GLORY Heavyweight Grand Prix matchups have been revealed. At a press conference in the Netherlands, GLORY Kickboxing held draws and selections for the semifinal brackets of the Mar. 9 tournament.
GLORY Heavyweight Grand Prix Matchups Announced
The GLORY Heavyweight Grand Prix will be a one-night, eight-man elimination tournament. Each of these heavyweights had to qualify for a place in this grand prix. The winner will need to compete in three matches in a single evening, winning each one, to capture the $500,000 prize.
Rico Verhoeven vs. Sofian Laidouni Levi Rigters vs. Uku Jürjendal Kevin Tariq “Cookie” Osaro vs. Bahram Rajabzadeh Nordine Mahieddine vs. Nabil Khachab
The higher-ranked fighters were able to select their opponent, selecting from the bottom four ranked fighters. For the semifinals, Verhoeven selected Laïdouni, Rigters selected Jurjendal, Osaro selected Rajabzadeh, and Mahieddine was paired against Khachab.
Verhoeven (60-10, 20 KO) is the modern-day king of kickboxing. The Dutch striker has been the GLORY heavyweight champion since 2014 and has a whopping 11 title defenses. He will face France’s Laïdouni (35-2-1, 17 KO) who earned victories over Khachab and Benjamin Adegbuyi to get a place in this tournament.
Osaro (25-3-1, 13 KO) is a Nigerian-Dutch striker who won a one-night, four-man tournament, winning all the matches by knockout, defeating top-ranked Antonio Plazibat for interim GLORY gold. Most recently he is coming off a loss to Verhoeven. He will face Azerbaijan’s Rajabzadeh (65-1, 58 KO), who is an aggressive striker who earned his spot in the tournament with a head-kick knockout win against Luis Tavares, before winning a one-night tournament defeating Mohammed Amine and Jürjendal.
Rigters (15-1, 7 KO) is a towering Dutch striker who has been deemed the prince of kickboxing. He has wins over other tournament entries such as Mahieddine and Osaro. Plus, he is coming off a first-round knockout win to qualify for this tournament. He is set to meet the Estonian slugger Jürjendal (20-8, 16 KO), who qualified for the Grand Prix as he earned knockout wins against Martin Terpstra and kickboxing legend Badr Hari in 2023.
Mahieddine (28-15-0, 13 KO) was the most recent addition. The French-Algerian athlete is coming off of a head-kick knockout win in 2023. Plazibat withdrew due to an injury, and Mahieddine took his place. He will face his teammate, the Dutch-Moroccan Khachab (26-4-1, 4 KO), who is ranked in the top 10. Khachab earned a place in the Grand Prix after he outworked Nikola Filipovic in 2023.
The heavyweight tournament will be accompanied by two GLORY title fights, as the lightweight and light heavyweight title will be on the line at this event.
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