Badr Hari (106-13, 92 KO’s) and Hesdy Gerges (50-19-1, KO’s) are headlining GLORY 51 ROTTERDAM in a rematch. They first fought in 2010 and it ended in controversial scenes after Badr kicked Hesdy while he was on the canvas, resulting in a disqualification.
Fans have wanted to see this rematch ever since, but it took a long time to come together. Now it’s here and both fighters are really motivated for it. It’s a big fight for both of them, not only because of 2010’s unfinished business but also because of what is on their minds as they go into the ring.
A lot of people seem to think this will be a walkover match for Badr, due to Hesdy’s recent results, but don’t be too sure. Hesdy has had a run of losses in GLORY lately but he’s been unlucky with the judging in some of them. His recent record isn’t a fair reflection of his performances.
Still, Badr has a very big presence and a forceful personality. I expect him to try and overwhelm Hesdy early and that would be the smart move I think. If he can really impress himself upon Hesdy early in the fight then he can dominate it.
Badr looks a little lighter this time than he did for the Rico fight and that suggests that he is looking more at speed and sharpness than he is at raw power. But he’s always had knockout power, he doesn’t need bulk for it.
I also think Badr won’t try and force the KO. He is smart and experienced enough to know that when you look for it and try and force it, it doesn’t come. If he did get frustrated and try to force it, that would work in Hesdy’s favor.
Hesdy is really motivated for this one, maybe more than any fight he has had in GLORY so far. He changed trainer for this one, working under Mousid Akrimane, although still representing Thom Harinck and Chakuriki Gym.
He fights like a machine, Hesdy, always coming forward with that old Chakuriki style: punches followed by kicks, over and over, non stop for the whole fight. But the camp under Akrimane will maybe have added some new things to his arsenal.
The two fighters kept it very professional at the recent press conference, they didn’t try imposing on each other. But I think that’s just an experience thing; they are saving it for the ring. When that bell sounds to start the fight, I think they will both looking to make an impression immediately.
Tomas Mozny (19-6-1, 6 KO’s) vs Daniel Skvor (25-6-2, 18 KO’s)
As a co-headline fight before Badr Hari and Hesdy Gerges take to the ring, we have a fight which pits some heavyweight new blood against each other. Mozny has had two fights for GLORY so far and Skvor is making his debut.
We scouted Skvor after he won some WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) titles last year. He’s good a style which makes him a good fit for GLORY: he goes on the attack and looks to push the action.
Mozny is 1-1 in GLORY and still needs experience at this level. This is the final fight of a three-fight contract for him and he’s looking to score a big win which will earn him a new multi-fight contract.
Of course performance and fan entertainment are also things which GLORY places a lot of value on, so Mozny can still secure his position with the organization even if he doesn’t get the win. Expect him to be fired up.
Skvor has a multi-fight deal of his own and this is the fight fight under his contract. He’s looking to make a big impression on his debut and despite the fact these two know each other quite well outside the ring, I think we can expect fireworks.
Welterweight Contender Tournament:
Thongchai (136-35, 46 KO’s) vs Alan Scheinson (49-5, 37 KO’s)
Eyevan Danenberg (26-6, 13 KO’s) vs. Jimmy Vienot (61-14, 33 KO’s)
I really like the line-up in this tournament. There’s a mixture of different styles here and four fighters who are all rising in the rankings and showing potential as future contenders.
The first semi-final has Thongchai facing Alan Scheinson .
Thongchai, ranked #11, comes from the same camp as Sitthichai and had a strong career in Muay Thai before his team turned him towards kickboxing, where they felt his skills and natural power would be better rewarded.
He’s a naturally good fighter, but that sometimes counts against him. He’s one of those natural talents who sometimes relies too much on his ability and doesn’t always think he needs to train hard.
But when he is in good shape he is very difficult and according to his camp, he’s in the best shape of his life right now, having just completed a stretch of compulsory national service with the Thai Royal Army.
Scheinson fought some high-level guys in GLORY already and I think if you look at results like his split-decision loss to Murthel Groenhart, who went on to win the belt shortly afterwards, you can see his quality.
He has an irritating unorthodox style, he likes to fight at close range but can throw punches and kicks at all angles from there, which makes him pressuring. I give him a good chance here.
In the other semi-final, Eyevan Danenberg faces Jimmy Vienot.
Danenberg has been on good form lately. He won both his GLORY fights in 2017 and is 3-1 in GLORY overall, so he’s starting to climb the rankings. He’s currently at #8, which makes him the highest-ranked guy in the tournament (Scheinson is #9).
He’s very tall for the weight class and has a big range advantage over most opponents because of that. On the other hand, Vienot has more experience than the last two opponents Danenberg faced.
Vienot is a promising young talent from France and has competed mostly in Muay Thai, where he has made a good name for himself.
He’s still in the process of crossing over into kickboxing and we’ve only seen one fight from him in GLORY so far, but that split-decision loss to Alim Nabiyev at GLORY 47 really doesn’t look bad when you look how Nabiyev went on to dominate Nikey Holzken in his next fight.
The participants in this tournament are all around the lower half of the top ten. I see the winner of this tournament progressing into a match with an opponent in the top three next, as part of their pathway to a title shot.
But we also need to see what happens with the Cedric Doumbé/Alim Nabiyev match on this card. The winner of that fight will have a title shot, but if they are injured or out for any length of time then it may be that this tournament winner finds his title shot coming sooner than expected.
GLORY 51 ROTTERDAM takes place this Saturday, March 3 at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands.