GLORY Kickboxing travels to the Brabanthallen Exhibition Centre in Den Bosch, the Netherlands, on Saturday, May 20, for GLORY 41: Holland.
In the evening’s headliner, GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven returns to the ring in a three round, non-title match-up against former Enfusion heavyweight champion Ismael Lazaar. Verhoeven, the world’s consensus No. 1 heavyweight, is undefeated in his past 12 contests inside the GLORY ring. Lazaar makes his promotional debut following a decision win over Kunlun Fight veteran Atha Kasapis at Enfusion Live 47 in March.
The featherweight title on is on the line when former two-division GLORY world champion Robin van Roosmalen attempts to regain the belt he lost on the scales at GLORY 37 when he takes on GLORY 39 contender tournament winner Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao.
In the night’s heavyweight contender tournament, former top-10 heavyweight Anderson “Braddock” Silva hopes to earn a rematch against Verhoeven with two victories in the one-night, four-man battle. Brazil’s Silva meets the debuting Greek heavyweight Giannis Stoforidis in one leg of the tournament semifinals. In the other side of the bracket, multiple-time Superkombat tournament champion D’Angelo Marshall fights Germany’s Mohamed Abdallah.
Elsewhere on the event, top-five welterweight Murthel Groenhart meets Argentina’s Alan Scheinson, GLORY mainstay Hesdy Gerges takes on returning heavyweight Tomáš Hron, top-five light heavyweight Mourad Bouzidi fights former top-10 kickboxer Michael Duut, and Shootboxing S-Cup champion Zakaria Zouggary makes his GLORY debut against Turkey’s Yetkin Ozkul
GLORY 41 airs at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN 3. The SuperFight Series portion of the event streams live at 3:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven takes on promotional newcomer Ismael Lazaar in a non-title bout. Is Lazaar a legitimate challenge to Verhoeven’s heavyweight belt? If Verhoeven is victorious, what is his next move?
Make no bones about it, this wasn’t the first choice for GLORY brass. Verhoeven has dominated the GLORY ranks for over four years with little to no hope of potential challenges on the horizon.
Jamal Ben Saddik earned what many believed to be the next title shot with victories over top-10 heavyweights Guto Inocente and heavyweight contender tourney winner Ismael Londt. The monster Moroccan-Belgian heavyweight holds a win over the champion to make things even more interesting. However, Ben Saddik wasn’t ready to go for this fight card in the Netherlands, so the promotion went outside of the current ranks to sign Lazaar, a popular, but somewhat unproven commodity.
Lazaar, a former Enfusion heavyweight champion, has 30 career victories to only three losses with half of his wins coming by way of knockout. The 26-year-old has been a dominant force on the smaller European and Moroccan shows. The small statured heavyweight — with a gut as big as his punching power — has claimed victories over GLORY vet Thomas Vanneste and Kunlun Fight alum Atha Kasapis in the past two years. He lost his belt to Jahfarr Wilnis. Lazaar tasted defeat for only the third time when he fell short in a decision loss to Martin Pacas earlier this year. However, Lazaar has beaten almost everyone else in his ascension through the Enfusion ranks. The slugger loves to make his fights dirty, grinding affairs, and he has a penchant for the knockout.
Lazaar is a popular fighter in Europe and Morocco, which is likely the reason why GLORY stepped outside of its promotional rankings to give its heavyweight champ a tune-up fight. Lazaar should help in putting the fans in the seats in Den Bosch. However, this move seems to go against everything the promotion has laid out in the GLORY rules. Champions are not supposed to fight in non-title affairs, but this will be Verhoeven’s second non-title bout in as many outings.
Verhoeven’s match-up with Badr Hari was a money fight in a kickboxing world searching for the next great heavyweights. However, this fight with Lazaar makes even less sense from a competitive standpoint. Lazaar has yet to fight in the GLORY ring, let alone win a contender tournament.
Lazaar is nowhere near the level of the perennial heavyweight great. Verhoeven should run a masterclass however he chooses to approach this fight. Odds are Verhoeven decides to stay defensive, moving around the ring and looking to counter when the opportunity arises, and let Lazaar punch himself out early. Verhoeven is the bigger, stronger athlete. He likely has a large speed and movement advantage as well. Lazaar has three rounds to find the home-run shot, but it seems unlikely Verhoeven will risk taking a loss in an all-out brawl. Instead, the champion will remain calm, look to find his openings with his footwork and diverse striking attack, and take home his 14th victory inside the GLORY ring.
Robin van Roosmalen is out to win back the featherweight title he lost on the scales. He takes on contender tournament winner Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao for the vacant belt. Who takes home the GLORY featherweight title?
Dutch style kickboxer van Roosmalen is only 27 years old, but he has already reached the pinnacle of kickboxing on multiple occasions. The former two-time defending GLORY lightweight champion and former GLORY featherweight champ has defeated some of the very best fighters in the world throughout his illustrious 67-fight career.
