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Rico Verhoeven and Remy Bonjasky Agree to Fight

If you thought that it sounded crazy that Rico Verhoeven and Remy Bonjasky would fight in 2017, you weren't the only one. As it turns out, it is perhaps closer to reality than we all thought. After the impossible happened last year and Rico Verhoeven stood toe-to-toe with Badr Hari in a GLORY ring, it looks like Remy Bonjasky will once again fight against the best in the world. 

Bonjasky, a three-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, will look to make his return after his retirement bout in 2014 with Mirko Cro Cop. Bonjasky had retired once prior after a recurring eye injury sidelined him in late 2009, only to return in 2013 with mixed results. Bonjasky challenged the winner of Rico/Badr and now it looks like he has his sights set on fighting Verhoeven. The video below if from Fight Stadium, as is the text below.

There has been no official confirmation from GLORY on the bout just yet.

Short translation:

Rico challenged Remy after Rico beat Badr in December. Remy said in december he would fight the winner of this fight (he expected Badr to win).

Remy told the Dutch tv-host Humberto Tan that he accepted Rico's challenge and that he needs 6 months to prepare himself. Despite his age (41) he is convinced he will beat Rico because he is still healthy. Remy also referred to George Foreman who was a boxing world champion at the age of 55.

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Zack Mwekassa vs. Zinedine Hameur-Lain Rounds Out GLORY 38 Tournament

The stage has been set for GLORY 38, now with the full card assembled in advance of the upcoming February 28th event. The one missing piece of the puzzle was in the show's Light Heavyweight Contender tournament, with rumors going around that it could be Stoica, or that it could be Duut. Instead we get a very-worthy Zinedine Hameur-Lain who holds a win over another tournament competitor in Ariel Machado. That means that Hameur-Lain will be taking on former Interim Light Heavyweight Champion Zack Mwekassa in what should be a slugfest.

Mwekass and Hameur-Lain is a rematch from GLORY 29, which saw Mwekassa score a decision victory over Hameur-Lain. Hameur-Lain would bounce back to win the GLORY 32 Contender's tournament, only to lose to Pavel Zhuravlev at GLORY 35. Both men want to be back in the hunt and a win here should be exactly that. 

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

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

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Event of the Year - GLORY Collision

When it came to deciding which of the many events that happened in 2016 was the event of the year it wasn't an easy decision. What metrics do you weigh this by? Attendance? Hype? Quality on paper? How exciting the show was? In a lot of ways, there wasn't one show that embodied all of these things, or even a majority of them. Unlike in the past where a K-1 World Grand Prix show would easily be the event of the year, now kickboxing is fractured and spread across the world. China is putting on shows that millions of people are watching, each show an epic, day-long affair. K-1 Japan is putting on some of the most exciting shows in the world and KNOCK OUT burst onto the scene with a KO-heavy first event.

Yet, which event actually did the most for the sport of kickboxing? That answer was simple; GLORY Collision. The sold out event in Germany was a triple-header, featuring title fights, tournaments and the dream bout between Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari. While the question can be asked if the event actually delivered the action promised, the reality was that it was a full arena, it had fans across the world interested in kickboxing and there was a big fight feel for the first time in a very long time. How GLORY is able to capitalize on that is up to them, but it has people in Europe reconsidering kickboxing as a big sport again and had more eyes than kickboxing has had in quite a while. 

 

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Card for GLORY 38 Chicago on Feb. 24th

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

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


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

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WATCH: GLORY 37 Weigh-Ins and Interviews

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

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

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Robin van Roosmalen Stripped of GLORY Featherweight Championship

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

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

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

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Knockout of the Year - Guto Inocente

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

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

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

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

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

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LiverKick 2016 Awards: Fighter of the Year - Cedric Doumbe

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

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

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

He was the very clear 2016 Fighter of the Year.

The 2016 LiverKick Awards

For more, listen to our year-end podcast.

 

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