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Rico Verhoeven Rumored to Be Making MMA Debut in October

GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven is in the news, this time rumored to be making his MMA debut in just about a month on October 19th in Romania, of all places. The promotion is RXF, perhaps best known to the world as the place where Alexandru Lungu still competes on a regular basis. Romanian Xtreme Fighting (...) will apparently be where Rico Verhoeven cuts his teeth with the four ounce gloves.

This move doesn't seem like a full career move by any leap, just him testing the waters in another sport where he could possibly make some money and have something to do in his down time. Still no word from Verhoeven or his camp just yet, but that banner above is advertising Verhoeven for the show. 



Dynamite 1 Preview: Mwekassa and Cavalari Rematch for the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship

This Saturday evening in San Jose the vacant GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship will be on the line in a rematch between two of GLORY's heaviest hitters in the Light Heavyweight division when Saulo Cavalari will look to make history repeat itself against Zack Mwekassa. The first fight happened at GLORY 18 last November and saw both men fight a hard-fought battle to contend for Gokhan Saki's Light Heavyweight Championship.

Mwekassa was controlling the fight for the most part, cutting off the ring and backing Cavalari up towards the corners while utilizing his superior jab and following it up with his crisp boxing combinations. The only problem was that Cavalari was chopping away at him with leg kicks. Cavalari was playing the long game while Mwekassa was looking to dominate in the moment and look for the knockout. What happened was that Mwekassa wasn't expecting the high kick after taking so many right low kicks from Cavalari, so when Cavalari threw yet another right low kick the left high kick was not what he expected early into round three.

When fighting you look for rhythms and patterns in your opponent's game. Cavalari throughout this first fight was reliant on his right leg for kicks. There were a few kicks with his left leg, but by and large kicks were coming from the right leg, usually in the form of single low kicks to help give Cavalari some distance to start working with his hands against the aggressive Mwekassa. What Mwekassa may have missed is that some of Cavalari's most effective work was coming from following up his right low kick with a left hook.

In those first moments of the third round Mwekassa ate yet another right low kick, Cavalari once again backing up to create some distance and Mwekassa was possibly expecting their game of cat-and-mouse to continue forward, giving him a decision victory in the tournament. He wasn't expecting the left kick, even worse, he wasn't expecting the left high kick. 

The stakes are a lot different this time around. GLORY was unable to come to an agreement with Gokhan Saki to fight on Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1 and the title was stripped from Saki, leaving a rematch between Mwekassa and Cavalari for the vacant title. Mwekassa's boxing has been well-documented, but this time around he went to the Netherlands to train with Nick Hemmers to hopefully be prepared for the onslaught of leg kicks and to perhaps be a bit more comfortable kicking himself. 

Cavalari knows that Mwekassa is the marketable man, the guy who's very existence is inspirational, but that doesn't deter him from doing what he does best, which is being careful when he needs to be and aggressive when there is the right opening. This is the biggest fight of both men's respective careers in front of possibly their biggest audience to date. While fans might be upset that there is no Saki, neither Cavalari or Mwekassa are a joke and this is indeed the kind of fight that we deserve to be getting from GLORY on a regular basis. 

Most interesting here is that both men weren't big names in the world of kickboxing prior to their runs in GLORY. Cavalari had made a name for himself in Brazil under the WGP banner, but rarely did his name get passed around outside of those circles and Mwekassa had looked at kickboxing as something to keep him busy in between trying to hunt down boxing bouts. Mwekassa was dangerous and not many boxers were looking to take a fight from a relative unknown from South Africa who could embarrass them with a crushing knockout. In a way, Mwekassa vs. Cavalari is the genesis of the whole GLORY experiment and a bout between two homegrown stars on their biggest platform to date.

THAT is exciting. 


