movement, but not much that you'll recognize. It is not that deep of a division considering that some Lightweights fight up in weight, but usually not enough to warrant them being considered Welterweights (for example fighting at 72.5kg or so).

Lightweight has been interesting of late with there being a lot of movement. The biggest x-factor in the bottom half of the division has been the unranked Steve Moxon. He holds a win over Aikpracha, but he holds so many lopsided losses that including him felt pained, especially considering the level of competition that Aikpracha has been facing of late. Sitthichai comes in after a long tradition of including muay thai fighters who fight in kickboxing and only weighing their kickboxing fights, not their muay thai fights. He has a ton of quality wins including ones over Andy Souwer and Murthel Groenhart. 

Featherweight saw a lot of movement thanks to the recent Shoot Boxing and K-1 happenings. The division has always seen things shaken up all of the time thanks to how active a lot of the fighters are in Japan. GLORY has an upcoming title bout between Mosab Amrani and Gabriel Varga which could be changing the landscape quite a bit. No, we aren't happy about having to rank a certain tournament winner who received poor decisions in his favor, but it is what it is. 

Heavyweight (Per 2/13)

1 Rico Verhoeven
2 Daniel Ghita
3 Errol Zimmerman
4 Sergei Kharitonov
5 Anderson Silva
6 Benjamin Adegbuyi
7 Andrei Gerasmichuk
8 Hesdy Gerges
9 Ben Edwards
10 Zabit Samedov

Light

Heavyweight (Per 2/13)

1 Gokhan Saki
2 Tyrone Spong
3 Saulo Cavalari
4 Danyo Ilunga
5 Nathan Corbett
6 Artem Vakhitov
7 Mourad Bouzidi
8 Igor Jukovic
9 Michael Duut
10 Andrei Stoica
Middleweight (Per 2/13)

1 Artem Levin
2 Joe Schilling
3 Filip Verlinden
4 Jason Wilnis
5 Wayne Barrett
6 Alex Pereira
7 Sahak Parparyan
8 Simon Marcus
9 Israel Adesanya
10 Robert Thomas
Welterweight (Per 2/13)

1 Nieky Holzken
2 Joseph Valtellini
3 Artur Kyshenko
4 Karapet Karapetyan
5 Raymond Daniels
6 Karim Ghajji
7 Paul Daley
8 Alexander Stetsurenko
9 Jonatan Oliveira
10 Francois Ambang
Lightweight (Per 2/13)

1 Robin van Roosmalen
2 Davit Kiria
3 Andy Ristie
4 Giorgio Petrosyan
5 Sitthichai
6 Murthel Groenhart
7 Marat Grigorian
8 Andy Souwer
9 Enriko Kehl
10 Aikpracha
Featherweight (Per 2/13)

1 Mosab Amrani
2 Kaew Fairtex
3 Masaaki Noiri
4 Yuta Kubo
5 Gabriel Varga
6 Hiroaki Suzuki
7 Liam Harrison
8 Shane Oblonsky
9 Zakaria Zouggari
10 Houcine Bennoui
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Video: Israel Adesanya vs. Kim Loudon

  • Published in Video

Luckily the Knees of Fury promotion has most of their fights on to Youtube shortly after the event so we were able to watch Adesanya's last fight. Now I personally have not seen a full fight (only clips) of his since he fought Verlinden at Glory 15. I know he's been doing some professional Boxing with the Super 8 tournaments and feel it showed in this fight, his boxing and head movement looked amazing, but I felt he was actually looking too much like a boxer at some points. I'd like to see him back in Kickboxing or Muay Thai fights more often just to get that kicking groove back. Otherwise he demolished Kim Loudon and stopped him in the 3rd with some nasty looking elbows that looked as though they could have been stopped sooner. Israel standing in the middle of the ring instead of going to his corner between the 1st and 2nd round made me laugh pretty hard.

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Lion Fight 20's Jorina Baars Talks Ughi Rematch and Life Post-Cyborg Win

  • Published in Interviews

(C) Lion Fight/Bernie Palmore

This Friday evening on AXS TV we'll see Lion Fight return to Connecticut with Lion Fight 20. While women headlining major fight cards is still a bit of a misnomer in combat sports Lion Fight is unafraid to place their Women's Welterweight Champion Jorina Baars as their headliner. Baars will be fighting the tough veteran that is Chantal Ughi in what is a rematch from a few years ago. Both women are world-renowned and have fought the best of the best, but for right now Jorina is the woman to beat. 

We briefly spoke with Jorina heading into the fight this Friday about the American media coverage that has come from the Cris Cyborg Justino victory as well as how she feels about the rematch with Ughi.

You’ve fought Chantal Ughi before and it was a close fight, how do you feel that you’ve evolved since then and how different of a fight will this be?

I have evolved in different ways, I developed and gained more experience in Muay Thai, have become stronger physically and mentally. I still train and fight for SportsArt Den Helder and started training with Andre Mannaart from Mejiro Gym to assist in coaching me, he has been the trainer of many champions such as Rob Kaman, Remy Bonjasky, Peter Aerts, Andy Souwer there is a lot of talent at both Mejiro Gym and SportsArt and all my trainings partners at both these gyms have helped me evolve. I've also been training a lot with Marieke Post, she's a professional fighter as well and a friend, we battle together in the gym each day and she has pushed me forward and I gain lots of strength from her knowledge and passion to fight.

Chantal Ughi is a tough opponent who has made a name for herself by fighting in Thailand, while you have made a name for yourself by fighting in Europe. Do you consider this a clash in styles or traditions?

No I do not think it is a clash of styles and/or traditions, in Muay Thai there are more possibilities than in K1, Glory or Kickboxing rules, that means that this will be a more exciting fight. 

The win over Cyborg Justino was a huge one, how did it feel knowing that many fans saw this as an easy fight for her only to see you outclass her throughout most of the fight?

There was a lot of talk about the Cyborg fight and most fight fans thought that she was going to beat me, they were unfamiliar with me, didn’t know who I am.  But the talk after the fight is that Cyborg only had 2 Muay Thai fights and Jorina has 36.  Cyborg proved to be a great Sport and was honest about it, she stated that she fights anybody, anytime, she accepted the fight and knew where she was up against. I respect Cyborg for that !

Did you feel that you were perhaps being looked over by many people going into the fight against Cyborg?

I am sure some people overlooked me going into the Cyborg fight.  I never underestimated Cyborg, never underestimate any opponent that is put in front of me.  I knew where I was up against as well, Cyborg was a very worthy opponent and she came to fight, we both fought hard and I enjoyed that fight very much. I am always coming to fight, no ifs ands or buts it is what the Fans and Lion Fight expect me to do and it is what I do best.

Have you gotten a lot more attention since the Cyborg win, or has it only been in the United States, really?

I get attention through the Social Media and some Dutch Newspapers after the last fight, now for the upcoming fight against Ughi the newspapers have shown interests again and published some articles.  My day to day life is still the same, I work at a nightclub in Amsterdam as a Bouncer, its happens every once in a while that a guest at our club comes to me and says; “You are Jorina, right ?” it flatters me and respond “Yes, that’s me !”

You’ve dabbled in mixed martial arts before, is that something that you’d like to try again some time, or are you content sticking with muay thai?

I switched to MMA as it was impossible to find anyone to fight me on Muay Thai rules, I like MMA but for now, or at least for the time I am under contract with Lion Fight Promotions I will stay and remain focused on Muay Thai.

Do you feel that there are any specific challenges or hurdles that you have to overcome as a woman in fighting sports?

Women have to train just as hard as their male colleagues, it is easier to get fights as a man, there are just a lot more men fighting then there are women, it’s supply and demand, plain and simple.  Women are underappreciated in the fight business, but there are lots of improvements happening and I am happy to see that and be on the first row of experiencing it.

Is there any one fight out there that you haven’t gotten yet that you’ve really wanted to happen?

Yes there is, I would love to fight Germaine de Randamie. She is a very good and strong fighter. Before she fought in the UFC, both our teams were looking for a promoter who could let us fight at their event, as of today that has not happened yet.  Maybe and hopefully Lion Fight can make that fight happen and I will happily accept that opportunity.

What kind of responsibility do you feel as a World Champion for a sport?

Yes we are an example to all fans, kids and adults alike.  There is a tremendous responsibility with that and I enjoy having to deal with that, in matter of fact it is an honor.  I always like to inspire kids to take on Muay Thai as it not only helps them physically but also mentally, it builds their confidence that they will able to benefit from the rest of their lives. I like to portray the fighting sports and muay thai in a positive light, always have. There are still some misunderstandings for this Sport, especially in the Netherlands and I like to set that record straight and continue to do be righteous– Osu !

 

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Check Out LiverKick's Post Fight Interviews with Verhoeven, Ristie, Jauncey, Holzken and More

  • Published in Video

(C) Glory Sports International

On Friday night GLORY 19 went down, where we saw Nieky Holzken run the gauntlet and walk away as the number one contender for the GLORY Welterweight Championship and Rico Verhoeven retained his GLORY Heavyweight Championship after Errol Zimmerman went down to a knee injury in the second round. It was one of the more exciting kickboxing events that we've had recently and will stick in people's memories for a while, that's for sure.

Our bud Carlo was there with his camera and he caught up with some of the fighters post-fight to get their thoughts.

