The It's Showtime event tomorrow is centered around the 70kg tournament, and in the tournament's shadows is a world title fight at 77kg. Artem "The Lion" Levin will look to defend his belt against Murthel "The Model" Groenhart. It's another case of weird circumstances for a title shot, as Groenhart's last fight was at 70kg and before that against Errol Koning, who is nowhere near the title. Nonetheless, it's still an attractive fight with two well known names in kickboxing.
Artem Levin is probably the best 77kg fighter in the world. He fights anywhere from 77-82kg, taking on all comers. He's very active, taking part in both Muay Thai and kickboxing regularly. When he's not fighting professional, he's bolstering his amateur credentials. The man is truly a workhorse. Levin's last fight came on September 2nd at the MuayThai Premier League's inaugural event, stopping David Keclik with a beautiful flying knee. This fight is a quick turn-around from September 2nd, but Levin is no stranger to that.
Murthel Groenhart last fought in June, brutalizing Rafi Zouheir at It's Showtime's event in Spain. The fight came at 70kg and Murthel took the fight on a week's notice, after fighting at 77kg the previous week. Groenhart has been inconsistent for the past few years, with wins and losses all over the board. He's come up short against top competition and fighting arguably the number one 77kg fighter in the world doesn't help his cause.
Artem Levin has such a unique and confusing style to face. He'll fight with his hands below his waste and encourage fighters to come throw at him. He doesn't mind getting hit at all and will gladly take a few to land a few of his own. Levin can do everything well, punching, kicking, kneeing, all while dictating the fight. Groenhart gets over aggressive at times and get countered, falling right into Levin's trap. I'm thinking Groenhart might go for blood when he sees Levin's hands at his waste, and this could very well be the beginning of the end for him. Simply put, Groenhart is a good fighter, Levin is an elite fighter.
Groenhart definitely won't back down in the fight. I have no doubt that he'll get some shots in, but Levin is just on another level of skill. Groenhart would obviously do better coming forward, no one wants Artem Levin backing them up. The way I see it going is Levin will have his hands down, Groenhart will maybe land a shot and then once he lands a shot, will go all out. This is where Levin clinches and turns it around, then gets his shots in and takes over the fight.
Groenhart has losses at both 70 and 77 kilograms, while Levin has gone as high as 82kg, tasting much harder punches. I don't think Levin will be phased by what Groenhart throws his way at all. He's the bigger man and he'll act like it in the fight.
My prediction? Murthel Groenhart is "The Model" and Artem Levin is "The Lion." Now imagine what would happen in real life if a model fought a lion. Artem Levin by TKO in the third round, retaining his title.