Rico Verhoeven retained his heavyweight title – and 'King of Kickboxing' moniker with an emphatic second-round stoppage of Anderson 'Braddock' Silva in the main event of GLORY 33 NEW JERSEY.
Verhoeven – now rising to 49-10 with 13 wins by stoppage – steadily broke the veteran Brazilian down by way of his trademark multi-target combination work. But it was Verhoeven's trademark trick-shot – a leg kick, which targets the inside of the back leg rather than the inside of the front leg - which brought the finish on.
A fighter in orthodox stance (left foot forward) usually uses his more powerful rear leg to attack the outside of the opponent's front leg, which is also the left leg if facing an orthodox fighter. Verhoeven has perfected an attack which instead allows him to bypass the obvious and well-defended front leg target and instead delivers a full-power blow to the soft inside of the rear leg.
“It's a nasty kick because that leg is not used to being kicked, so when it gets kicked right there in the muscle, it really hurts,” he agrees. “My corner saw that his leg was damaged [after the first one I landed] and they were telling me to work some different shots for a while [to distract him] then go back to that leg, so that's what I did and it worked.”
Having scored a knockdown with that kick, Verhoeven went back to work on the restart and this time faked an attack to the legs before going high with a head kick which also knocked Silva down. One more knockdown would end the fight and Verhoeven knew how he would get it.
He went after Silvas head with punches and, once his attention was suitably occupied, threw another huge inside kick to the back leg. Silva went down again and the fight was waved off at 2.57 of the second round. Silva now falls to 40-15-1.
“I am happy with that performance. It was nearly flawless, I would give it a 9.5 actually. I took maybe some risk boxing with him because he is a good boxer, and there was no real need to take that risk, so that's why I give myself a 9.5,” he said with a smile during his locker-room post-fight interview.
The win is Verhoeven's fifth consecutive title defense and his twelfth win in the organization, both of which are records (Nieky Holzken is second with eleven wins and two title defenses). Verhoeven's focus now turns to December's fight with Badr Hari at GLORY: COLLISION.
Hari has consistently disputed Verhoeven's claim to be the top heavyweight in the sport, making a showdown inevitable. That fight is now set to take place in Oberhausen, Germany at the Koning Pilsner Arena on December 10.
“The media kept asking me about Badr Hari while I was preparing for this fight [with Anderson Silva] but no, it wasn't weird for me to preparing for one fight while I had another lined up afterwards. The media seemed more fixated on it than me,” says Verhoeven.
“Now my focus turns to Badr Hari and making a good gameplan for him.”