It’s wham bam Amsterdam as GLORY Kickboxing returns to the Netherlands for GLORY 45 (Saturday, Sep. 30).
Holland is the epicenter of kickboxing and a big GLORY card is nothing new for the country, which enjoys kicks to the liver as much as it enjoys eating bitterballen. It’s a good thing the card has a lot to chew on. The betting lines for the fights aren’t out yet, but check back with any of our top-rated sportsbooks closer to the date.
Dutch fans are rightfully excited to see one of their country’s most decorated kickboxers ever, Robin “Pokerface” van Roosmalen, grace the GLORY ring. The current featherweight champion will be defending his title against former champ Serhiy Adamchuk, who won his last fight at GLORY 42 in impressive fashion.
Also on the card is another Dutch kickboxing legend, Nieky Holzken. The 33-year-old former champ is looking to rebound from back-to-back losses to Cedric Doumbe, who was, himself, recently dethroned as welterweight champion. Holzken would like nothing more than to welcome the highly touted Alim Nabiyev to the GLORY ring by delivering a beat down of epic proportions. Can the young gun beat the legend?
GLORY 45: Amsterdam will also feature a one-night, four-man light-heavyweight tournament which will determine the division’s top challenger. In the first of two semifinal matchups, 19-year-old Dutch-Moroccan Imad “The Problem Child” Hadar (19-1, 7 KO) looks to return to his winning ways after suffering his first defeat to Freddy Kemayo at GLORY 40 back in April. Hadar will take on powerful American Manny Mancha (5-2, 4 KO).
Veteran light heavyweight Michael “Dreamcrusher” Duut (40-8, 17 KO) will fight in the other semifinal bout against a man making his GLORY debut in Dragos Zubco (11-4). Zubco captured both the WKN European Super Cruiserweight Championship and WKN International Super Cruiserweight Championship already this year.
If that’s not substantial enough, GLORY will be running its SuperFight Series just prior to the big card and you can fully expect fireworks.
Outside of the bad-a** heavyweight headliner bout between Hesdy Gerges and Mladen Brestovac, the fight that interests me the most is the middleweight showdown between former middleweight champion (and current no. 1 contender) Jason “Psycho” Wilnis (30-7-1, 8 KO) and 25-year-old Dutch-Tunisian Yousri Belgaroui (22-3, 10 KO), who’s right behind Wilnis at no. 2 in the division.
You can watch the SuperFights live on UFC Fight Pass.
GLORY 45 SuperFight Series
Heavyweight Headline Bout: Hesdy Gerges vs. Mladen Brestovac
Middleweight Bout: Jason Wilnis vs. Yousri Belgaroui
Featherweight Bout: Zakaria Zouggary vs. Massaro Glunder
Lightweight Bout: Tyjani Beztati vs. Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai
Welterweight Bout: Eyevan Danenberg vs. Wellington Uega
After suffering a loss in my GLORY 44 prediction, I look to rebound with my GLORY 45 picks for the main and co-main events of the evening. Are we in store for more upsets? Or will the favorites continue to kick their way up the ladder?
GLORY 45 PREDICTIONS
Robin van Roosmalen (c) vs. Serhiy Adamchuk – Featherweight Championship
The GLORY featherweight title will be on the line as champion Robin van Roosmalen (38-7, 21 KO) defends against Serhiy Adamchuk (35-8, 14 KO) in GLORY 45’s headline bout.
Adamchuk is coming off a win over Dylan Salvador at GLORY 42 in what ended up being a title eliminator. The former champ now has his sights set firmly on the gold belt that he lost to Gabriel Varga at GLORY 32.
Getting his title back won’t be an easy task as Van Roosmalen is currently riding a three-fight winning streak including a recent majority decision over Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao at GLORY 41 where he won the vacant featherweight title. With that win, he became the only fighter to have won a GLORY title in two different weight classes.
“Pokerface” Van Roosmalen may not have a lot of tells in the GLORY ring, but the short Dutchman packs some serious KO power in both of his hands.
This is a tough matchup for Adamchuk, who has been fairly inconsistent with just two wins in his last five bouts. The former champ used to be a puzzle for opponents but, more recently, the 27-year-old has struggled against more strategic fighters who take their time and pick their spots.
He’ll want to watch Van Roosmalen’s last fight closely and note how well Petchpanomrung was able to land body and leg kicks. Adamchuk is well known for devastating kicks of his own. If he’s going to win this fight, he’ll need to avoid Van Roosmalen’s power punches and slow the Dutchman’s pace with those famous leg kicks.
Look for Van Roosmalen to push the pace and pressure Adamchuck against the ropes while looking to land some devastating combos. In his last bout against Petchpanomrung, Van Roosmalen was active with his footwork but didn’t throw a lot of strikes and it almost cost him. That said, quality is more important than quantity, and Van Roosmalen showed he can land the harder and cleaner punches, sometimes at will.
The contrasting styles could lead to a closer fight than what’s on paper. But I expect Van Roosmalen to walk through Adamchuk and retain his title.
Predicted winner: Robin van Roosmalen
Nieky Holzken vs Alim Nabiyev
Nieky Holzken (90-13, 46 KO) is considered by many to be the greatest welterweight of all time, and one of the most dominating champions to ever set foot in a GLORY ring. But the legendary fighter finally met his match in a younger and more aggressive Cedric Doumbe. “The Natural” had two chances to dethrone Doumbe (GLORY 36 and 42) but came up just short in both bouts losing by split decision.
Now Holzken has a chance to put the train back on the tracks and show the world that, although he’s 33 years old, he’s not done causing havoc.
Standing across from him at GLORY 45 will be a highly touted GLORY rookie in Alim Nabiyev (45-6). While this is his first dive into GLORY waters, Nabiyev has swum in deep waters before. Nabiyev has built up an impressive resume for himself at welterweight, including wins over Armen Petrosyan, Yohan Lidon, Aziz Kallah, Chad Sugden and more. He’s ranked as the no. 7 welterweight in the world and has wanted to fight Holzken for a while now.
The key to victory for Nabiyev is to avoid Holzken’s left hook, both to the head and the body. He needs to be cognizant of Holzken’s fluid combos which usually end with a vicious liver shot.
Holzken, on the other hand, will need to close the distance and not allow Nabiyev to find his range. The 22-year-old from Azerbaijan has a nasty right cross that can slow anyone down, including legends of the sport.
Young gun Nabiyev has what it takes to give the legend his third consecutive loss, but he will have to make sure he can out point the master, which is no easy feat. In a bout that will likely go to the judges’ scorecards, I’m taking Holzken via decision.
Predicted winner: Nieky Holzken