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Gokhan Saki Off Jan. 30 Card?

  • Published in Kickboxing

Gokhan_SakiComing up on January 30 is the semi-final round of the United Glory World Series of Kickboxing and MMA - a pair of 8 man tournaments started last October and wrapping up this spring.  The current favorite to win the kickboxing side of the tournament is the #6 ranked Gokhan Saki, however the latest rumors indicate Saki may end up dropping out of the January 30 event.  Saki is still recovering from injuries suffered in his Grand Prix war with Daniel Ghita, and may not have time to get back in shape for this semi-final round.  If he does indeed drop out, Saki will likely be replaced by his Golden Glory stablemate Errol Zimmerman.  Zimmerman was originally scheduled to take part in the tournament, but had to drop out after being KO'd by Ghita at the K-1 Final 16.

The current semi-final matches have Saki vs. Wendel Roche and Brice Guidon vs. Mourad Bouzidi, with the winners meeting in the finals on April 21.  Losing Saki would be unfortunate, but in all honesty would make the tournament more interesting.  As it stands right now, Saki is the prohibitive favorite - Roche, Guidon, and Bouzidi are all talented fighters, but Saki stands head and shoulders above them.  Zimmerman on the other hand is at a career low point, and more on a level with the other semi-finalists.  He has already faced both Roche (with Zimmerman pulling off a close extra round decision win) and Bouzidi (in a fight that Bouzidi won via cut stoppage).  Both opponents would make interesting rematches for The Bonecrusher, while the underrated Guidon would be a tough challenge for Zimmerman.  Entering this tournament would help give us a clear view of just where Zimmerman stands right now, so while I wish Saki the best recovery, I won't complain about this switch if it happens.

On the MMA side, the semi-finals are currently listed as Siyar Bahadurzada vs. John Alessio and Roan Carneiro vs. Tommy Depret, however there is some shuffling over here also, as Alessio posted on twitter that he has been forced to drop out due to an injury suffered in training.  No word yet on a possible replacement. Again, winners here will meet in the finals on April 21.

The rest of the January 30 card includes a number of kickboxing and MMA super fights.  Two fights of note for kickboxing fans: Robin van Roosmalen will be in action, though his opponent is not yet determined; and Frederic Sinistra faces Filip Verlinden.

The entire card will be streamed at UnitedGlory.tv.  For details, including the complete line-up, be sure to visit UnitedGlory.nl.

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May 28: Zimmerman vs. Bouzidi II

  • Published in Kickboxing

Bouzidi Zimmerman 2009New fight announcement for the United Glory finals on May 28: in an intriguing rematch, it will be #14 Errol Zimmerman vs. #19 Mourad Bouzidi.

These two men first met two years ago at the It's Showtime Amsterdam Arena 2009 event.  At that time, Zimmerman was a top 5 fighter, riding high off his 2008 K-1 Grand Prix final 4 appearance and Fight of the Year with Badr Hari.  He was expected to take the fight easily, but it was not to be.  Near the end of round 1, Bouzidi caught Zimmerman with a knee, opening up a large cut above the eye that stopped the fight.  At the time, the fight was viewed as not even an upset, but more of a freak stoppage, and not a true loss for the Bonecrusher.  Rewatching it now with some perspective, that's a very unfair way to look at it.  Bouzidi was turning in a strong performance, giving Zimmerman a lot of trouble, and the knee that opens the cut is beautifully executed.  Mourad Bouzidi won that fight.

For the rematch, Zimmerman is in quite a different place.  A series of underwhelming performances and out of shape appearances has cooled his momentum considerably.  He is coming off a powerful win at the United Glory semi-finals, but that was against an opponent far below Bouzidi's level.  Despite their rankings, I would actually consider Bouzidi the favorite here, as he is the kind of disciplined, solid fighter that will always turn in a game performance.  In the end, it's a very close fight, and one that Zimmerman needs to win.  A win here shows he he still can compete at this level, while a loss furthers his downward slide.  I'm greatly looking forward to seeing how this one goes down.

Zimmerman vs. Bouzidi is the 3rd fight set for this card.  Already announced are the World Series of Kickboxing and MMA finals: Gokhan Saki vs. Brice Guidon on the kickboxing side, and Tommy Depret vs. Siyar Bahadurzada for MMA.

One final note - while I am excited about this fight, it must be mentioned that United Glory is notoriously unreliable for delivering fights as promised.  I really hope this one actually happens, but am prepared that it might not.

UPDATE: Two updates courtesy of Golden Glory trainer Martijn de Jong.  First, it appears the date is actually May 28, not the 21st as originally reported.  Second, de Jong announced a 4th featured bout: #4 Artur Kyshenko vs. #6 Nieky Holzken.  That right there is a GREAT match up, and if these four fights all go as planned, this is looking like a stacked show.

Watch Errol Zimmerman vs. Mourad Bouzidi from 2009 below:

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