Tag Archives: kickboxing

Wilnis faces Belgaroui in title shot eliminator at GLORY 45

From Glory

When Jason “Psycho” Wilnis (30-7-1, 8 KO’s) stopped Simon Marcus at GLORY 33 NEW JERSEY last year and won the middleweight title, he did so in such ferocious fashion that it seemed he would be holding the belt for the forseeable future.

A successful defense against Israel Adesanya followed, but then Marcus proved his own championship caliber by taking the belt back from Wilnis at GLORY 40 COPENHAGEN earlier this year, albeit by split-decision.

On the same card, Amsterdam’s Yousri Belgaroui (22-3, 10 KO’s) beat Agron Preteni and Alex Pereira in back-to-back fights to win the Middleweight Contender Tournament and place his name into the title mix.

Now, Wilnis and Belgaroui are set to clash at GLORY 45 HOLLAND in a title shot eliminator bout. The winner will walk away with the right to challenge for the middleweight belt in his next fight.

The two are on similar form: the loss to Marcus snapped a four-fight win streak for Wilnis, while Belgaroui is 3-1 in his last four and 2-0 in his last two. They are also next to each other in the rankings, with Wilnis at #1 and Belgaroui at #2.

A derby element also underpins the fight, with Belgaroui coming from Amsterdam and Wilnis fighting out of the nearby city of Utrecht. Fighters from outside Amsterdam always take a special pleasure in beating fighters from the Netherlands’ largest city.

Wilnis fights out of the Collosseum Gym, home to his brother Jahfar Wilnis and legendary veteran Peter Aerts as well as rising stars like Tyjani Beztati, who will also fight at GLORY 45.

Belgaroui fights out of Mike’s Gym, where his team mates include current welterweight champion Murthel Groenhart and former featherweight champion Serhiy Adamchuk, who challenges Robin van Roosmalen for the belt in the GLORY 45 main event.

The winner of the fight will have to wait until the next event to find out who he will be facing: Simon Marcus is defending the belt against Alex Pereira at GLORY 46 CHINA on October 14.

Glory Sports International, the parent company of GLORY World Series, is dedicated to placing world championship level kickboxing, or martial arts stand-up fighting, on a major platform before a global audience, and to producing match-ups between the top fighters on the planet.

GLORY World Series is where martial arts athletes, highly skilled in a wide array of combat disciplines, including Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, Karate, Kung-Fu, Tae Kwon Do and Capoeira, converge under one set of rules to determine who reigns supreme in the ring.

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Gerges and Brestovac square off for first time in GLORY 45 co-main

From Glory Kickboxing

Hesdy Gerges hasn’t had the kind of competition this year that he would have wanted. Two cancelled fights with Chi Lewis-Parry meant that thus far, his only fight of 2017 was a decision win over Tomas Hron at GLORY 41 HOLLAND in May.

Hron’s conservative fighting style meant Gerges couldn’t put on the kind of fight that he likes to, but at GLORY 45 AMSTERDAM later this month he will be able to do that because he is fighting Mladen Brestovac.

The tall, powerful Brestovac is a Croatian southpaw who, like his countryman and training partner Mirko ‘CroCop’, is deadly with the left kick and always looking to finish his fights inside the distance.

Brestovac too has had a slower 2017 than he would have liked. He defended the heavyweight title of Croatian promotion FFC in April but hasn’t competed since. This fight will be his first GLORY bout of the year.

It means that both of these heavyweights are entering the ring extremely hungry to make an impression with their performance, get the win and remind fellow GLORY heavyweights of their presence.

Gerges is the higher ranked of the two, currently occupying the #6 slot, while Brestovac sits just inside the top ten at #9. A win for Brestovac would move him up the ranking and Gerges risks a slide in position if he cannot secure the win for himself.

On paper the two are quite evenly matched: Brestovac is, for a change, the slightly shorter fighter at 6’5” (198cm) versus 6’6” (200cm) for Gerges, though he does tend to weigh a little more than Gerges on fight night. Neither differential is likely to be of any significance on fight night.

Both have faced #1-ranked Benjamin Adegbuyi in GLORY and suffered losses on both occasions. Gerges took Adegbuyi to decision twice while Brestovac was stopped on the first occasion and went the distance on the second.

Unusually for fighters of this level in this weight class, this will be the first time that the two have fought. A first-time encounter between seasoned professional heavyweights is always an interesting event and, as with any heavyweight encounter, things can end in an instant.

GLORY 45: Zouggary and Glunder tipped to stage ‘Fight of the Year’ contender

From Glory World Series

Dynamic featherweights Zakaria “ZZ” Zouggary (29-3-1, 15 KO’s) and Massaro “The Project” Glunder (30-9-4, 20 KO’s) are set to meet at GLORY 45 AMSTERDAM in what is being tipped as a potential ‘Fight of the Year’ contender.