Van Roosmalen held the lightweight title until Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong knocked him off of his throne at GLORY 31 in June 2016. He rebounded by winning the featherweight title over Gabriel Varga at GLORY 34. He lost the title when he missed weight for his first scheduled title defense against another Canadian foe, Matt Embree, at GLORY 37 earlier this year. Van Roosmalen will be given another chance at the featherweight strap following back-to-back dominant performances.
Petchpanomrung earned his shot at the title through the GLORY 39 featherweight contender tournament. The Muay Thai specialist made a successful GLORY debut in a dominant performance against prospect Stanislav Renita at GLORY 35. He found resistance in both tournament fights in his bid for the featherweight title shot. Petchpanomrung used his left kick and high-output attack to topple highly skilled Russian lightweight Aleksei Ulianov in the semifinals. The Thai fighter took home the tourney title with a closely contested decision victory over former GLORY featherweight champ Serhiy Adamchuk. Petchpanomrung used his strong left middle kick and a diverse attack to top Adamchuk, who found his own success with punches to the head and body of the eventual tourney winner.
Van Roosmalen will hope to find the same openings when he attempts to navigate the distance on his way into the pocket. Petchpanomrung’s game plan is almost always the same: batter the arms, body and legs with his patented left kick from the southpaw stance. He showcased good movement and awareness in the exchanges in his tournament performances. However, van Roosmalen will certainly test the Muay Thai champion’s chin inside boxing range.
Van Roosmalen’s high guard defense will be tested by the strength of Petchpanomrung’s kicks. This was his downfall in his most recent loss against one of the world’s best, Sitthichai. However, Petchpanomrung doesn’t have the same tools to work with as Sitthichai. Petchpanomrung should find some success early in this fight, but the van Roosmalen freight train will have five rounds to throw heavy leather in the pocket. Van Roosmalen will put on a cerebral performance on his way to reclaiming the featherweight crown.
The GLORY heavyweight tournament features former top-10 heavyweight Anderson “Braddock” Silva, Superkombat veteran D’Angelo Marshall and two fighters making their GLORY debuts, Giannis Stoforidis and Mohamed Abdallah. Who puts themselves in the position to challenge Rico Verhoeven for his heavyweight title?
Brazilian heavyweight Silva returns to the GLORY ring on a two-fight skid against the two top-ranked kickboxers in the division, Verhoeven and Benjamin Adegbuyi. His career has featured more losses than wins in the past five years of competition. Silva has just eight victories in his past 19 fights dating back to the beginning of 2012. The former top-10 heavyweight has fought the very best inside the GLORY ropes. His victims in this stretch included multiple-time K-1 World Grand Prix champ Remy Bonjasky and top light heavyweights Michael Duut and Igor Jurković. Silva has lost in all four of the contender tournaments he has participated in.
Greece’s Stoforidis, known as “Hercules” by his fans, has only been competing in professional kickboxing for the past six years. The 28-year-old, who trains out of the Karanikolis Team in Kavala, Greece, will be the first Greek fighter to compete in the GLORY ring. He won the No Limits heavyweight title in his home country in 2012 before getting the opportunity to compete in the larger Superkombat promotion. Stoforidis fell short in his bid to qualify for the 2013 Superkombat World Grand Prix. However, he re-entered the tourney field with a victory over Belgium’s Mathieu Kongolo. Stoforidis was eventually bounced out of the tournament by Redoduan Cairo. The Greek fighter rides a four-fight winning streak into his GLORY debut.
Marshall, 26, is a Curaçaoan-Dutch kickboxer with an impressive record of 25 wins and four losses, with 14 knockouts. Marshall is a two-time Superkombat tournament champion with wins in two one-night tournaments. One of those tourney wins came over the aforementioned Stoforidis in the finals of the 2013 Superkombat World Grand Prix III qualifying tournament. Marshall lost in an extra-round decision to top-10 heavyweight Guto Inocente at GLORY 37. However, he has victories in 10 of his past 12 contests, which includes wins over Thomas Vanneste, Pacôme Assi and Kirk Krouba.
In this tournament, Marshall takes on Germany’s Mohamed Abdallah, a relative unknown. The 22-year-old Mike’s Gym product Abdallah has 12 victories and five knockouts in his 13 career fights.
The biggest name in this tournament field is Silva. He should be the tournament favorite based on his experience at the top level of the sport. However, Silva is a sub-.500 fighter over the past five years. The Brazilian just hasn’t been able to find the consistency he needs to become a perennial contender in a division looking for new life. Despite his recent downfalls, Silva should find the win column against Stoforidis. Marshall’s edge in experience makes him the pick to come out of the other side of the bracket.
The question marks of whether or not Silva can win his first contender tournament will absolutely come into the limelight when he faces the younger, faster and constantly improving Marshall in the tournament final. Marshall will turn his GLORY fortune around with the best victory in his kickboxing career.
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