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What Does Ultimate Glory Say About the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 Final?

Only the hardest of the hard-core fans watched it, but the Ultimate Glory MMA and kickboxing event in Amsterdam Saturday featured four of the eight participants in December's K-1 World Grand Prix Final 2009: Errol Zimmerman, Ruslan Karaev, Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt. So what did that event tell us about what we should expect from the year's biggest and best kickboxing event?

Errol Zimmerman: He was unimpressive through most of his fight with Wendell Roche, and after regulation time the judges ruled it a draw. Zimmerman finally started fighting with fire in the extension round, and he won the fourth round to win the fight by unanimous decision. But while he got the win, it wasn't a particularly impressive performance against the mediocre Roche, and it's hard to see any reason to think he has much of a chance of beating defending champion Remy Bonjasky in the K-1 World Grand Prix Final.

Ruslan Karaev: Hesdy Gerges battered Karaev's legs with low kick after low kick after low kick on his way to a dominant unanimous decision. It was a very bad performance by Karaev, who will be a heavy underdog in his first-round fight with Badr Hari at the K-1 World Grand Prix Final. I don't think Hari is going to use the same game plan as Gerges -- Hari would much rather deliver a one-punch knockout than pepper his opponent with leg kicks -- but Hari has to be pleased with how badly his opponent fought.

Alistair Overeem: It's hard to tell much about a kickboxer by watching him in an MMA fight against an overmatched opponent, but Overeem certainly appeared to be in good fighting shape when he whipped Tony Sylvester. The Sylvester fight was basically a tune-up; Overeem just wants to stay active and be ready to peak for the Grand Prix Final in December.

Semmy Schilt: Schilt earned a fairly low-key unanimous decision win over Alexey Ignashov in the Ultimate Glory main event, and for Schilt there was a sense of personal vindication because Ignashov dominated him with a first-round KO win five years ago. Like Overeem, Schilt is eyeing the Grand Prix Final and will treat any fights prior to that as warm-ups.

Conclusion: Schilt and Overeem did basically what I expected them to do, and that means I still expect them to win their first-round fights at the K-1 World Grand Prix Final. But Zimmerman and Karaev were worse than I expected, and that makes it almost impossible for me to picture them beating Bonjasky or Hari. Look for the Grand Prix Final Four to consist of Hari vs. Overeem and Bonjasky vs. Schilt.

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