Nieky Holzken

Rico Verhoeven

Josh Jauncey

Andy Ristie

Brian Collette

Francois Ambang

Xavier Vigney

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LiverKick Interviews GLORY 19 SuperFight Series Stars Jauncey, Baumert, Collette and More

  • Published in Video

(C) Glory Sports International

The undercard for GLORY 19, the GLORY SuperFight Series, is jam-packed with talent. I mean it. Andy Ristie is fighting Steve Moxon, Josh Jauncey is fighting Max Baumert and we've got Collette, Ambang, Vigney and more. The news came out that CBS Sports Net will be airing the SuperFight Series on a one week delay, which means those of us in the US will get a chance to see it next week, but until then we're just gonna be jonesing because this is a tremendous lineup.

Our bud Carlo caught up with a few of the stars from this show's SuperFight Series (even a non-booked Filip Verlinden, who seems to have something on his mind) and we let them sound off.

Josh Jauncey, in a bath tub (...seriously, it's a bubble bath)

Max Baumert

Myron Dennis

Brian Collette

Francois Ambang

Filip Verlinden

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LiverKick Interviews GLORY 19's Welterweight Tournament Competitors

  • Published in Video

(C) Glory Sports International

One of the featured attractions at GLORY 19 is the GLORY Welterweight Contender's tournament featuring Nieky Holzken, Alexander Stetsurenko, Jonatan Oliveira and Raymond Daniels. The winner of the tournament will go on to face the GLORY Welterweight Champion Joseph Valtellini in the future. Needless to say a lot is on the line.

Our friend Carlo sat down with the contender's (minus Stetsurenko who didn't have a translator handy). Here's what they had to say.

Nieky Holzken

Raymond Daniels

Jonatan Oliveira

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LiverKick Interviews GLORY 19's Rico Verhoeven and Errol Zimmerman

  • Published in Video

(C) Glory Sports International

At GLORY 19 in Virginia the GLORY Heavyweight Championship is on the line between champion Rico Verhoeven and challenger Errol Zimmerman. Things have been heating up between them, with some bad blood going back to their two previous fights. These guys are one fight apiece going into GLORY 19 and there is a lot on the line.

Our friend Carlo is on the ground in Virginia and caught up with both men before their fight at GLORY 19.

Rico Verhoeven

Errol Zimmerman

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LiverKick Interviews GLORY 19's Robert Thomas and Joe Schilling

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(C) Glory Sports International

GLORY 19 will feature a huge bout between GLORY 10 Middleweight tournament champion Joe Schilling taking on the young Canadian upstart Robert Thomas. This is Thomas's third bout with GLORY, after making his debut against Artem Levin at GLORY 16. He rebounded with a win over Mike LeMaire, but the step up to Joe Schilling from LeMaire is a steep one. 

Our friend Carlo is on the ground at GLORY 19 and caught up with both Thomas and Schilling today to get their thoughts on the upcoming fight.

Thomas

Schilling

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Joe Schilling Talks Success, Vinny Shoreman's Mind Coaching and Maturity Leading into GLORY 19

  • Published in Interviews

On February 6th Joe Schilling makes his return to the GLORY ring after successfully making his Bellator debut back in November. In the past few months Joe Schilling has been everywhere, not just endearing himself to the kickboxing world, but also making a huge impact on the MMA world as well. His knockout of Melvin Manhoef was one for the record books and quickly became one of the most talked-about knockouts of the year. From there he went on to train with Nick Diaz to help him prepare for his UFC 183 bout against Anderson Silva.

It’s safe to say that things are different for Joe Schilling now in 2015 than they ever have been, even if it just comes down to the sheer amount of activity. “I was always kind of jealous of these guys that would fight like five or six times a year when I was always struggling to scrape up three fights. I mean, tournaments, yeah, but that’s still one night. This year is really shaping up to be a lot different and between both GLORY and Bellator I plan on being extremely active and making a name for myself in both sports.”

It’s not hard to imagine, either, with Schilling already having two fights scheduled for 2015. The first is on February 6th where he’ll enter the GLORY ring against the tough Middleweight prospect Robert Thomas in the co-main event on Spike TV. The other was just announced today as a fight in Bellator with MMA slugger Rafael Carvalho. A lot has changed for Joe over the past few years and he’s learned a lot about both himself and how to handle himself in the ring. 

“Yeah,” he joked. “You know all of these years I’ve been just trying to punch someone’s head off, but now I’ve actually been aiming at their chins. I think that’s something new that you’ll see from me; I’m actually aiming for a knockout now, not just to hurt my opponents.” Joe’s maturity and not fighting with so much rage has helped him out immensely, though.

“I used to into fights just raging mad, just boiling over,” he explained. “I was just trying to smash people. I’d get super tired by throwing these huge shots and then have nothing left. Look at the Eddie Walker fight, I could have cruised through that fight and won a decision, but there was so much pressure for me to finish him so I pushed too hard and lost focus. If I’m angry it’s not like I’m going to punch any harder or any better. Emotion is kind of a bad thing in a fight. If you look at Last Man Standing that was the first time that I went into a fight really composed, I got into the ring that night and I was 100% calm. I just thought, ‘It’s me, it’s Joe Schilling, I’ve worked hard to be here, let’s see what I have.’ It worked out really well for me and the same thing with the Melvin fight.

“Both of these situations,” he continued. “They just really helped my confidence out. I’m not just getting lucky, I’m not catching people with lucky shots or anything. I’m performing and using my skills. It’s a really good feeling to know that I really am as good as I always thought that I could be. It’s not a fluke, it’s not luck anymore, I’ve worked really hard. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years.”

His success is starting to become real to him now, like he mentioned, he isn’t getting lucky anymore, he’s executing what he wants to do and finding success. “I find comfort now when things go wrong. When I used to get sick before a fight I’d get upset, ‘Oh my god I’m sick, what am I going to do? My dad died three weeks before the fight, what can I do?’ I’ve found comfort in this stuff now, this is just a part of preparing for a fight. Of course my weight isn’t where I want it to be a few weeks out from a fight, it never is, but it works out because I put the work in. Going into the Melvin fight my dad passed away a few weeks out and I’m crying my eyes out with my family and I get, I’m having some drinks with my brother, my sister. My uncle calls while we are doing that, and I thought ‘well that’s nice, he’s upset about my dad.’ He’s balling his eyes out and he’s like ‘Cody,’ his son, ‘just fell off a balcony and died.’ It was hard having all of this stuff going on especially that I had to be in the ring with a killer in two weeks, but Vinny helped me get back on track a little bit.

“I said, ‘well, I’ve got two weeks to get back in shape because I was just not training at all,’ I had some really good sessions with Lorenz Larkin and in one session he kicked me and he hit me right in the hip and I thought, ‘I bet that hurt, you fucker,’ then my whole side from my ribs to my quad seized on me and my hip was messed up. I spent the last week of my camp unable to run or kick, going to therapy everyday. Then I went and had one of my best performances.”

It wasn’t just in the gym where he got beaten up, though. Joe went on to explain one of his sessions with Vinny Shoreman and how Shoreman was able to help break him out of his funk. “He was talking to me and was just really being mean, I thought. ‘Oh, your dad died. I bet you feel like shit, huh? Your cousin died, that’s awful, isn’t it? I bet you feel terrible right now, don’t you?’ I was starting to get pissed off, just giving him one word answers and he knew that he was getting to me, then he told me ‘Well now what? Well you are still alive and you’ve worked hard to get where you are, are you just going to give up?’ It all just clicked for me at that moment.”

These are the kinds of setbacks that would make anyone reel, but Joe was able to find peace with his father, with whom he had a rocky relationship for most of his life with, which helped him to be more at peace with the situation. He was also able to work through a lot of his frustration and anger that he held due to his strained relationship with his father, which he attributes as one of the reasons why he feels so mentally clear now; he’s finally been able to release that anger and to move forward with his life. “We were doing timeline therapy and he really didn’t know what he was uncovering, but it was all moments about my dad. Afterwards I literally couldn’t tap into that hatred or anger about my dad, it just wasn’t there anymore. Shortly after that I was able to really 100% forgive him, like no need for an apology, it just was what it was. I was happy that I got to see him and that he got to meet his grandchildren.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Schilling is starting to be more well-known and respected. He talked about how this past weekend at UFC 183 how he was cornering Nick Diaz and he had well-known UFC fighters coming up to him to take photos with him and how they all knew who he was, which was a strange moment. That being said, his high-profile friendships and newfound fame haven’t changed his focus, he’s still ready for Robert Thomas on Friday.

“He’s a tough kid with nothing to lose,” he said. “He reminds me a lot of myself at that age, I mean, his first fight in GLORY was against Artem Levin and he was swinging for the fences. If Artem didn’t duck at the right moment there a few times he would have been laid out by him. It’s going to be a tough fight for me, I never look past an opponent. He’s got a muay thai style and starts slow, but he hits hard and stuff like his spinning backfist is no joke and he can hit that from anywhere at any time, like it almost doesn’t make sense when he does it. I’m just looking forward to getting back out there and fighting.”

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K-1

Fight Card For K-1's China vs. Japan Feb. 1st Event

  • Published in K-1

K-1 is continuing to go full speed ahead with their Chinese home base with their second event of the year in Changsua, China. This time around the theme is China vs. Japan and will feature some of their Chinese standouts against a few Japanese fighters. Sadly a lot of the talent they wanted were already booked due to New Year's and early January events, but they still pulled together a pretty good card.

I assume there will be a free stream via Hunan TV like the last time as well. Stay tuned for that. Also Jungle Koki is the coolest name ever.

