Rico Verhoeven Looks to Remain Dominant at GLORY 54

Rico Verhoeven at Last Man Standing
Rico Verhoeven at Last Man Standing. Photo Credit: GLORY Kickboxing
  • GLORY 54 takes place on June 2nd in Birmingham, England and can be seen on UFC Fight Pass
  • Rico Verhoeven will defend his heavyweight title against the hard-hitting Mladen Brestovac
  • Will there be a massive upset? Or will it be another easy win for the champ?

GLORY Kickboxing returns to the United Kingdom with a stacked card that features one of combat sports’ most dominant champions in Rico “The King of Kickboxing” Verhoeven putting his heavyweight title on the line against No. 7-ranked heavyweight Mladen “The Scorpion Sting” Brestovac at GLORY 54.

Another title will be up for grabs in the co-main event when welterweight champion Harut Grigorian defends his world title for the first time against No. 1 contender Alim “Professor” Nabiyev.

Before fans get to see those two big tilts on the main card, GLORY 54 SuperFight Series will get the foreplay going when undefeated lightweight “Super” Elvis Gashi looks to keep the good times rolling against England’s very own William Goldie-Galloway.

Fight fans in Birmingham will love cheering on seven Brits who are looking to make a name for themselves in the GLORY ring. But it’s the Big Dog Rico Verhoeven that will have the arena standing with their phones on.

Fight fans in Birmingham will love cheering on seven Brits who are looking to make a name for themselves in the GLORY ring. But it’s the Big Dog Rico Verhoeven that will have the arena standing with their phones on, so we preview and break down the heavyweight championship bout.

Note: odds on this fight have not been released at the time of writing this, but we will update accordingly. 

Rico Verhoeven vs. Mladen Brestovac

FIGHTER SBD’S ESTIMATED MONEYLINE
RICO VERHOEVEN 3/17
MLADEN BRESTOVAC 17/3

And in this Corner…

In what initially was a three-round, non-title super fight, GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven (53-10) had no problems agreeing to put his championship title on the line against Mladen Brestovac (65-12-1).

This is the second time Brestovac and Verhoeven have collided. The last time out was back in 2016 when Verhoeven won via unanimous decision to secure his 11th win in a row. Since that time, the Verhoeven train has kept on rolling on a 15-fight winning streak that includes recent victories over long-time rival Jamal Ben Saddik, mixed martial arts veteran Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, and kickboxing legend Badr Hari.

The GLORY 54 main even is a one-sided matchup that might have a small amount of potential upset curiosity attached to it based on Brestovac being able to kick most men’s heads off. But Verhoeven is no ordinary man.

On the other side is Brestovac, who since that loss to the champ, has gone 2-1 in the GLORY ring which included knocking out Hesdy Gerges with his signature Scorpion Sting left head-kick. It might be something he likes to throw a lot, but Brestovac also has power in his hands where even a jab could stun his opponents.

This matchup is pretty simple to understand. You have the smart and extremely technical fighter in Verhoeven going up against a dangerous power striker in Brestovac, where 35 of his 56 wins have been the way of knockout. The problem is it’s extremely hard to hit the 29-year-old champ on the button as we saw at GLORY 28.

Their last fight was two years ago, but the keys to victory for both men remain the same.

Rico Verhoeven vs. Mladen Brestovac Fight Breakdown

Verhoeven will need to put on the pressure by pushing Brestovac against the ropes so he can unleash his powerful combinations. What makes The King of Kickboxing so good is that he’s so well rounded with all his kicks, knees and punches that come from a variety of angles. He will batter his opponent until they are either knocked out or barely surviving after five rounds.

Fighting someone like Brestovac though means there is always an inherent danger of making a mistake and getting caught. In their last fight, Verhoeven was very calculated in his approach. He would slowly move to his left and avoid taking Brestovac’s big left kick and would also throw a variety of knees in close to avoid getting hit with any big power strikes.

For the challenger to win, he needs to be far more active and throw more combinations. A couple of times at GLORY 28 Brestovac landed a clean uppercut or a good counterpunch after Verhoeven threw his head kicks. The 34-year-old Croatian will need to find a lucky strike by throwing more variety and seeing if something sticks.

The GLORY 54 main even is a one-sided matchup that might have a small amount of potential upset curiosity attached to it based on Brestovac being able to kick most men’s heads off. But Verhoeven is no ordinary man.

Verhoeven is the big favorite going into this fight and like last time out, I expect him to cruise to a win and possibly right into a potential big money rematch against Badr Hari.

Verhoeven is the big favorite going into this fight and like last time out, I expect him to cruise to a win and possibly right into a potential big money rematch against Badr Hari.

Predicted Winner: Rico Verhoeven

Author Image
Discussion

Let's have fun and keep it civil.