Zougarry already likely has one ‘Fight of the Year’ nomination to his name. He debuted against Turkish veteran Yetkin Ozkul at GLORY 41 in a thrilling three-round fight which won plaudits from fans and fight media alike.

Glunder’s route into GLORY was no less spectacular.

He entered the GLORY 42 PARIS Lightweight Contender Tournament on 48 hours’ notice and stopped tournament favorite Niclas Larsen in the semi-finals before dropping a close decision to his own team mate Christian Baya in the final.

The performance earned Glunder a contract from GLORY to fight in the featherweight division, which is his preferred competition weight and where most of his fights have taken place.

In fact he only entered the lightweight tournament in Paris because with it being at such short notice, he was already walking around at the lightweight limit and thus had no problems making weight.

Zougarry trains and fights out of Team Souwer, headed by two-time K-1 MAX champion and four-time Shootboxing world champion Andy Souwer. GLORY lightweight Josh Jauncey is also a member of the team.

Glunder trains at Mike’s Gym, under eponymous head coach Mike Passenier, where he numbers GLORY welterweight champion Murthel Groenhart and former GLORY featherweight champion Serhiy Adamchuk among his training partners.

Glory Sports International, the parent company of GLORY World Series, is dedicated to placing world championship level kickboxing, or martial arts stand-up fighting, on a major platform before a global audience, and to producing match-ups between the top fighters on the planet.

GLORY World Series is where martial arts athletes, highly skilled in a wide array of combat disciplines, including Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, Karate, Kung-Fu, Tae Kwon Do and Capoeira, converge under one set of rules to determine who reigns supreme in the ring.

The world’s premier kickboxing league, GLORY World Series maintains six different weight classes. Fights take place both as single matches between two fighters (known as ‘superfights’) and as part of tournaments.

Four-man tournaments are the standard, with eight-man tournaments also staged on occasion.

The tournaments take one of two forms: either they are World Championship Tournaments, with the division‘s world title on the line, or they are ‘Contender’ tournaments, with the winner earning a spot in the next upcoming World Championship Tournaments.

Maurice Smith, Welcome to the Hall of Fame

Note: This is a column I wrote for Champions

During the Fight Night: Nashville event, the second member of the 2017 Hall of Fame class was announced. Former UFC heavyweight champion Maurice Smith will be inducted into the Hall on July 6, during the UFC Fan Expo.

Smith will join former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber, who will be inducted in the hall’s Modern Wing at the expo.

Smith will join the Pioneer Wing, alongside fellow former UFC heavyweight title holders Mark Coleman, who he defeated for the belt, Randy Couture – who won the championship from him – and former interim champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Although some UFC faithful might look at Smith and say “who is that guy and why should he be inducted into the Hall of Fame?” However, the Seattle native has an extensive – and impressive – combat sports resume that includes a murderer’s row of UFC stars and mixed martial arts legends.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.

Invicta FC 23: Tiffany van Soest has opportunity to capture first MMA win

Tiffany van Soest has accomplished a lot in her combat sports career, but she has yet to capture her first professional mixed martial arts victory. That could all change on May 20 at Invicta FC 23.

At the event, which is headlined by a flyweight bout between former title challenger Vanessa Porto and undefeated prospect Agnieszka Niedźwiedź, van Soest will face Las Vegas native Christine Ferea in a strawweight bout.

This is an important fight for van Soest, one that could be the start of a great MMA run.

To read the rest of the story, follow the link.

Jorina Baars makes successful Bellator kickboxing debut

Note: This is a piece I wrote for Champions.co

Kickboxing star Jorina Baars added another notch to her combat sports career during last night’s Bellator 177/Kickboxing 6 event in Budapest Hungary.

In her first foray in a Bellator ring – that’s still weird to say – Baars picked up a decision win against Italian fighter Irene Martens.

Baars landed some good hits throughout the contest, even knocking Martens down in the third frame. It was a good performance for Baars, who in a post-fight interview, said she looked forward to future fights in Bellator.

To read the rest of the story, follow the link.

Katya Kavaleva could do well in WWE

Note: This is a column I wrote for Creators

WWE’s Performance Center has had a plethora of experienced professional wrestlers and athletes come through its doors, but I don’t know if there has been anyone quite like Katya Kavaleva.

WWE recently released a video of Kavaleva’s tryout at the Performance Center back in March. In the video, Kavaleva gives some of her martial arts background, as well as showcases some of her workouts.

This was Kavaleva’s second tryouts, she had been to the WWE Performance Center back in February.

I’m going to come clean and say that I didn’t really know of Kavaleva outside of her training with the Blackzilians – becoming the first woman to do so – and her calling out Gabi Garcia. After viewing some of her training footage at her WWE tryout, as well as videos of her sparring and competing in Taekwondo, the fantasy booker in me thinks she’d do well in WWE and the company should sign her to a developmental deal – if they haven’t already.

To read the rest of the column, follow the link.