60kg Tomohiro Kiyai vs. Wu Ze
63kg Keisuke Nakamura vs. Wang Zhiwei
65kg Kuji Yoshimoto vs. Hanji
70kg Hideaki Kikkawa vs. Tien Xin
70kg K-Jee vs. Zang Lei
70kg Jungle Koki vs. Ba Te Er
53kg Syuri vs. E Meidie
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Final Card for K-1 Japan on January 18th

  • Published in K-1

K-1’s Japan contingent have promised us what looks to be a pretty amazing card on January 18th. The event features a classic K-1 one night tournament, this time at 60kg. It features a mix of names that we know from the Japanese scene to some heavy hitters from around the world including Javier Hernandez, Karim Bennoui and Denis Puric.

The rest of the card is an awesome, eclectic mix of styles with some really fascinating fights on the card. Kaew Fairtex vs. Minoru Kimura is an awesome, awesome fight and I’m very happy to see Sanny Dahlbeck back in the mix against the very awesome Yoshihiro Sato. This event will be broadcast on NicoNico on the 18th.

HW: Manabu vs Fujita Tomoya
60kg: Yuma vs Kanbe Shota
65kg: Goto Masanobu vs Saito Yuta
65kg: Hiramoto Ren vs Ishikawa Yuki
60kg GP Reserve Fight: TOSHI vs Kim Hun Jae
60kg GP: Shimano Kotaro vs Javier Hernandez
60kg GP: Urabe Hirotaka vs Karim Bennoui
60kg GP: Yamamoto Masahiro vs Gagny Baradji
60kg GP: Urabe Koya vs Denis Puric
65kg: Kaew Fairtex vs Kimura Minoru
70kg: Sato Yoshihiro vs Sanny Dahlbeck
55kg: Takiya Shota vs Shou Rong
55kg: Tobe Ryuma vs Horio Ryuji
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Gabriel Varga Out of K-1 USA vs. China Event

  • Published in K-1

GLORY fighter Gabriel Varga was set to compete at the K-1 USA vs. China event on January 1st in China but it looks like all of that has gone up in smoke over the past day. Varga is reporting on having visa issues. Upon entering China they found that he did not have the proper paperwork to enter the country, which meant that he had to turn around and go right back home to Canada. 

Definitely a bit of a bummer for those looking forward to seeing Varga fight. The good news is that there are no other issues as of press time with the event and it should go off without a hitch. We'll keep you posted on any further news for the K-1 China vs. USA event.

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K-1 Signs Yodsanklai Fairtex to Two-Year Contract

  • Published in K-1

In an interesting twist of fate considering the recent events that unfolded in Thailand with Buakaw Banchamek and K-1, K-1 has been able to secure a two-year, kickboxing-exclusive deal with one of the best muay thai fighters who ventures outside of Thailand in Yodsanklai Fairtex. They announced the deal yesterday, which comes as a bit of a shock considering the shock and outrage we saw coming from Thailand after the last event. 

Then again, Yodsanklai has been angling with a fight with Buakaw for ages now and it has simply not materialized. Yodsanklai will be competing at 70kg, which places him within the MAX division. A potential fight between Yodsanklai and K-1 MAX Champion Enriko Kehl would be nothing short of awesome, that's for sure. 

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K-1 Announces Deal in China and Three 2015 Events

  • Published in K-1

If you've been wondering why K-1 has been seemingly so focused on China over the past year or so, look no further than the announcement made today by K-1 that they have secured what looks to be a pretty hefty broadcast deal in China that will reach most of the country. We had the news on the next event in China, taking place on January 1st, last week. That will be the first of ten live events that will be produced inside of China next year by K-1 through this partnership.

That first event is a China vs. USA themed event. Originally they had announced Kevin Ross and Tiffany Van Soest from the USA as fighting for the event, but due to commitments to Lion Fight Van Soest is 100% out and Ross is still trying to clear things up, but it's up in the air right now. 

According to their statement today, K-1 will be aired live on nine major, commercial broadcast network in China. I'm not kidding. Those listed are; Hunan TV, Hebei TV, Hubei TV, JiangXi TV, Anhui TV,Chongqing TV, Guangdong TV, Hainan TV, Qinghai TV. This covers most of China's population, which is estimated at 1.357 billion people. I'm not sure how to compare this to the US because China has over four times the population that the US does, but this is basically like being on one of the major broadcast networks like CBS, ABC or NBC. This partnership will make K-1 one of the most widely-viewed combat sports in the world.

K-1 has also announced two other events;

February 1st; China vs. Japan
March 28th; China vs. Thailand
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Kevin Ross Captaining K-1's Upcoming USA vs. China Event on January 1st

  • Published in K-1

Since K-1's event last December in China there has been a lot of hushed talk about the future of K-1 in China. The year 2014 has been a lot better to K-1 than other years and there have been a lot of deals talked about that could possibly make K-1 not only a major player in China, but huge in China. From what we've seen, K-1 has been training referees, judges and other officials on top of lending a hand to train fighters in China over the last year and on January 1st K-1 will make their return to China with a huge USA vs. China event.

It'll take place in Golden Eagle Culture City, Changsua, China and as I stated before, the theme will be USA vs. China. While we don't know all of the names just yet, we have heard that Kevin Ross has signed to be the Team Captain of Team USA and will be fighting, which is pretty big news considering that Ross was being courted by K-1 years ago and GLORY last year only for nothing to come of it. We've also been told that Canadian Gabriel Varga is scheduled to appear on the card, which is interesting considering there was talk of him competing for GLORY's Featherweight Championship soon. 

Tiffany Van Soest is also announced for the card.

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K-1 Japan 65kgs Tournament Results

  • Published in K-1

Last night the K-1 Japan 65kgs tournament took place including names like Yuta Kubo, Hiroya, and Michael "Tomahawk" Thompson. Overall I really enjoyed the fights, they all seemed well matched, with every fighter bringing their own unique style to the ring making the fights exciting.

We saw a wicked spinning back fist KO at the hands of Takeru in a fight that I thought he was losing. The return of Hiroya was great but once again he always seems to come up a bit short. There were two fighters that really stood out for me though, of course the tournament winner, southpaw from Thailand Kaew Fairtex, with his lightning fast head kicks, his huge upset over Kubo, and his ability to avoid punches even with the ref harassing him about clinching. Also we found out his father had passed away a week ago, he dedicated his win to him. It seemed to me that Fairtex hurt his left shin in his first fight, since he threw it a lot less in the 2nd and 3rd plus it all bandaged up, didn't seem to effect his performance too much though. Secondly a British fighter named Kerrith Bhella, I personally hadn't seen him fight before, and I half expected K-1 to give Yuya someone he could beat up in Japan. I was very wrong, Bhella's technique was some of the best I have seen, tight hands, fast powerful jab and combos followed by leg kicks, and an almost flawless defense. I really hope we get to see more of him after his defeat of Yamamoto last night.

Results

Tournament Reserve: Ilias Bulaid Defeats Taito (KO rd 3)

Tournament Quarter Final #1 - Hiroya Defeats Michael "Tomahawk" Thompson.

Tournament Quarter Final #2 - Soda Yasuomi defeats Kimura Minoru (KO rd 2)

Tournament Quarter Final #3 - Kaew Fairtex Defeats Yamazaki Hideaki (decision)

Tournament Quarter Final #4 - Yuta Kubo defeats Raz Sarkisjan (decision)

Superfight 70kgs - Matsukura Shintaro defeats Zhao Fukai (decision)

K-1 Koshien 2014 final - Hiramoto Ren defeats Sano Tenma (decision)

Tournament Semi-Finals #1 - Soda Yasuomi defeats Hiroya (decision)

Tournament Semi-Finals #2 - Kaew Fairtex defeats Yuta Kubo (KO Rd 2)

Superfight 55kgs - Takeru defeats Taiga(KO rd 2 wicked spinning backfist)

Superfight 70kgs - Kerrith Bhella defeats Yuya Yamamoto (decision)

 Tournament Finals - Kaew Fairtex defeats Soda Yasuomi (decision)

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Buakaw Holds Press Conference, Still No Real Answers to Tough Questions

  • Published in K-1

There is a shroud of mystery surrounding Buakaw Banchamek's actions at the K-1 World MAX Finals event from Saturday night. In the lead-up to the event Buakaw was in the press where he made multiple statements in regards to K-1 that all amounted to claims that he never substantiated. So it wasn't a surprise that something went down on Saturday, but no one expected Buakaw to just walk out before the decision was ever read, that's for sure. 

Yesterday K-1 held a press conference and issued a statement where they refuted Buakaw's claims against them and implied if Buakaw continued to talk in the press about the organization that they'd pursue legal action. Today in Bangkok Buakaw held his own press conference, which began with Superpro Samui's Robbie Timmers as a character witness. While it's not clear to us what he said, our best guess was that it was about Murthel Groenhart's prize money fiasco due to Timmers and his links with Black Label fighter management, which is now linked with GLORY. 

Buakaw really did not say much that we didn't already hear in the past few days. His claims were that he knew that the fight was fixed and left in protest, that he did not understand the K-1 rules due to a poor translation that was provided to him and that he was concerned with possible illegal gambling operations. What I've been explaining to people over the last few days that in cases like this the onus is on the accuser to present strong evidence and possibly even proof to validate the claims. This press conference was supposed to be the day that things were clarified and instead it was the same vague claims without a scrap of evidence or proof.

