This past weekend was packed with fights around the globe. In particular, there were some telling developments in the 85kg division, a division that the verdict is still out there on. One can get the gist of who the top few guys in the division are, but beyond that the field is wide open. The results that transpired this past weekend make the picture a bit clearer, at least.
The biggest fight in the division this past weekend was Sahak Parparyan vs. Cesar Cordoba at Enfusion Live in Barcelona on Saturday. Sahak is recognized as one of the top 85kg fighters in kickboxing, along with Franci Grajs and Andrew Tate, who have all fought each other. Going into the fight, I knew that it would be competitive and that Cordoba is a very good fighter. There was a bit of a question mark on Cordoba though, seeing as he only fights at home as of late and hasn't fought top competition in a while. Despite the fight ending in a draw, Cordoba proved that he's up there with the top 85kg fighters, as he took the first two rounds from Sahak by just being too slick and technical. Basically, add another name to the picture.
Also on the card was an 85kg fight between It's Showtime veteran Moises Ruibal and young Slovenian, Tadej Toplak. Going in, I thought Toplak had a lot of potential and despite getting stopped, I still think it's there. Ruibal continues to hang around, though I wouldn't put him close to the likes of Sahak, Grajs, Cordoba and Tate. Toplak hurt Ruibal at first but then got overaggressive and ran into a couple of huge punches, getting dropped. Toplak rematches Ivan Stanic next month at Enfusion Live in Slovenia. He did get stopped by Ruibal, but he definitely looked like he had recovered a fair bit.
Another event with multiple match-ups with 85kg division implications was Monte Carlo Fighting Masters in Monaco. The event saw a number of fights around that weight, notably Halim Chibani vs. Suleiman Magomedov and Yassine Ahaggan vs. Horace "Boy Boy" Martin. Chibani vs. Magomedov was a fight between two guys who could in my opinion compete with the best in the division. Magomedov had an impressive resume coming in but video was scarce, so evaluating him was difficult. From an eight minute highlight of the fight, Magomedov, who won via decision, looked pretty good. He's tall and skilled for the division and looks like he can compete with the top guys. Chibani would probably do better against an opponent with a different style, one who's more head on like Yassine Ahaggan, who he stopped last year.
Speaking of Yassine Ahaggan, he's another young fighter out of France with a lot of promise. I thought he'd definitely beat Horace Martin going in, and he was winning until getting stopped. For me, this was the best I've seen Martin look. He didn't fight wild and he was calm and calculated throughout, taking his time to find holes in Ahaggan's defense before exploiting them with big power punches and knees. It was an eye opening performance that showcased a lot of intangibles I didn't know Martin had. Ahaggan is still a good fighter and has a future in my opinion, but just seems to get a bit wild at times.
Finally, Andrew Tate was also in action in France, where he avenged a 2011 loss to Vincent Petitjean. The fight was in full contact but both fighters are good and also fight what we group into kickboxing or K-1 rules. Tate is obviously one of the top fighters in the 85kg division already and is on pace to have a big 2013 with three other Enfusion fights lined up already in the coming months. Petitjean is a fighter who I'd like to see more of, as he has a different skillset than most fighters, like Tate, and has beaten Tate once. Petitjean drew with Francis Javier Jorge, who is another capable fighter, last month.