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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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Video: Glory 20 Pre-fight Interviews with Mosab Amrani, Gabriel Varga, and Mourad Bouzidi

  • Published in Glory

Glory has begun releasing the pre-fight interviews for Glory 20 in Dubai. First up is the Canadian Gabriel Varga, who also did an Exclusive Liverkick interview which will be coming soon. Naturally the next interview is with his opponent the Moroccan/Dutch Mosab Amrani. After listening to what they both had to say, I can't help but think of how exciting this fight is going to be, I always enjoy a clash of styles in a fight especially when it involves height as well. Only thing I wonder is who will the winner defend his belt against? I feel Glory will have to sign some new featherweights.

The latest interview is with Mourad Bouzidi who seems to have been in Dubai for quite a while already to prepare for this fight. There have been lots of videos posted of him training like a beast for this fight, I get the feeling he REALLY does not want to lose to Pat Barry.

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Danyo Ilunga in Against Mourad Bouzidi at GLORY 26 SuperFight Series

  • Published in Glory

At the GLORY 26 SuperFight Series on December 4th in Amsterdam the main event was originally slated to be a Heavyweight showdown between Mourad Bouzidi and Michael Duut, but today we learned that Duut will not be competing at GLORY 26 and in his stead will be top Light Heavyweight contender Danyo Ilunga. This bout will be contested at Light Heavyweight and is coming hot off of the heels of Ilunga's hotly contested bout with Artem Vakhitov that saw back-and-forth action and Vakhitov just narrowly walking away with the decision.

Bouzidi has been angling for a title shot for a while and a win over Ilunga here could be what he needs to break into that top echelon of the Light Heavyweight division. For Ilunga he'll be looking to get back on the winning track after the loss to Vakhitov and to turn his rather disappointing 2015 around with his second win over the year.

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Glory 31- Super Fight Series Fight Breakdown

  • Published in Glory

Glory 31 super fight series will be airing live on UFC fight pass next saturday morning at 10:30 am PST/1:30 pm EST. Since its coming up quick I figured it was about that time to breakdown the fights a little.

Zack Mwekassa vs Mourad Bouzidi

The main event puts power punching, South African Zack Mwekassa against a real kickboxing veteran Mourad Bouzidi. I feel like the biggest thing in this fight is Bouzidi has to really avoid being hit cleanly. Bouzidi has the experience, and the kicks but his chin doesn't always hold up to big punches. If Bouzidi can keep his hands up, feet moving and keep consistent low kicks he will have a good night. As for Mwekassa he needs to use his jab to set up his big left hook, uppercut, or right hand. I don't think just throwing big haymakers will work on someone with the experience Mourad has, but if he can set something up and land a clean punch his power will hurt Bouzidi.

Saenchai vs Eddy Nait-Slimani

First of all I want to mention how excited I am for Saenchai to be kickboxing for Glory but Nait-Slimani will not be an easy fight by any means. In his Glory debut Slimani put on a masterful performance against Maykol Yurk, he showed beautiful spinning back kicks, front kicks to the face, and great timing. These are all techniques that Saenchai uses, plus many more. There have been many times I thought Saenchai was in for a hard fight and he made it look easy, but he has also done the opposite and had a little trouble in fights I expected him not to. Slimani needs to push the pace on Saenchai and not allow him to get a rhythm. Saenchai is not young anymore and I think Slimani can tire him out with lots of pressure and fast combinations followed by low kicks. Saenchai well, he will just be himself as always and entertain us no matter what happens, he will just have to be aware of Glory's clinching rules.

Isis Verbeek vs Irina Mazepar

This is an interesting fight in Glory's new female bantamweight division. Isis Verbeek is the faster fighter with more combinations and higher pace. Irina Mazepa is the harder hitting fighter who plods a little and finds good, hard shots to land. Mazepa has been focusing a little on MMA having two fights in One Championship last year, in my opinion this takes away from a fighters overall kickboxing game as they now have to focus a lot on their ground game plus training 5 minute rounds for MMA all the time is a much slower pace than 3 minute kickboxing rounds. If Verbeek pushes the pace I can't help but feel that Mazepa will be in rough shape by the last round, but Mazepa has the power so Verbeek will have to make sure she doesn't run into something as she tends to keep her chin quite high.

Josh Jauncey vs Anatoly Moiseev

Well I am not going to go into too much strategy for this fight since Josh is my brother and ill end up giving away game plans, but I can say that this could easily end up being  a candidate for fight of the night if not fight of the year. Both of them are young, hungry fighters with amazing technique, speed, and power. Moiseev suffered his first pro loss ever at the hands of Marat Grigorian earlier this year but since then has scored a huge KO over Serginio Kanters at Kunlun so his confidence should be back up. Jauncey is coming off two of his best performances ever, a TKO win over Johan Tkac and a head kick KO over Xu Yan. To say I'm excited about this fight is an understatement.

Maximo Suarez vs Eyevan Danenberg

Maximo Suarez is looking to rebound from his loss to Harut Grigorian where he just stood and traded which eventually led to his demise. Against Danenberg he will need to fight smart, Danenberg is a very tall, lanky fighter with good skills. Hes had some Pro boxing fights so his hands are good and he sets up his knees and low kicks well. Suarez will need to get inside and throw his fast combos or else he will get jabbed and kneed all night.

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