The court of public opinion has already spoken and firmly sided with Mr. Banchamek, regardless of this.

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K-1 Global Fires Back After Buakaw Banchamek's Confusing Claims

  • Published in K-1

My god, this whole Buakaw fiasco, right? 

If you are somehow blissfully unaware of what happened, on Saturday night at the K-1 World MAX Finals in Pattaya Buakaw Banchamek ran out of the building after the third round of the fight into an awaiting car, taking off without uttering a word to anyone in the arena. The only interaction that was documented was Buakaw walking over to his opponent, Enriko Kehl while his manager, Yim, shouted at the K-1 Thailand organizer from the ring before they were both ghosts. 

K-1 officials were prepared for something to go wrong in regards to Buakaw, considering that he spent the entire time after he was paid on September 22nd running the promotion down in the press, including making various claims against the company and attempting to link them to online gambling, but what happened was truly something that no one could have prepared for. The claims from Banchamek and his supporters have ranged from possible fight fixing, K-1 owning a gambling site being used to fix the fight, last minute rule changes and fear for lack of payment. 

Most of the claims have been unsubstantiated, including the fear of lack of payment considering that he was paid full and upfront weeks before the event. The gambling claims seemed like a misunderstanding, a straw man argument, if you will. K-1 was sponsored by a betting company based in Australia, but clearly had no ownership stake in the company and the site follows all regulations and will not accept bets from nations like Thailand where online gambling is illegal. 

If you were to objectively view the situation, you'd see Banchamek's shifting story, his association with a rival promoter who was upset with K-1's attempted advance into Thailand, you'd find it difficult to buy into it without any solid evidence. A press conference was scheduled for Monday afternoon in Thailand from Banchamek but never materialized, instead K-1's Ned Kuruc spoke with media where he denied claims of rule changes or links to illegal gambling at the event. Sadly this has become a game of he-said, she-said and the court of popular opinion online has already formed their opinions.

K-1 released a statement earlier today that hammered home the point that they are claiming to have not had any part in any sort of shady business dealings for this event and that if Banchamek chooses to continue with unsubstantiated claims against the company that they will pursue legal action. Messy, messy stuff.

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Glory 21 Announcement

  • Published in Glory

Glory 21 has officially been announced for May 8th at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. Wikipedia tells us that the arena holds 16, 100 people for mixed martial arts events if the whole arena is used, so this could be a huge show.

Artem Levin will be defending his title against the winner of the tournament at Glory 20 in Dubai. So it could be Jason Wilnis, Alex Pereira, Wayne Barrett or Simon Marcus anyone one of them against Levin will be an exciting fight as they all bring something different to the ring.

There is also an all American heavyweight tournament which will grant the winner entry into the Glory heavyweight contender tournament where the winner will fight Rico Verhoeven for the belt. The American heavyweights have yet to be announced.

Of course this will all be Live on Spike TV on Friday, May 8th. I'm so happy to see Glory announcing events more than a month before the show now and giving us all a chance to get excited and also more time to buy tickets.  [source]

 

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Glory 19: A New Way Forward?

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

What I love most about the kickboxing community—and what I think redeems us regardless of what happens in the industry—is that we are all diehard fans of the sport who share a strong sense of ownership of it as well as a desire to see it succeed. This comes across very clearly in Joe Schilling’s recent appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast as well as Glory bigwig Ivan Farneti’s tweets and interviews—and hopefully, our work here at LiverKick. As writers, we’ve seen the sport go through challenging times and make many a false comeback, which poses great difficulty from an editorial standpoint. On the one hand, we feel obligated and committed to supporting the sport especially when it’s struggling to survive, which in the past—speaking for myself—has led me to cheerlead at the expense of my own personal doubts. 2011 was a particularly tumultuous year; I remember arguing passionately on the dark corners of the Internet that It’s Showtime would save kickboxing even when it became increasingly clear that the Dutch organization didn’t have the resources to do so. To this day I’m not entirely sure if I really believed it could, but at the time, when kickboxing seemed to be losing its last hope for legitimacy, it seemed like the right thing to believe. On the other hand, I think that willfully overlooking blatant problems and trying to paint a falsely optimistic picture of reality is dishonest. If these seem like conflicting motives, it’s because they are, and it’s why I support Glory today while still joining in the fandom’s shared confusion and doubt when it breaks its promises and disappears for three months.

Having said all of that, I believe Glory deserves all the credit in the world for what it accomplished in Virginia Beach at Glory 19. Something just felt right this time. The product finally showed signs of maturity, of beginning to break through its veil of obscurity into the peripheral consciousness of mainstream sports. For once, there was talk of Glory on combat sports blogs that was spontaneous and organic rather than forced—and genuine interest in fighters like Joe Schilling, Raymond Daniels, and Nieky Holzken. Glory turned in its second-highest ratings of all time—coming off of a 3 month hiatus! The Virginia Beach audience seemed energized and alive as if they actually knew what they had come to see. The fights and fighters delivered on every level, showcasing the intensity and technique of kickboxing to viewers tuning in for the first time. Even Mike Tyson seemed genuinely impressed, more so than he was probably paid to be.

Glory 19 set the tone of how it should conduct itself in 2015. If excess was the fault of Glory in its first two years of operations, then new CEO Jon Franklin is to be commended for making strategic and calculated decision-making Glory’s new credo. First, let’s talk Glory’s choice of venues. Since its return in October of 2014, Glory has targeted smaller, affordable venues in cheaper domestic markets over more prestigious venues in expensive locales such as Madison Square Garden. In addition to the cost of the venues themselves, touring through smaller communities has likely saved on lodging expenses and is likely a boon from a promotional standpoint through low cost grassroots partnerships with local gyms and media outlets. This is the model that regional pro wrestling has followed for decades and seems like the appropriate strategy for Glory at this point.

Next, let’s talk about the match-ups. What started out as a decent fight card with Rico Verhoeven, Errol Zimmerman, and Nieky Holzken turned into an event that was stacked from top to bottom, with later additions Joe Schilling and Andy Ristie considerably elevating the profile of Glory’s return to SpikeTV. Adding Schilling in particular was a smart move, capitalizing on his highly publicized knockout of Melvin Manhoef in MMA. It seems that Glory has finally realized the value of keeping its exciting fighters in the limelight and that it can put together a stacked fight card and deliver top tier entertainment without having to shell out for big ticket fighters like Gokhan Saki and Tyrone Spong, something which Jon Franklin indicated as a shift in strategy last year. The new approach is more economical and still effective, and while it may indicate an end to huge fighter paydays for now, it will help provide Glory with the staying power to find prosperity in the future.

Glory 19 also signaled a shift in Glory’s efforts to expand its fanbase, including new gimmicks like adding Mike Tyson as an “analyst” and featuring an amateur fight between two active military servicemen. While people may have mixed feelings about this, I interpret it as Glory seizing opportunities for self-promotion. The aggressiveness of these tactics is a welcome change, and as a fledgling promotion, it is precisely the style of marketing that it should have adopted from the start. Glory made a strong play to associate its brand with familiar things that people take seriously, from Iron Mike to the welfare of military veterans, and in both instances Glory put its fighters front and center. The veteran commercials in particular were a brilliant touch because they asserted that Glory exists in the real world rather than the void of late-night television. From this perspective, booking Goldberg could turn out to be a savvy move.

This is encouraging stuff from Glory, and the fact that Glory is still being talked about on the web demonstrates that its new strategies are working. The ratings are also encouraging, and with rumors circulating of SpikeTV planning a stronger push back into combat sports, the future may begin to look up for kickboxing. That said, it is up to Glory to keep the momentum going; it has had promising starts in the past only for long hiatuses to kill the hype. Dubai is an interesting destination for Glory in April, perhaps representing increased international interest and investment in the brand. That said, given Glory’s astute move to Friday nights, it will be interesting to see how the significant time zone difference between the United States and the Middle East will be negotiated.

 

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Bill Goldberg in Talks with GLORY. Why Not?

  • Published in Glory

If you grew up in the 90's at all there is a good chance that you know who Bill Goldberg is. If not, or if you were professional wrestling-adverse, Bill Goldberg was a muscle-bound ex-football player that WCW scooped up in the mid-90's, loosely trained how to be a pro wrestler and tossed him into the ring. He studied a lot of pro wrestling styles and the one that stuck out to him the most was shoot-style, funny enough, which led to him taking on a character that was sort of a "shoot fighter" and he did a quasi-UFC thing.

They treated him like a prized fighter, showing his entrances where he came from the backstage area with a full security detail like a professional boxer. He wore MMA gloves and was all about intensity and, well, crushing jobbers. He was best known for his "streak" where WCW brass booked him to crush enhancement talent (read: guys so low on the totem pole that they are paid to show up, make a guy look good and to lose). WCW was a complicated promotion, though, and eventually ruined the good thing that they had with Goldberg. 

Goldberg went on to WWE after WCW folded into the WWE, but he had no passion for professional wrestling and it showed throughout his run, culminating in a match with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania where both men were booed out of the arena because the fans knew that both men were leaving after that night. Brock went on to become UFC Heavyweight Champion, Goldberg went on to have some involvement in calling MMA and being a personality, but since then has been a bit under the radar. 

He mentioned how excited that he was watching GLORY 19 last week on social media, which led to GLORY's team to reach out to him and apparently they are in talks now for Goldberg to appear in a fight on GLORY programming, but of course, Goldberg states that it's "just for fun" seeing as though he is 48. 

