New 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: