Right after the Superfight Series at GLORY 26 Amsterdam, the big TV screens in the arena revealed that Glory will be back in 2016. GLORY 27 would be held in Februari and GLORY 28 in March. City’s aren’t announced yet, but these events will probably be somewhere in the US.
Most interesting news was that former Glory Light-Heavyweight champion and K-1 legend: Gokhan Saki, will return to the ring. Saki will get an immediate title shot, in which he needs to fight with current title holder: Saulo Cavalari from Brazil. Next to that, Glory announced one other title fight: Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus lll. Levin is the current title holder of the Glory Middleweight division for some years now. Last time these two met, the fight ended in a draw. I’m thrilled to see who’s going to win this time, since a draw won’t be an option.
During this article I want to focus on the most anticipated fight of the two announcements, which for me is: Gokhan Saki vs. Saulo Cavalari. A very entertaining fight, because these two warriors never met between the ropes thus far. Nevertheless, a lot of trash talk has already been done in the past. Saki called the next Glory Light-Heavyweight champion a “fake champion.” Right after these words, Glory told the media, that Saki’s contract wouldn’t be renewed. The biggest kickboxing league in the world right now, decided to vacate the Light-Heavyweight belt, because they couldn’t pay the desired wage for the (at that time), Glory champion: Gokhan Saki. The Rebel, was very disappointed about the decision and decided to react on it, by writing this statement.
For now, it seems that Glory is suddenly able to pay Saki, or that they at least agreed on certain terms, which we will never get to know exactly. Most important thing is, that one of the best kickboxers in the world is back, and ready to fight for the best kickboxing league in the world: Glory World Series.
A lot of things have changed since the last time we saw Gokhan Saki fight under the Glory banner. His last 2 fights where in April 2014, where he won the Glory Light-Heavyweight title, by winning from Nathan Corbett and Tyrone Spong in one night. Saki looked sharp and almost punched Corbett’s ear of in the first fight of the night. Later on in the final, he met Tyrone Spong. The most anticipated fight of the past 5 years in kickboxing, unfortunately went down as one of the biggest disappointments. Saki checked one of Spong’s massive lowkicks in the first round, causing Spong’s shin to fracture. Saki showed good sportsmanship. His reaction was very emphatic and respectful towards his opponent.
Saki’s most recent fight was under the GFC banner against Sebastian Ciobanu. Not one of his best performances. He didn’t seem to be in a tip top shape, but won a pretty boring fight by decision. Normally winning by decision isn’t a problem at all, but it has been 3 years ago, since The Rebel won a fight like that. Which makes it pretty extraordinary for the fans.
Rating of Saki’s last 3 fights (from 0 to 10):
- April 2015: Gokhan Saki vs. Sebastian Ciobanu (6)
- April 2014: Gokhan Saki vs. Tyrone Spong (7)
- April 2014: Gokhan Saki vs. Nathan Corbett (8)
To me, this man is the next big thing in kickboxing. The first fight I saw from him, was against Mourad Bouzidi at GLORY 12 New York. It was here, where he delivered one of his biggest knockouts, out of his young fighting career (30-3-0). One massive overhand right to the jaw of the Dutch/Tunisian, ended the fight in a split second. I discoverd some Dutch Style movements during that fight, so I decided to do some research. It turned out Cavalari trained at the famous Chakuriki gym, under legendary Dutch Style coach: Thom Harinck. This explained everything… hard punch-lowkick combinations, vicious single punches/kicks and just an overall decent fighting style. This must be a product of the Chakuriki gym, the gym where Badr Hari started his career and where Hesdy Gerges became an established name in the world of kickboxing.
The last 3 fights of Cavalari where very impressive. In the first fight with Zack Mwekassa, it was kind off like the kickboxer against the boxer. Mwekassa didn’t had as much kickboxing experience as he has now, so that one ended with a textbook high kick KO for Cavalari. In the second fight, he destroyed Artem Vakhitov from Russia, with some hard leg kicks. Cavalari’s tactic basically was: “I’m just going to make sure, my opponent can’t use his legs to walk, or to kick throughout this whole fight”. This worked pretty good for him, because you could see, Artem was changing from orthodox to southpaw pretty quick. Last fight of Cavalari, wasn’t spectacular. I’ve to give credits to Mwekassa, for improving that much in such a small amount of time. He gave Cavalari, a hard 5 round fight. In the end, the Brazilian took the decision win and the title, for the first time in his career.
Rating of Cavalari’s last 3 fights (from 0 to 10):
- September 2015: Saulo Cavalari vs. Zack Mwekassa (7)
- April 2015: Saulo Cavalari vs. Artem Vakhitov (8)
- November 2014: Saulo Cavalari vs. Zack Mwekassa (8)
Gokhan Saki vs. Saulo Cavalari
In my opinion Saulo Cavalari has the best chance to win this one, because he’s been in the best shape of his life + he’s fighting pretty consistent throughout the past two years. Gokhan Saki took more time for other things in life lately and didn’t seemed to be in a very good shape, against Ciobanu. Let’s hope for an entertaining fight and a win by KO, in round 2, 3 or 4. May the best man win!
Prediction 1: Gokhan Saki by KO in round 2.
Prediction 2: Saulo Cavalari by KO in round 4.