No word as to who a potential opponent might be, but the wrestling fan in me would like to see Norman Smiley, Barry Horowitz or "Lightning Foot" Jerry Flynn at least considered. We do know, of course, that GLORY has been in talks with Alberto Del Rio/El Patron (Jose Alberto Rodriguez/Dos Caras Jr.) about a potential fight in GLORY, so they have pro wrestling on the mind. [source]

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GLORY 19 Scores Second Highest Spike TV Ratings For GLORY

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

There was some initial skepticism after GLORY 19 was postponed to February, but the reality was that some of the reshuffling of the GLORY 19 card was exactly what the promotion needed to return interest to the product. GLORY 18 under-performed, to say the least, scoring the promotion's lowest ratings to date on Spike TV, so GLORY came back with a vengeance with GLORY 19 and the numbers have come in and they are promising.

The initial, live broadcast numbers were 528,000 and the live+DVR numbers place GLORY 19 at a staggering 542,000, which is well over a 50% increase from GLORY 18 and makes GLORY 19 the second-most watched GLORY event on Spike TV. The first being GLORY 13 Tokyo that scored 659,000 viewers. GLORY 19 had a peak of 825,000 viewers, which is the third highest behind GLORY 17 and GLORY 13. 

It's unclear how much of this is from Mike Tyson or not, but an interesting tidbit of information is that Nieky Holzken was involved with a tournament on both GLORY 13 and GLORY 19, making Nieky Holzken one of the most-watched GLORY athletes in their history. The addition of American Joe Schilling and the Heavyweight Championship most definitely had their own impacts on the ratings.

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It's Time For Another GLORY Heavyweight Tournament

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

Friday night in Virginia live on Spike TV Rico Verhoeven defended his GLORY Heavyweight Championship against Errol Zimmerman. Of course Zimmerman went down to a knee injury in the second round and not to the fists of Verhoeven, but that's another story for another day. The story right now is that Rico Verhoeven is still the Heavyweight Champion and that when you look out over the rest of the division things are a bit muddled at the moment. 

If you look around it will be clear that the guy next in line should be Daniel Ghita, but of course, the only problem with that is that we've seen Daniel Ghita challenge for the GLORY Heavyweight title already within the last year. At this point Daniel Ghita is 0-2 against Verhoeven and it's not clear if a third bout would really be a smart move so soon after the last bout between the two.

Looking down through GLORY's rankings we see, well, a mess of a division. GLORY's rankings never did make much sense to me, but they are especially strange considering Sergei Kharitonov is in the #2 spot behind Ghita considering Anderson "Braddock" Silva defeated him last year at GLORY 16. While you might be able to make a case for Braddock, for Adegbuyi or maybe even Gerges in the future, I think that it is high time that we are returned to our kickboxing roots and get an old-fashioned Heavyweight tournament.

The last large-scale Heavyweight tournament was GLORY 4, which was done via a 16-man field, which might have been too much for one evening. That tournament did, however, set Daniel Ghita apart from the pack as one of the top contenders in the division. The truth of the matter is, while GLORY might be able to turn a blind eye to Verhoeven's fight from January in China, those of us that follow the sport closely are well aware of it and the problems that it creates. Essentially Verhoeven's #1 spot in the Heavyweight division comes with an asterisk at the moment. The best way to alleviate some of that pressure and to make heads or tails of the division is to toss them all into the blender and see who comes up on top.

An eight-man field containing Verhoeven, Ghita, Braddock Silva, Zimmerman (once healed), Gerges, Edwards, Adegbuyi and Kharitonov would remove any doubts or concerns about the division and help to create more excitement around what has proven to be the money division in the sport. It would especially make sense considering how much more sense can be made of the Middleweight division after Last Man Standing last year. Four man tournaments have their place, but at the end of the day pitting the top contenders against each other is what will cause the cream to rise to the top and for the true king of the division to stand at the top.

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Andy Ristie vs. Robin Van Roosmalen Official For GLORY 20 Dubai

  • Published in Glory

After Andy Ristie's blistered performance last night at GLORY 19 it has become official that Andy Ristie will challenge GLORY Lightweight Champion Robin van Roosmalen on April 3rd in Dubai for the GLORY Lightweight Championship. Ristie made quick work of the tough-as-nails Steve Moxon last night in Virginia at GLORY 19 and Cor Hemmers confirmed at the post-show presser that Andy Ristie will get another chance at the title on April 3rd in Dubai, making two world titles on the line that night, considering the Featherweight Championship is on the line as well.

They last met at GLORY 12 in the Finals of the Lightweight tournament after Ristie had knocked out Giorgio Petrosyan. Ristie walked away victorious that night, but when he would vie for the Championship against Davit Kiria things did not work out as planned. Now after his win last night we will get to see a five-round rematch in Dubai.

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Big Night for Holzken, Schilling and Verhoeven at GLORY 19

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

GLORY 19 was an interesting night that was full of some truly tremendous action that had a bit of an underwhelming finish. 

The show's big draw, the Welterweight Contender's tournament, delivered in every fight. Raymond Daniels kicked off the night by absolutely demolishing Jonatan Oliveira with his fancy, traditional martial arts moves. Oliveira was able to cut off the ring and keep Daniels on the defensive, but Daniels found the openings for some truly highlight reel kicks throughout, making for an entertaining start to the evening. 

On the other end of the tournament we saw Nieky Holzken face the tough-as-nails Alexander Stetsurenko. Stetsurenko was a game opponent but Holzken was simply able to outperform against him. Many were looking for Holzken to make a big impression to start the night but Stetsurenko is simply too tough for that. 

Joe Schilling made his return to the GLORY ring against Robert Thomas. Many expected Schilling to steamroll through the young Canadian but Thomas was crafty and proved himself to be incredibly tough when being assaulted by Schilling's heavy hands. Thomas landed a few of his signature spinning back fists, but it was a spinning back fist by Joe late in the fight that sent Thomas crashing to the ropes and a few more punches that put him down in what would have knocked out anyone else. Thomas is tough, though, so he fought back up to his feet and was able to finish out the fight, but he clearly was outclassed by Schilling. 

Nieky Holzken and Raymond Daniels met in the tournament finals and there was a feeling that Daniels might actually have a chance against Holzken after the tremendous performance earlier on. What transpired in the ring though was completely according to the script with Holzken bullying him around the ring and utilizing his hands to hurt Daniels. He dropped Daniels with a liver punch early and continued to batter the karateka throughout the fight, dropping him a total of three more times before the fight was called in the third round. That isn't to say that there wasn't heart from Daniels, because there was. Daniels landed a huge spinning back kick that put Holzken onto his butt, the ref scoring it a knockdown, but definitely a questionable knockdown at that. It was Holzken's hands that sealed the deal and put Daniels down in the third, though. Holzken goes on to fight Valtellini in one has to be the most anticipated bout of the year.

Speaking of anticipated bouts, Rico Verhoeven and Errol Zimmerman fought for a third time with Mike Tyson at ringside to give in-between round analysis with Luke Thomas and sadly the fight ended after Zimmerman tweaked his knee in the second round. The first round was chaotic, though, with Rico scoring against Zimmerman in the first round and having him wobbled but not quite sure how to get him onto his back. Zimmerman was able to get Verhoeven wobbly as well, leaving both of them dazed and winging shots at each other. Needless to say they both looked mighty upset.

 

The fight took a turn in the second round, though, when Zimmerman when for a spinning back kick and landed on his right leg at an awkward angle, immediately falling into the corner and shrieking out in pain. The ref began counting him down, then for some reason called a time out and brought the doctor in. The doctor ruled Zimmerman unable to continue and that was the end of the fight. The Heavyweight division is kind of in chaos right now considering Verhoeven's little indiscretion in China last month, but such is life.

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Are We Too Confident Holzken Will Win?

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

There is no reason to doubt Holzken. Since 2010 he has been nearly unstoppable, punishing and brutalizing everyone placed in front of him like a well-groomed, excessively tattooed steamroller. The unfortunate wisdom awaiting his opponents on tape to prepare against him is not if he will knock you out but often when and whether it will arrive via left body hook or driving right cross. However, the surprise of an upset ensures that it will never die in our collective imagination and there have been a lot to relish inside and outside of kickboxing the last few years, and no doubt as they have a place in our memories for their defiance of our expectations, they should also be evoked to inform our interpretations of similarly considered mismatches.

No one, to my knowledge, has faithfully articulated a rationale argument for anyone other than Holzken to prevail tonight at Glory 19. Fraser Coffeen of Bloody Elbow, for example elevated the ability of Holzken’s first round opponent, Alexander Stetsurenko, to the standard of withstanding Holzken’s punishment for the full three rounds, yet did not forward the realistic possibility he would pull out the win.

Understandable.

Predictions are meant to be logical. It is the only way to survive.

And despite the proliferation of upsets recently and within the last few years, they do not become any more logical. Thus the only reasonable conclusion is that Holzken demolishes his opposition tonight per his superior craft and power, for once an expectation becomes reasonable it ceases to be an upset.

Chances are Holzken sends everyone out on stretchers, and then, to the salivating imaginations of fight fans everywhere, turns his attention to his assured rematch against Valtellini, but it should be considered far from a guarantee.

It might be wise for us to learn that by now, even if we’re destined to be wrong. 

