Rico Verhoeven scored the 50th victory of his kickboxing career with a TKO over Badr Hari at GLORY Collision Saturday night in Oberhausen, Germany, but it was not the way he expected it to be.
The GLORY main event was thrilling even before the first punch was thrown. After Hari and Verhoeven entered the ring, dozens of fans stormed to the ring to take photos of Hari. It took a while for fans to return to their seats for the referee start the heavyweight bout.
Competing for the first time in over a year, Hari took on the best heavyweight on the planet and showed he still got it, opening a cut on Verhoeven’s nose early in the fight. The GLORY heavyweight champion returned more aggressive in the second round, and what appeared to be a knee in the clinch ended up injuring Hari’s arm and forcing the end of the contest.
"This is not the way I wanted to win,” Verhoeven said after the win, guaranteeing he’s down to a rematch. "I gave him all my respect. We’re gonna do it again, man. Let’s do it. Not just for us, but you guys (fans) as well.”
Verhoeven mentioned in his post-fight interview that he has "ambitions" to compete in MMA in 2017, too.
"I’m very disappointed in the outcome of the fight,” Hari said. "You know, I’ve had a lot of sh*t in my life, but (my fans) always support me. I think nobody wanted the fight to end like this… so let’s do this again. I will knock this guy out next year."
"I gave you the credit,” Hari told Verhoeven, “but next year, I swear, I will knock you the f*ck out."
GLORY also featured the return of Tiffany Van Soest to the kickboxing rings less than three months after losing to Kalyn Schwartz under the Invicta FC banner, and she didn't disappoint.
Competing at the promotion’s super bantamweight tournament, Van Soest beat Jessica Gladstone by a unanimous decision to earn a spot in the final, where she met previously unbeaten Amel Dehby.
Dehby, who entered the final with a perfect 29-0 record after scoring a decision win over Isis Verbeek in the semifinal, couldn’t impose her game in the three-round bout. Van Soest landed the best strikes, including good right hands and head kicks. The third round was the closest of the three, but it was too late for Dehby.
In the end, Van Soest became the tournament winner via unanimous decision (30-27x3, 29-28x2).
In the co-main event, Nieky Holzken put his welterweight title on the line against Cedric Doumbe, and the title fight ended in a surprising upset. Putting his title on the line for the fourth time after winning 12 straight under the GLORY banner, Holzken saw the 24-year-old French land the best shots in most of the contest, winning the title via split decision (48-47x3 Doumbe, 48-47 Holzken, 48-46 Doumbe).
In the heavyweight division, Jamal Ben Saddik came close to finishing Ismael Londt after three dominating rounds, dropping his opponent with seconds left in the third, but Londt survived. Saddik added another win to his record via unanimous decision(30-26x4, 29-27).