There's history between these two men. They've met before. Back in March 2010, they met in Utrecht in the semi-finals of the K-1 World MAX West Europe Tournament. Khamal knocked van Roosmalen out at the end of the first round and went on to win the tournament, qualifying for the K-1 MAX World Grand Prix Final 16. Now just over a year later, van Roosmalen is looking for revenge.
Since that fight in March of last year, things have changed. Robin van Roosmalen isn't the unknown that he was back then. He's made a name for himself fighting for Ultimate Glory and It's Showtime. After the loss to Khamal, he lost again to Ajay Balgobind but ever since then he's been on a tear. Currently on a 5 fight win streak, van Roosmalen is one of the most hyped up and coming -70kg fighters at the moment. Wins over William Diender and Chahid Oulad El Hadj during his win streak have helped garner interest for the Dutchman.
Mohammed Khamal did go on to win the tournament and advance to the Final 16 but 2 months later he lost to Chahid Oulad El Hadj. Then last October, in what raised many eyebrows, he defeated Artur Kyshenko who is widely considered top 5 at -70kg. Coming off another career high point, he lost to Gago Drago at the Final 8 in November once again derailing his hype. His last fight happened in December, where he needed an extra round to defeat Mosab Amrani in one of the fights of 2010.
A win for either fighter will boost them much higher in the ranks of the -70kg division. This will be van Roosmalen's toughest test since the first fight and he'll definitely be ready to go, having fought and won twice in March. Khamal hasn't fought since December and it'll be interesting to see how the layoff affects him.
Both men are pretty small guys for -70kg and aren't big hitters. Khamal is the more technical fighter while van Roosmalen tries to force the fight more. van Roosmalen has already been knocked out by Khamal once so he'll have to be extra careful. His style might leave him open to a counter from Khamal and it could be lights out. van Roosmalen works the body effectively and that should be a key to winning this fight. Working Khamal's body will slow him down and open up opportunities to tee off on him. At times Khamal can be either teeing off or getting teed off on. Getting teed off on by van Roosmalen probably isn't in his best interest as the body shots will add up.
This fight could be a lot similar to Khamal's fight with Mosab Amrani just without the non stop aggression that Amrani is known for. The fight went back and forth with Khamal and Amrani taking turns on who was on the offensive. van Roosmalen always tries to go forward, not too aggressively while Khamal is content moving and finding a spot to strike. Combinations will be essential for both fighters and you'll likely see a lot of them as they go back and forth on the offensive.
The fight should be high paced and exciting. Don't miss this one. It's a tough fight to call but I'd say Khamal's technical advantage will win him a decision. I see him outworking van Roosmalen, landing the better shots. Khamal has been against a top 5 fighter in Artur Kyshenko and managed to beat him. I'm not sure van Roosmalen is ready for that level of competition yet.