Hinata Defeats Andy Souwer in Rematch at REBELS.38

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Almost exactly five years ago Andy Souwer stepped into the ring against Hinata Watanabe as a two-time K-1 World MAX Champion who had the previous year stood with Giorgio Petrosyan in the K-1 World MAX Finals in a fight that saw Petrosyan win the World MAX Championship and cement his legacy as the top dog. Hinata Watanabe was an up-and-comer in Japan that was looking to make a name for himself and called out Andy Souwer. Not only did he call out Andy Souwer, but he did it on what was arguably Souwer's home turf of Shoot Boxing.

Shoot Boxing, for the uninitiated, is a hybrid of kickboxing and judo. Not only are kickboxing techniques involved, but throws, trips and standing submissions are all legal within the realm of Shoot Boxing. When they two stepped into the ring many had seen Hinata on the rise and Souwer on the decline. The only thing was that Hinata wasn't expecting the standing choke. How could he?

Souwer made use of Shoot Boxing's unique rules to handily defeat Hinata in under a minute. Needless to say, Hinata was humbled. Since then Hinata has continued to toil throughout Japan, making a name for himself as one of the best and most active fighters at 70kg. He never forgot that loss to Souwer, though, which reared its ugly head again in 2013 when he met Andy Souwer's chosen successor to the throne of Souwer Power in Canadian Josh Jauncey, picking up the win over Souwer's star pupil. 

The rematch between Souwer and Hinata would have to happen sooner or later and almost five years to the day after their first meeting in a Shoot Boxing ring they met in Japan again, this time in the REBELS ring. What followed was an entirely different fight. Both men have had their ups and downs over the past few years, but the rematch still meant something. The two met yesterday afternoon in the legendary Korakuen Hall right next to the Tokyo Dome, a venue that has seen some of the most memorable fights in MMA and kickboxing history, as well as historical moments in professional wrestling history -- all of it is simply kakutougi in Japan -- and this time Hinata was able to pull off the decision victory over the 32 year old Souwer, avenging one of the most embarrassing losses of his career. 


Dynamite 1 Preview: The Left Hook of Paul Daley

On Saturday night in San Jose GLORY and Bellator MMA will be bringing us a jam-packed night of fights on Bellator MMA: Dynamite 1. While the kickboxing offering is paltry in comparison to the MMA portion of the show, what's being offered is still some really, really good stuff. Paul Daley is best known for his time in the cage as a Mixed Martial Artist, perhaps mostly for his UFC run that ended with a punch after the bell on Josh Koscheck after a heated rivalry led to a frustrating fight for both men.

Daley rebuilt his name and legacy after he was kicked out of the UFC and a part of that was his absolutely incredible run in kickboxing in 2014. That run included six victories in the kickboxing ring with an astounding five TKO victories. Oh yeah, and those victories came against some of the best fighters at his weight class in the world, too. Daley is a fine fighter, a bit limited when it comes to the kicking department but his hands more than make up for it. 

This Saturday at Bellator MMA Dynamite 1 he faces an outmatched Fernando Gonzalez. I'm not going to sugar coat how difficult of a task this fight will be for Gonzalez, but I'm also not going to count him out, either. When he entered Bellator he was outmatched in his first few fights and not only found a way to win, but did so in a decisive fashion. He's a skilled professional and while he might not be as skilled as Daley with his stand up game, as we've seen in the past anything can happen inside of a ring. Daley's defense is good, but he still gets hit, which could spell trouble against an opponent of any caliber. 

The greatest weapon that Paul Daley possesses would have to be that crazy left hook, though. That left hook has spelled disaster for just about anyone who has been hit by it, which includes some of the modern greats in kickboxing. Want proof? Ask Alexander Stetsurenko.

How about Miran Fabjan?

Even Alexander Surzhko went down to Paul Daley's left hook. This is just in kickboxing, too. That left hook is just as deadly in MMA with those little gloves as it is in kickboxing. On Saturday night kickboxing fans will be in for a treat. While it may not be clear if Daley will ever fight in kickboxing again afterwards, or if we'll ever get that dream bout of Nieky Holzken vs. Paul Daley, but we can dream. At the very least we'll be treated to some top-notch violence on Saturday night, which is why we all watch in the first place, right?


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