This Saturday morning, kickboxing organization Glory returns for their second show. Glory 2 Brussels airs this Saturday at (UPDATE) 1:00 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT. The show will be available as a live stream for $15 at Glory's website. It's also available on various TV outlets throughout Europe, plus The Fight Network in Canada, and Fight Now TV in the US. For a full list of your viewing options, check out the Glory website.
This is a decent card overall, but for any long-time kickboxing fans this card is all about one thing - the return of Remy Bonjasky. A former 3 time K-1 Grand Prix champion, Bonjasky fights for the first time here since the 2009 K-1 Grand Prix. After that event, Bonjasky announced his retirement, citing a recurring eye injury that was threatening to leave him blind. He's since had the eye taken care of, and is back in fighting shape. This is, quite simply, fantastic news, as Bonjasky is a true legend who any fan should be happy to see back.
Making his K-1 debut in 2001, Bonjasky was initially met with a mixed response. He combines high flying, spectacular kicks with a strategic, defense-oriented mindset when challenged. As a result, some have viewed him as a bit of a boring fighter at times, though for my money, that label is far from accurate. In 2003, Bonjasky was able to put all the pieces together, winning the K-1 Grand Prix with crazy KO's of Peter Graham and Cyril Abidi along the way. He repeated the feat in 2004, though this time it took him a combined 12 rounds to take out Ernesto Hoost, Francois Botha, and Musashi. In 2008 he once again took home the crown, defeating Badr Hari in a famously controversial DQ ending when Hari stomped a downed Bonjasky in the finals.
From 2003 onwards, Bonjasky consistently faced top level talent. He holds wins over Hari, Hoost, Alistair Overeem, Jerome Le Banner, Gokhan Saki, and many other top names. Of all the top names he's faced (and he's faced them all) there are only two he has never been able to topple - Peter Aerts, and Semmy Schilt. And, wouldn't you know it, all three are now in Glory.
In ranking the all time great K-1 Heavyweights, I'd put Bonjasky squarely at #5 behind Schilt, Aerts, Hoost, and Andy Hug (though not in that order). This Glory run is likely his last chance to add to his legacy, and I am excited to see where it takes him.
Bonjasky takes on Anderson "Braddock" Silva in the main event. Silva is a Brazilian fighter training with Thom Harinck at the famed Chakuriki Gym. He's a skilled fighter with a lot of big fight experience, and while Bonjasky should take him out, he's definitely not an easy softball first opponent for a return from retirement. If Bonjasky is not back and on top of his game, Silva has the ability to play spoiler.
Elsewhere on the card, top 10 Heavyweight Gokhan Saki takes on consistent gatekeeper Mourad Bouzidi. There's also a great 70kg fight between Nieky Holzken and Murat Direkci - two of my personal favorite fighters who can always be counted on to deliver great fights. This is a first time meeting, and one I am very much looking forward to. Other fighters of note on the card include Andy Ristie, Mark Miller, and Murthel Groenhart.
Check out the full fight card below, and be sure to come back Saturday morning for to discuss the show live here on Bloody Elbow.
Glory 2 Brussels Fight Card
October 6, 2012
Remy Bonjasky vs. Anderson "Braddock" Silva
Gokhan Saki vs. Mourad Bouzidi
Nieky Holzken vs. Murat Direkci
Fabiano Cyclone vs. Filip Verlinden
Murthel Groenhart vs. Marc de Bonte
Tony Gregory vs. Igor Jurkovic
Mark Miller vs. Koichi Pettas
Cihad Kepenek vs. Jonathan Diniz
Jamal Ben Sadik vs. Jahfarr Wilnis
Alex Vogel vs. Marat Grigorian
Ali Cenak vs. Danyo Ilunga
Andy Ristie vs. Nordim Bin Moh
Yuya Shirai vs. Tommy Depret (MMA)
Tatsuya Mizuno vs. Jason Jones (MMA)