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Glory 19: The State of the Heavyweight Division

  • Published in Glory

It’s been a long time since we’ve talked about the Heavyweight division. Who would imagine that? Less than a year ago, a vibrant Kickboxing scene without the Heavyweight division at its center seemed like an unthinkable notion. For decades, Heavyweight was synonymous with Kickboxing, with names like Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, and Semmy Schilt long overshadowing skilled fighters in other weight classes. Fast forward to 2014, which was undoubtedly the year of Middleweight, producing what I still believe is the most brutal tournament in kickboxing history with legendary clashes between Joe Schilling, Artem Levin, Wayne Barrett, Simon Marcus, and more. Glory knows that its Middleweight division is a murderer’s row and is putting its Middleweight fighters to work with regular frequency. The Lightweight division was also set ablaze when Andy Ristie did the unthinkable and blasted through Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin van Roosmalen in one night. The belt has since changed hands several times but with longtime kingpin Petrosyan out of action. Robin van Roosmalen is currently the champion, but time will tell how long he can hold on to the title, especially with Petrosyan returning to fight and a hungry Andy Ristie waiting for the chance to annihilate Robin again.

Events for the Heavyweight division, on the other hand, have taken a significant downturn. Semmy Schilt is out of the picture. Gokhan Saki has moved down to Light Heavyweight. Rico Verhoeven had a successful 2014 but opened the New Year in China with an embarrassing loss to Andrei Hirasimchuk, a virtual unknown who was able to shut down Rico’s range for two rounds and give Rico’s future opponents a potential blueprint to success. Errol Zimmerman crushed Ben Edwards and Braddock Silva in one night, but Daniel Ghita seems to have always had Zimmerman’s number, stopping him in less than a minute during their last confrontation. Benjamin Adegbuyi appears to be a bright prospect, but he has yet to receive an opportunity to compete for a contender’s spot.

And that leaves us with Daniel Ghita, who had a frustrating 2014 with two losses to Rico Verhoeven. In many ways this is the ongoing story with Daniel Ghita: he’s proved himself capable of crushing nearly every Heavyweight in the world but always comes up short in world title fights. He brutalized his way through the insane 16-man Glory Heavyweight Grand Slam in 2012 but was bullied by Semmy Schilt en route to a stoppage in the final. When he fought Rico Verhoeven, he seemed to have all of the skills needed to beat him but seemed reluctant to pull the trigger on his devastating kicks. Many of us on the twitter sphere also noted some questionable instructions from his corner during those fights. Coaching continues to be an ongoing issue for Ghita as he has changed training camps several times in the last few years, relocating from Romania to the Netherlands. These changes make me wonder where Ghita’s head is at right now. After reaching out to him on twitter, Ghita has assured me that he will be returning to action soon. Let’s hope that he is able to find stability in his training camp in 2015 as well as consistency in his fights. A championship victory seems inevitable for the Romanian, but he will finally have to put it all together if he wants to win the title this year.

As exciting a fight as the upcoming battle at Glory 19 between Verhoeven and Zimmerman will be, it’s also somewhat underwhelming because this is all the Heavyweight division has to offer at the moment. The status quo is a far cry from the massive, star-studded division that inaugurated the Glory brand. If its champion is losing fights against no-name opponents in China, then Glory has a problem. The Heavyweight division needs new talent. It needs new stars. It needs a superstar who can sell a card on his name value alone. Verhoeven and Zimmerman are formidable fighters, but they are also European athletes who haven’t crossed over with American audiences and who were for many years overshadowed by the likes of Alistair Overeem and Badr Hari. If I were Glory, I would look to add new faces this year while seizing the opportunity to add an established star like Overeem—with the help of Bellator—especially if he becomes a free agent again. Heavyweight is in need of new growth and a fresh start. We’ll see in the coming months what Glory plans to do.

 

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GLORY 19's Open Workouts a Prelude to the Storm

  • Published in Glory

(C) Glory Sports International

Nothing gets the adrenaline flowing and excitement for a combat sports event like open workouts. So on Wednesday, February 4th Olympus Fitness and Martial Arts hosted the guys from Glory prior to their 19th event at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. On deck for this event were current heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven, his challenger, Errol "Bonecrusher" Zimmerman, and Raymond "The Real Deal" Daniels.

Daniels who faces Jonathan Oliviera in the four man Welterweight tournament is known as "The Human Highlight Reel" a name to which he has lived up to with aggressive and strong showings in Chicago in 2013 as well as Denver last year. At the workouts he demonstrated his usual speed, launching multiple flurries of quick, clean strikes. Will we see any of the devastating kicks that dismantled the defense of Francois Ambang? My guess is yes, but on Friday we will know for sure.

At 103-11-1, Errol Zimmerman, the second fighter to take the stage, has a reputation for power. Physically imposing, Zimmerman's goal is to knock out every opponent and this time his goal is no different. In the workout session, where the rule is to "go lightly" and to just showcase your skills, Zimmerman pounded the pads with conviction. An always unfazed Nicky Hemmers handled the pads with ease, but Errol's power showed that he is definitely in it to win it.

Reigning champ, Rico Verhoeven provided the finale to the open workout session. Initially demonstrating the footwork and shadow boxing that has made him a champ. Rico then donned the gloves and gave the crowd a demonstration of his power and speed .

As everyone in the fight game knows, it's a game where anyone can get caught. The excitement however is undeniable and Glory 19 promises to give the people what they want, ACTION and the fighters, a shot at GLORY.

 

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Lion Fight 20's Jorina Baars Talks Ughi Rematch and Life Post-Cyborg Win

  • Published in Interviews

(C) Lion Fight/Bernie Palmore

This Friday evening on AXS TV we'll see Lion Fight return to Connecticut with Lion Fight 20. While women headlining major fight cards is still a bit of a misnomer in combat sports Lion Fight is unafraid to place their Women's Welterweight Champion Jorina Baars as their headliner. Baars will be fighting the tough veteran that is Chantal Ughi in what is a rematch from a few years ago. Both women are world-renowned and have fought the best of the best, but for right now Jorina is the woman to beat. 

We briefly spoke with Jorina heading into the fight this Friday about the American media coverage that has come from the Cris Cyborg Justino victory as well as how she feels about the rematch with Ughi.

You’ve fought Chantal Ughi before and it was a close fight, how do you feel that you’ve evolved since then and how different of a fight will this be?

I have evolved in different ways, I developed and gained more experience in Muay Thai, have become stronger physically and mentally. I still train and fight for SportsArt Den Helder and started training with Andre Mannaart from Mejiro Gym to assist in coaching me, he has been the trainer of many champions such as Rob Kaman, Remy Bonjasky, Peter Aerts, Andy Souwer there is a lot of talent at both Mejiro Gym and SportsArt and all my trainings partners at both these gyms have helped me evolve. I've also been training a lot with Marieke Post, she's a professional fighter as well and a friend, we battle together in the gym each day and she has pushed me forward and I gain lots of strength from her knowledge and passion to fight.

Chantal Ughi is a tough opponent who has made a name for herself by fighting in Thailand, while you have made a name for yourself by fighting in Europe. Do you consider this a clash in styles or traditions?

No I do not think it is a clash of styles and/or traditions, in Muay Thai there are more possibilities than in K1, Glory or Kickboxing rules, that means that this will be a more exciting fight. 

The win over Cyborg Justino was a huge one, how did it feel knowing that many fans saw this as an easy fight for her only to see you outclass her throughout most of the fight?

There was a lot of talk about the Cyborg fight and most fight fans thought that she was going to beat me, they were unfamiliar with me, didn’t know who I am.  But the talk after the fight is that Cyborg only had 2 Muay Thai fights and Jorina has 36.  Cyborg proved to be a great Sport and was honest about it, she stated that she fights anybody, anytime, she accepted the fight and knew where she was up against. I respect Cyborg for that !

Did you feel that you were perhaps being looked over by many people going into the fight against Cyborg?

I am sure some people overlooked me going into the Cyborg fight.  I never underestimated Cyborg, never underestimate any opponent that is put in front of me.  I knew where I was up against as well, Cyborg was a very worthy opponent and she came to fight, we both fought hard and I enjoyed that fight very much. I am always coming to fight, no ifs ands or buts it is what the Fans and Lion Fight expect me to do and it is what I do best.

Have you gotten a lot more attention since the Cyborg win, or has it only been in the United States, really?

I get attention through the Social Media and some Dutch Newspapers after the last fight, now for the upcoming fight against Ughi the newspapers have shown interests again and published some articles.  My day to day life is still the same, I work at a nightclub in Amsterdam as a Bouncer, its happens every once in a while that a guest at our club comes to me and says; “You are Jorina, right ?” it flatters me and respond “Yes, that’s me !”

You’ve dabbled in mixed martial arts before, is that something that you’d like to try again some time, or are you content sticking with muay thai?

I switched to MMA as it was impossible to find anyone to fight me on Muay Thai rules, I like MMA but for now, or at least for the time I am under contract with Lion Fight Promotions I will stay and remain focused on Muay Thai.

Do you feel that there are any specific challenges or hurdles that you have to overcome as a woman in fighting sports?

Women have to train just as hard as their male colleagues, it is easier to get fights as a man, there are just a lot more men fighting then there are women, it’s supply and demand, plain and simple.  Women are underappreciated in the fight business, but there are lots of improvements happening and I am happy to see that and be on the first row of experiencing it.

Is there any one fight out there that you haven’t gotten yet that you’ve really wanted to happen?

