Every Monday, the Combat Press staff gathers its thoughts on the previous weekend’s fights and fight news. This feature isn’t a recap and it isn’t an editorial, but rather a bit of both worlds. We’ll scour the best from the combat-sports landscape and deliver it, with some commentary, right here. Let’s get started…
GLORY 45 took place this weekend in one of the meccas of kickboxing, The Netherlands.
Robin van Roosmalen once again proved himself as the top featherweight in the GLORY ranks. The two-division world champion’s only setback came against the best fighter in the world, Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong.
Michael Duut destroyed his light heavyweight tournament competition in just 48 seconds combined. He took advantage of Dragos Zubco’s wild style and put him away with an insanely timed counter left hook. He continued his dominance with another left hook to knock out Manny Mancha in just 12 seconds. Mancha’s place in the tournament was controversial even before the stoppage. Mancha was brutally beaten down in his fight with Imad Hadar, but earned the victory when Hadar injured his arm.
Mladen Brestovac proved himself as one of the world’s best heavyweights when he slept top-10 heavyweight Hesdy Gerges with his trademark left head kick. He blocked a right high kick from Gerges and expertly returned his own left high kick from the southpaw stance, the kryptonite of an orthodox fighter like Gerges.
Yousri Belgaroui cemented his place as the No.1 contender in the middleweight division with a first-round stoppage of Jason Wilnis. Belgaroui put on a relentless pace that gave Wilnis trouble. Wilnis stayed calm in the fight, but Belgaroui opened a massive cut over the left eye of Wilnis with a well-timed jumping knee.
In other notable action, Zakaria Zouggary bested former top-10 featherweight Massaro Glunder, blue-chip prospect Tyjani Beztati beat the far more experienced Yodkhupon Sitmonchai, and Eyevan Danenberg became the first man to defeat Wellington Uega in 31 fights.
TopKing World Series 16 from Fujian, China, featured some high-level Muay Thai. Former Sportswriters of Thailand Boxer of the Year Yodwicha Kem Muay Thai Gym knocked out Saifullakh Khambakhadov with a beautiful chopping elbow strike to extend his 12-fight winning streak. Also, Gabriel Mazzetti stopped Yodphanomrung Jitmuangnon in the second frame.
One of the world’s most popular fighters, Buakaw Banchamek, returned to the ring at All Star Fight 2. Buakaw toyed with 2017 Kunlun Fight tournament quarterfinalist Sergei Kuliaba to earn his 10th win in his past 11 fights. His only loss came in controversial fashion against famous Chinese fighter Yi Long.
Enfusion Live #53 featured plenty of top-level kickboxing action from Belgium. One of the world’s best fighters, Superbon Banchamek, put on a masterful performance against top-10 lightweight Mohamed Khamal. The decision victory moved Superbon’s winning streak to an astounding 21 straight, again proving he is one of the best strikers on the planet.
Top-10 light heavyweight Luis Tavares scored an upset of Enfusion heavyweight champion Jahfarr Wilnis, potentially opening the doors for more opportunities in a new division.
Fan-favorites Tayfun Ozcan, Mohammed Jaraya and Nordin Ben Moh picked up league victories in Enfusion. Ozcan and Ben Moh are the odds-on favorites to win the six-part tournament series. However, Ozcan already holds a victory over Ben Moh during the round-robin tournament. Jaraya returned to Enfusion for the first time since punching a judge after what he believed was a poor decision in his fight against Redouan Laarkoubi at Enfusion Live #49.
Thai Fight continued its worldwide tour in Barcelona. One of the greatest Muay Thai fighters of all-time, Saenchai, extended his incredible run with a decision victory over Juan Salmeron for his 31st consecutive victory.
Elsewhere on the card, Sudsakorn Sor. Klinmee won his fifth straight against Yankuba Juwara, former Sportswriters of Thailand Boxer of the Year Kongsak Sitbonmee bested hometown fighter Marc Dass Rey, and former Lumpinee stadium champion Sensatarn PKSaenchaimuaythaigym earned his fifth win in a row over Kilian Gimenez.
Lion Fight 38 didn’t feature the best Muay Thai fighters in the world, but it certainly featured some of the best finishes of the weekend, including a spinning back elbow and much, much more.
Regian Eersel is one of the best in his weight class. The Lion Fight champion dismantled challenger Matous Kohout with a left knee to continue to add to his growing highlight reel of finishes. Eersel aso defeated a fighter who previously held a win over him.
Mairis Briedis won a unanimous decision over Mike Perez as part of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. The bout was incredibly dull, and contained a lot of holding and clinching. Both fighters lost points, but ultimately Briedis, as the slightly busier fighter, was able to take the win.
Rocky Fielding scored a first-round TKO victory over fringe contender David Brophy in the United Kingdom to win a few British super middleweight titles and re-establish himself as a top-15 name at 168 pounds.
Paul Butler defeated Stuart Hall via unanimous decision on the same card. It was a rematch to a bout the two had fought in 2014. Butler had won a close, competitive decision the first time the two met, but his victory was much more decisive this time around.
The weekend’s MMA docket was pretty bare at the highest levels. On the regional scene, Russia led the way. In fact, Moscow housed major events on back-to-back days.
On Sept. 29, it was Fight Nights Global, where Mike Graves suffered his first career loss in his headlining showdown with Nikolay Aleksakhin. Aleksakhin was able to dispose of the UFC veteran via strikes in the third round. Meanwhile, another undefeated prospect proved himself to be a legitimate up-and-comer. That prospect is Aliaskhab Khizriev, who claimed a decision nod over veteran Yasubey Enomoto. Khizriev’s victory moves his record to a perfect 11-0. Much further down the card, Chinese female flyweight Bo Meng stumbled yet again, this time suffering a decision loss to Liliya Shakirova, who moves to 3-0 on her young career.
The next night, Absolute Championship Berkut rolled into Moscow for its 71st event. At the top of the bill, Petr Yan successfully defended his bantamweight title with a third-round knockout of formerly undefeated challenger Matheus Mattos. Meanwhile, Eduard Vartanyan claimed lightweight gold with a unanimous decision over Andrey Koshkin. In other notable action, Aslambek Saidov finished Marcelo Alfaya with strikes in the first round, Jonas Billstein submitted Alexey Butorin with a rear-naked choke, Dileno Lopes dropped a decision to the far less experienced Dukvaha Astamirov, and Bellator veteran D.J. Linderman continued his slide into irrelevance when he lasted just 95 seconds against Amirkhan Isagadzhiev, who climbs to 3-0 with the head-kick finish.