After a month and a half since their last event – where Polish prospect Arkadiusz Wrzosek shocked the kickboxing world by knocking out the notorious Badr Hari – GLORY Kickboxing is back with a stacked two cards, capped off with the heavyweight title clash. Rico Verhoeven and Jamal Ben Saddik are back in action for a rematch on Saturday Oct. 23, headlining GLORY 79: Collision 3. The preliminary card is known as GLORY 79. The events will take place at the GelreDome in Arnhem, Netherlands, as Verhoeven attempts to defend his heavyweight title once again.
Dominant Glory champion Rico Verhoeven will defend his belt for the second time against the Moroccan known as “Goliath.” The two last fought in Dec. 2017, when Verhoeven won by TKO in the fifth round at GLORY 49. Verhoeven has not lost since. Ben Saddik went on to lose his next bout, but has since one four in a row, including the one-night, eight-man tournament at GLORY 69, which he not only one, but earned the right to face Verhoeven once again.
Ben Saddik is very strong and talented fighter, and, probably, the most dangerous opponent for the champ. This match-up likely makes for a much more competitive fight, than Verhoeven’s original opponent, the newly signed Alistair Overeem, who pulled out with an injury from what would have been his first pro kickboxing bout in almost 11 years.
Verhoeven has stayed active since he last met Ben Saddik, stringing together five wins, including a one-night, four-man tournament in January, where he beat Hesdy Gerges and Tarik Khabez at GLORY 77. Verhoeven did not put his title on the line that night, but participated in tournament to get back to the ring after a 13-month break. While some may not like his style, he is coined the “King of Kickboxing” for a reason. Verhoeven is a very pragmatic fighter with excellent timing and perfect stamina. Ben Saddik may be the only man who is able to stop Rico, but even for him this is a very hard task.
Another fight to watch is a return of the aforementioned Saki. “The Rebel” is back in the ring after a lackluster MMA career where he went 1-1 in the UFC. However, a collaboration with the UFC was a smart move for him. Instead of only two fights in Octagon, Saki was also featured in EA’s video games UFC 3 and UFC 4, where he is the only fighter who has six-strike combinations. Saki raised awareness of his skills, as he rejoins GLORY Kickboxing as one of the biggest stars.
On Saturday night, Saki fights the somewhat forgotten 40-year-old Englishman James McSweeney, who retired from MMA in June 2019, after dropping seven of his last eight fights. McSweeney does have a fairly lengthy kickboxing career, but hasn’t entered the ring since Dec. 2019. However, he is far from being considered the punching bag in this one. From Jan. 2018 to Dec. 2019, he scored three knockouts in a row, before dropping his last fight to Ismael Londt by doctor stoppage. Saki needs to be careful of McSweeney’s power, especially since his chin is not Saki’s strong point.
The GLORY 79 card will feature a welterweight bout between Azerbaijan’s Alim Nabiev and American Troy Jones. Nabiev has not fought since June 2019, when he lost to Cedric Doumbe at GLORY 66. Jones last faced Miguel Angel Padilla in June 2021, when he picked up a win by first-round TKO. Both will look to make a statement on Saturday night.
It is great to see that kickboxing has has finally been resurrected. A week ago, martial arts fans witnessed an exciting night of fights at ONE Championship: First Strike, as the promotion held an all-kickboxing card. The highlight of the night was one of the greatest knockouts in history, as Superbon Banchamek completely cold-cocked Giorgio Petrosyan with a second-round head kick for the featherweight title. Now, it’s GLORY’s turn, and fans will see if the promotion can still claim itself as the “Premier League” of kickboxing.
GLORY 79 will air live on YouTube starting at 12 p.m. ET. The GLORY: Collision 3 card will then air live through pay-per-view on GLORY’s app starting at 2 p.m. ET. See below for the fight predictions.
GLORY: Collision 3 (GLORY app, 2 p.m. ET)
HW: Rico Verhoeven vs. Jamal Ben Saddik
HW: Gokhan Saki vs. James McSweeney
WW: Mohamed Mezouari vs. Maximo Suarez
LHW: Donegi Abena vs. Sergej Maslobojev
HW: Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Antonio Plazibat
LHW: Michael Duut vs. John King
GLORY 79 (12 p.m. ET, YouTube)
WW: Alim Nabiev vs. Troy Jones
FW: Serhiy Adamchuk vs. Aleksei Ulianov
HW: Matt Baker vs. Serkan Ozcaglayan
LW: Stoyan Koprivlenski vs. Bruno Gazani
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