Yes there is, I would love to fight Germaine de Randamie. She is a very good and strong fighter. Before she fought in the UFC, both our teams were looking for a promoter who could let us fight at their event, as of today that has not happened yet.  Maybe and hopefully Lion Fight can make that fight happen and I will happily accept that opportunity.

What kind of responsibility do you feel as a World Champion for a sport?

Yes we are an example to all fans, kids and adults alike.  There is a tremendous responsibility with that and I enjoy having to deal with that, in matter of fact it is an honor.  I always like to inspire kids to take on Muay Thai as it not only helps them physically but also mentally, it builds their confidence that they will able to benefit from the rest of their lives. I like to portray the fighting sports and muay thai in a positive light, always have. There are still some misunderstandings for this Sport, especially in the Netherlands and I like to set that record straight and continue to do be righteous– Osu !

 

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Joe Schilling Talks Success, Vinny Shoreman's Mind Coaching and Maturity Leading into GLORY 19

  • Published in Interviews

On February 6th Joe Schilling makes his return to the GLORY ring after successfully making his Bellator debut back in November. In the past few months Joe Schilling has been everywhere, not just endearing himself to the kickboxing world, but also making a huge impact on the MMA world as well. His knockout of Melvin Manhoef was one for the record books and quickly became one of the most talked-about knockouts of the year. From there he went on to train with Nick Diaz to help him prepare for his UFC 183 bout against Anderson Silva.

It’s safe to say that things are different for Joe Schilling now in 2015 than they ever have been, even if it just comes down to the sheer amount of activity. “I was always kind of jealous of these guys that would fight like five or six times a year when I was always struggling to scrape up three fights. I mean, tournaments, yeah, but that’s still one night. This year is really shaping up to be a lot different and between both GLORY and Bellator I plan on being extremely active and making a name for myself in both sports.”

It’s not hard to imagine, either, with Schilling already having two fights scheduled for 2015. The first is on February 6th where he’ll enter the GLORY ring against the tough Middleweight prospect Robert Thomas in the co-main event on Spike TV. The other was just announced today as a fight in Bellator with MMA slugger Rafael Carvalho. A lot has changed for Joe over the past few years and he’s learned a lot about both himself and how to handle himself in the ring. 

“Yeah,” he joked. “You know all of these years I’ve been just trying to punch someone’s head off, but now I’ve actually been aiming at their chins. I think that’s something new that you’ll see from me; I’m actually aiming for a knockout now, not just to hurt my opponents.” Joe’s maturity and not fighting with so much rage has helped him out immensely, though.

“I used to into fights just raging mad, just boiling over,” he explained. “I was just trying to smash people. I’d get super tired by throwing these huge shots and then have nothing left. Look at the Eddie Walker fight, I could have cruised through that fight and won a decision, but there was so much pressure for me to finish him so I pushed too hard and lost focus. If I’m angry it’s not like I’m going to punch any harder or any better. Emotion is kind of a bad thing in a fight. If you look at Last Man Standing that was the first time that I went into a fight really composed, I got into the ring that night and I was 100% calm. I just thought, ‘It’s me, it’s Joe Schilling, I’ve worked hard to be here, let’s see what I have.’ It worked out really well for me and the same thing with the Melvin fight.

“Both of these situations,” he continued. “They just really helped my confidence out. I’m not just getting lucky, I’m not catching people with lucky shots or anything. I’m performing and using my skills. It’s a really good feeling to know that I really am as good as I always thought that I could be. It’s not a fluke, it’s not luck anymore, I’ve worked really hard. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years.”

His success is starting to become real to him now, like he mentioned, he isn’t getting lucky anymore, he’s executing what he wants to do and finding success. “I find comfort now when things go wrong. When I used to get sick before a fight I’d get upset, ‘Oh my god I’m sick, what am I going to do? My dad died three weeks before the fight, what can I do?’ I’ve found comfort in this stuff now, this is just a part of preparing for a fight. Of course my weight isn’t where I want it to be a few weeks out from a fight, it never is, but it works out because I put the work in. Going into the Melvin fight my dad passed away a few weeks out and I’m crying my eyes out with my family and I get, I’m having some drinks with my brother, my sister. My uncle calls while we are doing that, and I thought ‘well that’s nice, he’s upset about my dad.’ He’s balling his eyes out and he’s like ‘Cody,’ his son, ‘just fell off a balcony and died.’ It was hard having all of this stuff going on especially that I had to be in the ring with a killer in two weeks, but Vinny helped me get back on track a little bit.

“I said, ‘well, I’ve got two weeks to get back in shape because I was just not training at all,’ I had some really good sessions with Lorenz Larkin and in one session he kicked me and he hit me right in the hip and I thought, ‘I bet that hurt, you fucker,’ then my whole side from my ribs to my quad seized on me and my hip was messed up. I spent the last week of my camp unable to run or kick, going to therapy everyday. Then I went and had one of my best performances.”

It wasn’t just in the gym where he got beaten up, though. Joe went on to explain one of his sessions with Vinny Shoreman and how Shoreman was able to help break him out of his funk. “He was talking to me and was just really being mean, I thought. ‘Oh, your dad died. I bet you feel like shit, huh? Your cousin died, that’s awful, isn’t it? I bet you feel terrible right now, don’t you?’ I was starting to get pissed off, just giving him one word answers and he knew that he was getting to me, then he told me ‘Well now what? Well you are still alive and you’ve worked hard to get where you are, are you just going to give up?’ It all just clicked for me at that moment.”

These are the kinds of setbacks that would make anyone reel, but Joe was able to find peace with his father, with whom he had a rocky relationship for most of his life with, which helped him to be more at peace with the situation. He was also able to work through a lot of his frustration and anger that he held due to his strained relationship with his father, which he attributes as one of the reasons why he feels so mentally clear now; he’s finally been able to release that anger and to move forward with his life. “We were doing timeline therapy and he really didn’t know what he was uncovering, but it was all moments about my dad. Afterwards I literally couldn’t tap into that hatred or anger about my dad, it just wasn’t there anymore. Shortly after that I was able to really 100% forgive him, like no need for an apology, it just was what it was. I was happy that I got to see him and that he got to meet his grandchildren.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Schilling is starting to be more well-known and respected. He talked about how this past weekend at UFC 183 how he was cornering Nick Diaz and he had well-known UFC fighters coming up to him to take photos with him and how they all knew who he was, which was a strange moment. That being said, his high-profile friendships and newfound fame haven’t changed his focus, he’s still ready for Robert Thomas on Friday.

“He’s a tough kid with nothing to lose,” he said. “He reminds me a lot of myself at that age, I mean, his first fight in GLORY was against Artem Levin and he was swinging for the fences. If Artem didn’t duck at the right moment there a few times he would have been laid out by him. It’s going to be a tough fight for me, I never look past an opponent. He’s got a muay thai style and starts slow, but he hits hard and stuff like his spinning backfist is no joke and he can hit that from anywhere at any time, like it almost doesn’t make sense when he does it. I’m just looking forward to getting back out there and fighting.”

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Gabriel Varga Talks GLORY Featherweight Title and Upcoming K-1 China Fight

  • Published in Interviews

Canadian featherweight Gabriel Varga has turned some heads over the past few years with his appearances in K-1 and GLORY. In fact, Gabriel Varga is the man who is set to fight for the inaugural GLORY Featherweight Championship against Mosab Amrani. Sadly, that fight was pushed back but luckily enough he’ll be keeping busy as he fights on K-1’s China vs. USA event on January 1st.

We caught up with Varga while he prepares for his fight on January 1st.

Your weight class is incredibly competitive all around the world, where do you feel you stand in that weight class right now?

It depends in what style.  I haven't fought full Muay Thai, but in GLORY rules or modified Muay Thai I know I can be the best.  There was so much hype around Sitmonchai and many people where excited to see him fight outside Thailand, but Kickboxing is a different sport and I know I can win a fight against anybody.  I think with another 2-3 wins I will be recognized as the top kickboxer at –65kg.

Do you feel that Canada has finally gotten a chance to show the world how much talent comes from there over the past few years and are you proud of it?

Canadian fighters have had great opportunities over the past few years and Joesph Valentini, Simon Marcus, Josh Jauncey, Rob Thomas, Matt Embree and myself have risen to the challenge. I'm very happy with my accomplishments so far, but I still want to beat the top names and then Canada will be even more recognized in the Kickboxing world.

You've actually fought in China before, how does it feel to head back to China?

After another 6 months between fights I'm just happy to get a fight anywhere. But I'm looking forward to everything about this fight aside from the 12+ hour plane ride.

There isn't much out there about your opponent, does that bother you or will it not be a problem?

I've watched a few videos of him and I feel I know his style well enough now. I always prefer to learn about my opponents and train specifically for them. That's one of the reasons I dislike tournaments. You can only prepare for your first opponent and after that you just have to do the best you can.

Historically your weight class has been dominated by the Japanese, what kind of shift do you think happened over the past few years?

The Japanese are still great fighters but they haven't always had to fight the best foreigners. Japanese organizations often bring in foreign opponents who aren't necessarily amongst the best.  GLORY has been great for including the best fighters in the world.

I'm sure in the future we'll see more Japanese in the -65kg division, but with Kubo's recent loss and Noiri's absence I don't expect to fight a Japanese opponent in the near future. 

You are still going to be fighting for GLORY's Featherweight title soon, how did you go about taking this fight with K-1?

