When you ask kickboxing fans about the fight that they are most excited for the answer is almost inevitable; Badr Hari making his GLORY debut against reigning GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven. It's the biggest kickboxing fight at heavyweight since the fall of FEG's K-1 back in 2010, a battle between the man who was primed to become the king of the heavyweight division and the man who actually became that top fighter.
Yet, at GLORY 33 New Jersey Rico Verhoeven takes possibly the biggest gamble that he's taken in his professional career, months out from the biggest fight of his life and of GLORY's tenure thus far. At GLORY 33 Rico Verhoeven will defend the GLORY Heavyweight Championship against Anderson "Braddock" Silva. Silva, who has been fighting at heavyweight for years, proving himself to be a name and a guy who has always been knocking at the door of the top ten or traversing it without finding his way to the top. His shot comes with question marks attached, like where is Ismael Londt, the man who earned a shot against Verhoeven? Braddock perhaps deserved a shot a while ago, but now there are contenders for Verhoeven.
To many, the conclusion has been that Braddock is simply a "warm up" fight. The last time that someone viewed Braddock as merely a speed bump was Remy Bonjasky, who was looking to prove that his career was not over yet, only for Braddock to push the pace and pick up the victory over the K-1 legend.
In the same vein, at GLORY 16 Denver Braddock was facing off against Sergei Kharitonov, a man that had a bigger contract with GLORY thanks to his previous accomplishments only for Braddock to soundly defeat him. While Braddock may not have ever held those big, impressive championships, Braddock has been a spoiler within the division, the guy that serves as the gatekeeper to becoming elite, or the man who would defeat would-be contenders and send them back to the end of the line.
He's a dangerous fight for any heavyweight, especially for someone like Rico Verhoeven, who when proven to be distracted in the past has lost a fight that many thought he'd handily win.
Plus, let's never forget one of the best heavyweight head kick knock outs in kickboxing history courtesy of Braddock.