Before the main Part 2 portion of the card headlined by Badr Hari vs. Gokhan Saki kicks off, a stacked undercard, Part 1, will be taking place. Featuring six fights, including a title fight at 73kg and a match-up between two of kickboxing's most popular fighters, Tyrone Spong and Melvin Manhoef, the Part 1 portion of the card could be its own event.
We'll preview all six fights on Part 1 of the card. The fights will be broken down and an outcome will be predicted. Click "Read More" to see the previews and predictions of all six fights.
Henri van Opstal vs. Hafid el Boustati
The first fight of the evening pits teammate of Andy Souwer, Henri van Opstal against Hafid el Boustati of Mousid Gym. Henri van Opstal is like a way less refined carbon copy of Andy Souwer. He fights exactly like Souwer, stringing together punches and low kicks without the same crispness and power that Souwer has. van Opstal doesn't doo too well when he's being backed up and that favors el Boustati, who is a very aggressive fighter that imposes his pressure on opponents. This could be a very even fight, but I think el Boustati will be able to rack up combinations as van Opstal gets forced backwards. Hafid el Boustati by decision.
Andy Ristie vs. Hinata Watanabe
This is an interesting fight, as Ristie is an up and comer with a lot of upside while Hinata is a fighter who is hovering around breaking into the upper echelon but doesn't quite have the wins. Giorgio Petrosyan said that Hinata was the hardest kicker he's ever fought, and Hinata's kicks will play a big role in this fight. Ristie can walk his opponents down, but Hinata can move and fire off his kicks along with decent enough punches. Ristie doesn't punch well enough to have such a big advantage over Hinata and he isn't the most imposing figure when he tries to walk down opponents so Hinata should be able to keep Ristie at bay. Ristie will definitely find Hinata at some time in the fight but it won't be enough as Hinata batters him with kicks. Hinata by decision.
Sahak Parparyan vs. Mourad Bouzidi
Sahak Parparyan is moving up in weight, while Bouzidi is moving down. Sahak did fight at 95kg in March and he was much slower than at 85kg but Sahak has improved tremendously over the past year. He'll likely weigh around 90kg or so and I don't think his speed will suffer too much. Bouzidi's chin is questionable but Sahak isn't a puncher so I don't expect any knockdowns in the fight. Bouzidi had a very bad 2011 year, losing all three of his fights. Sahak has great conditioning and he's just coming off a fight where he beat down Hakan Aksoy so he should be in good shape for this fight and be able to outwork Bouzidi. Sahak Parparyan by decision.
Ricardo van den Bos vs. Ben Edwards
Neither of these fighters are top heavyweights but they should provide some exciting action. Ben Edwards is known for knockouts but his conditioning is questionable. van den Bos probably has the better conditioning but he's been dropped in the past and when Ben drops opponents, he can swarm and end it quickly. van den Bos is more technical but Edwards just has power that can change a fight, much like it did against Daniel Sam, in a fight where he was losing. Edwards will most definitely have better conditioning than his last time out since he's only fighting once and it should factor into if he decides to just blitz van den Bos or wait a bit to go for the kill. Ben Edwards by KO, Round 2.
Yohan Lidon vs. L'houcine "Aussie" Ouzgni (It's Showtime 73kg World Title Fight)
Lidon's style is much better suited to Muay Thai which was very evident in his fight against Marat Grigorian to win the title. He prefers fighting at a much slower pace than Aussie and that's just probably not going to happen. Aussie doesn't have much to fear in the way of power from Lidon and probably won't show much respect for him as he tries to track him down. Aussie's height and reach will definitely come into play when he starts unloading with punches and throwing knees. The move to 70kg for Aussie was a disaster so it should be interesting to see how he fights at 73kg. Lidon will have to work with straight punches and especially work his kicks to keep Aussie off but at some point Aussie will land and then he'll keep on coming. A five round fight suits Lidon but Aussie will get to him before the championship rounds. Aussie by TKO, Round 3.
Tyrone Spong vs. Melvin Manhoef
This is the fight that had everyone scratching their heads as to why it was on the Part 1 portion of the card. Melvin hasn't fought in kickboxing since he was stopped by Gokhan Saki in May of 2010. Spong hasn't fought since June, but he's also training in Florida with MMA fighters which leads you to wonder if he's still staying sharp with his kickboxing. Spong has so much talent though, that it's hard to imagine his game really getting any worse at this point in his career where he's only 26 years old. Melvin of course has issues with his chin and leaving himself open. He's done a much better job in the past few years of not leaving himself open but opponents have found a way of getting to it anyway. Melvin has huge power and he could definitely hurt Spong or stop him but the likely outcome is Spong will time Melvin for a perfect counter punch, sending him tumbling to the canvas. Tyrone Spong by KO, Round 2.