GLORY was kind enough to let me have a one fight deal with K-1 because of GLORY 19 being postponed.  I'd like to fight at least 3 times per year and in 2014 I only got to fight in June. I asked GLORY if they'd be willing to make a special exception this one time and they said yes. And K-1 was great to me as well. I called them up with a 4 weeks notice pleading for a fight and they put me on the first card they had.

Fighting on the first day of the year is a great way to start. I hope to fight at least 5 times next year and getting the GLORY Featherweight title should help me become a bigger draw.

Kickboxing has struggled in North America, what do you think will help it attract more fans?

Kickboxing simply won't become mainstream in North America in only 2 years. GLORY has been doing a great job and if they continue to hold 8+ events per year and air them on Spike, the audience will grow.  I hear so many people complaining about the UFC and I think within a couple of years, GLORY will capture the attention of those less enthusiastic MMA fans and help the popularity of kickboxing grow.

If GLORY can focus on creating a few more stars who are North American that will help as well. And if there's ever a chance to do some sort of reality show that would be very exciting. My management EPOK Agency recently announced a groundbreaking partnership with a major talent agency in New York, which will open new opportunities in mainstream media. So I think this will also help with growing my popularity as a North American fighter.

Is there anyone out there that you want to face down the line?

The only person I think I should fight for the GLORY belt is Mosab Amrani. He holds a win over Kubo and is ranked number 1. That's the fight I want.

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Getting to know Reece McAllister

  • Published in Interviews

Considered by many to be the UK's top fighter at 67kg, Reece McAllister enters this weekends Topking World Series 70kg tournament as the youngest competitor in the field. At only 22 years of age, McAllister is already extremely experienced with over 40 professional bouts to his credit. McAllister plans on making a statement with his performance against Vladimir Konsky this weekend and is ready to prove himself as one of the premier lightweights in the world.

McAllister will be looking to add to an already excellent year, where he is currently 3-0 thus far. He started the year off the year by defeating the always game Tim Thomas in a rematch of their Glory 5 bout, McAllister defeated Thomas for the second time by decision. He followed up the performance with two second round finishes against Jackson Barkhouse and Dragan Pesic, claiming the WMC World title and the inaugural K1ngs of Glory 67kg strap respectively. 

I sat down with Reece ahead of his bout on Saturday and discussed everything from the fight this weekend, his martial arts journey and his plans for the future.

JS: Good afternoon Reece. This Saturday you'll be facing Vladimir Konsky in the first round of the tournament, where do you see yourself having advantages in this fight?

RM: Hi Jack. Coming into this fight I consider my youth to be a big advantage. I also think my skills are more diverse in comparison to my opponent and I have a much superior camp behind me. I am very hungry coming into this fight.

JS: If you're successful Saturday night is there anyone specifically you'd like to face in the next round?

RM: No there is not anyone specifically I would want to face in the next round as they are all great fighters and I believe I have the skills to beat anyone in the tournament.

JS: Who would you consider to be the favorites in the tournament?

RM: I would say Buakaw is probably considered to be one of the favorites.

JS: Speaking of Buakaw. He was involved in a rather controversial bout against Enriko Kehl  a few weeks back. Did you watch the bout  and what did you think of it?

RM: Kehl had a great performance in that fight but I still think Buakaw deserved the win. It was still bad sportsmanship by Buakaw to walkout and not finish the fight.

JS: I've been following your career for sometime and this year especially you seem to be increasingly more aggressive in your performances. What are the reasons for this?

RM: My increased aggression is  because I'm so hungry to be at the top now.  Having my daughter has driven me even more to be the best, I fight for her now.

JS: Lets talk a little about your martial arts background. You began training in Muay Thai when you were 9, who did you look up to when you were younger?

RM: I have always looked up to my Dad, not just in Muay Thai but also in life too. He was a great fighter himself and has been a great role model to me. 

JS: Throughout your teens you spent a lot of time training and competing in Thailand, have you visited recently or do you have any current plans to?

RM: I haven't visited recently as my daughter is still young but as soon as she is old enough that's a place we'll be visiting for sure.

JS: For someone only 22 years of age you’re already very experienced and well-traveled. Where’s been your favorite location to compete thus far and where’d you like to compete where you haven’t already?

RM: Throughout my career I have had some amazing experiences and traveled to some amazing places so it would be really hard to say just one place out of them all. As for a place I would like to fight in the future, I would really like to compete in China and hopefully I will be visiting there soon!

JS: We've so far seen you compete twice in Glory, when do you plan on competing for them again?

RM: I don't have any fights planned at the moment in Glory but you will see me compete in Glory again. 

JS: A former opponent of yours Steve Moxon fights the aforementioned Buakaw in the main event on Saturday. Is a rematch with Moxon something that is on your radar at the moment?

RM: I definitely want a rematch with Steve Moxon but that time will come, it doesn't matter to me whether it is in 3 fights time or 10 fights time.

JS: This will be your fourth fight in 2014, do you have any other bouts scheduled?

RM: With this tournament being so close to the end of the year I have put everything into this as I really want to make my mark on the division, so I have nothing else scheduled as I plan on winning this tournament.

JS: What’s the plan for 2015?

RM:I have a few fights in the pipeline that have not been confirmed yet but if it all goes to plan 2015 is going to be a big year for me. 

JS: Thank you very much for your time Reece, is there anyone you'd like to thank?

RM: Thank you Jack, I would like to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors who have helped me with my journey. Toxic Fight wear, Auckland Castles, International Waste Metals, Sheltee Industrial Maintenance, North East Spa Hire, DNA Utilities and CB Constructions RedLand Therapy.

Topking World Series host their second event on Saturday the 16th of November from the Velodrome National in Paris, France.

You can watch the event in its entirety from www.epicentre.tv for the small price of just $15.

 

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Robert Thomas

  • Published in Interviews

Canadian middleweight Robert Thomas had a fantastic performance against Mike Lemaire this weekend on Glory 18's Super Fight Series. He started off a little slow due to his traditional Thai background, but in the 3rd when he finally let his hands go it was a thing of beauty. He had already softened Lemaire up with hard right knees to the body, then he came in with a hook to the body then hook to the head combo followed by a perfect right high kick to drop Lemaire. Once Lemaire was up Thomas followed up with a hand combination finishing with a short right that finished Lemaire off leaving him draped on the ropes.
We were lucky enough to get a quick chat with a happy Thomas after his 3rd round KO.

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Brian Collette

  • Published in Interviews

We managed to get a few words from American Light heavyweight Brian Collette about what he thought went wrong in his fight against Zack Mwekassa. Collette tells us he really didn't feel himself, his trainers also told us at the event that even his warm up seemed flat footed. It seems Collette's mind was not in the right place before or during the fight this time. He actually wasn't doing too badly at the start of the fight, but as soon as he started standing still in front of Mwekassa things took a bad turn, not to mention Zack's jab looked as hard as other peoples right hand which Collette admits was a bit surprising.

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Benjamin Adegbuyi

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Benjamin Adegbuyi came away with the decision victory in a hard fought battle with Dutch veteran Hesdy Gerges at Glory 18. This fight was a close one in my eyes and it really was depending on what the judges were looking for. Gerges was walking forward putting pressure on Adegbuyi while throwing lots and lots of low kicks at the same time Benny was throwing big punches and high kicks which was pleasing the crowd and obviously the judges on this one. Adegbuyi was throwing some huge bombs to the body of Hesdy and to be fair I've always wondered why people don't hit Hesdy's body more since his hands are always high, but I got my answer, body punches don't seem to have any effect on Gerges at all.

Anyway, Benny hints to us that there maybe  a possible title fight in the near future for him, and I'm looking forward to that, as I believe Benjamin has what it takes to win the belt.

 

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Hesdy Gerges

  • Published in Interviews

Hesdy Gerges was not very happy about the judges decision on his fight with Benjamin Adegbuyi this weekend. He felt he did enough to win rounds 1 and 3 at least with his pressure, and low kicks. A few people I was with during the fights agreed with Gerges as well and they thought he had won handily so I can see his frustration. Hesdy always seems to have crappy luck, first with the Badr head stomp, then the Ben Saddik head stomp, and now with the judges, I feel for the guy but hes always a wicked fighter to watch and one of the best heavyweights around, hopefully he can catch a break soon, he deserves it.

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Glory 18: Liverkick Exclusive Post-Fight Interview with Robin van Roosmalen

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After an astounding performance against GLORY Lightweight Champion Davit Kiria at GLORY 18 Robin van Roosmalen walked away from Oklahoma with the ability to call himself the GLORY Lightweight Champion. There was but one moment where things looked bleak for van Roosmalen, but he was able to recover and control the remainder of the fight.

Our cameras caught up with van Roosmalen after his win and he talked about the fight, including that one moment where he let his guard down and found himself down on the mat. Van Roosmalen also talks about what the future might hold for the newly-crowned GLORY Lightweight Champion.

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Saulo Cavalari Talks About Being GLORY's #1 Light Heavyweight Contender

  • Published in Interviews

It's safe to say that Saulo Cavalari had a good night at GLORY 18. He walked away with two big ones, one over the tournament-favorite Danyo Ilunga and the other a picturesque headkick KO over the much-hyped Zack Mwekassa. 

Outside of being a naturally super nice guy (he tied our camera-dude Carlo's shoe for him and saw seen giving Shar's mom a few pecks on the cheek), Saulo is a scary dude inside of the ring and he talks about his two huge victories at GLORY 18 with us. He has a lot to talk about and sure, he might seem scary, but he's really a nice dude, okay?

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