New fight news coming out of Greece: On March 12 in Athens it will be "Iron" Mike Zambidis vs. Ali Gunyar. The two are headlining a show called Iron Challenge. No other fights are yet announced.
This is a big fight for both men. For Zambidis, this is a chance to continue to reestablish himself as a relevant name in the 70kg ranks. Two years ago, it looked like Zambo's time at the top might have been done. But he turned that around in 2010, putting together a 4 fight win streak over all strong names (Dzhabar Askerov, Warren Stevelmans, Chahid Oulad El Hadj, Yuichiro Nagashima) and ending the year as the first man in K-1 MAX to actually give champ Giorgio Petrosyan a challenge. Oh, and along the way he just happened to turn in one of the greatest fights in K-1 MAX history, the 2010 LiverKick.com Fight of the Year against Chahid. He's pulled himself all the way back up to #11 in our rankings, which is a huge swing from where he was not long ago. A win over Gunyar says that he's all the way back, but a loss here will cause some to question if 2010 was an anomaly for the popular veteran fighter.
For Ali Gunyar, this is a chance to put his name in there with the real players in this division. The veteran fighter has faced many of the big names at 70kg, including Albert Kraus and Gago Drago among others, although he has often come up short in these fights. In 2008 and 2009 he put together some solid wins, scoring victories over Chahid Oulad El Hadj, Virgil Kalakoda, and more. He's the kind of skilled, traveled fighter that could give Zambidis a challenge, and while he's the underdog here, this is not a gimme for Zambidis.
As is always the case when Zambidis fights, he'll give up the height and reach to Gunyar, but will make up for it with an advantage in power. In the end, I think that power and resilience, combined with the thrill of fighting in front of the Greek fans that treat him as a national hero, will give Zambidis the edge here.