GLORY is back in Holland this weekend for GLORY 41 HOLLAND and GLORY SUPERFIGHT SERIES 41, two cards in one night, as always.
Headlining the Superfight Series card are two big fights: Rico Verhoeven vs Ismael Lazaar in a heavyweight superfight of champions and Robin van Roosmalen against Petchpanomrung for the vacant featherweight championship.
I've discussed those fights separately. Here I want to take a look at the other fights from the Superfight Series card, which airs live worldwide on UFC FIGHT PASS and is also carried by numerous international television partners.
Murthel Groenhart is a top level fighters, a real contender, strong and well-rounded with plenty of power and a proven pedigree. He wanted a title shot in this fight after losing so closely in his last title challenge and then smashing Thongchai in Chicago earlier this year, but unfortunately we had to disappoint him.
He was to face Harut Grigorian on this card but Harut suffered a broken toe and had to pull out. I saw that Murthel made some comments about that but actually it wasn't Harut who wanted to pull out, it was his trainer. He told him that Murthel is not an easy opponent and not somebody you want to face at less than 100%. Harut was still trying to take the fight and still trying to train; I heard he turned up at the gym a few days after the injury and they actually locked the door on him and shouted at him to go home!
It wasn't so easy finding someone who wanted to step up and face Murthel on short notice but Alan Scheinson was ready and said he wanted the challenge. He's had three weeks to prepare so not the shortest, but still not as much as Murthel. He has fought at a high level, not so high as the level Murthel has been competing at, but he's looking to try and get the job done and make a big jump in the rankings. Personally I think it's going to be hard for him to achieve that, but we will see.
In the light-heavyweight division we have an interesting clash between Michael Duut and Mourad Bouzidi, two experienced guys and kind of a derby element here as they are both from the Netherlands.
Duut is coming off the Fight of the Year 2017 with Danyo Ilunga in his last GLORY outing. Since he switched to training with Melvin Manhoef I think we are seeing some really good explosive fighting style from him and this fight could be another example.
Bouzidi's last fight was when he faced Zack Mwekassa for the interim light-heavyweight championship at GLORY 31 AMSTERDAM last year. Mwekassa stopped him and ended his four-fight win streak at that point but he hasn't broken his spirit.
Lightweight prospect Tyjani Beztati fought at GLORY 39 BRUSSELS and his opponent Youseff Assouik fought at GLORY 40 COPENHAGEN so it's a quick turnaround for both these fighters but they are both young and fit, coming off comfortable wins, so it's easy for them.
Beztati is a bright new talent fighting out of Team Coliseum, where he trains with guys like the Wilnis brothers. Assouik was fighting for a GLORY contract in Copenhagen and he stepped up foor it, he totally eliminated the opponent's game and now we give him the chance to perform against a ranked fighter in the Netherlands.
We've told the winner of this fight he will face Niclas Larsen in the semi-finals of the GLORY 42 PARIS Lightweight Contender Tournament next month, so let's see which one of them earns the slot. Expect a hard-fought battle.
Opening the card is a featherweight fight between Zakaria Zouggary and Yetkin Ozkul. This is a clash between young newcomer and older veteran. Zougarry is the up and comer, he's 22 and he has showcased a powerful knockout style while fighting in China so we are happy to sign him. He was about to sign a long-term contract over there but he was convinced to sign with us instead.
Ozkul is of Turkish extraction but based in France. We are gearing up to do more shows over there and even though he is a bit older we can see him taking a run in GLORY, so we will see him again after this fight for sure.
Zuggary has already talked about how he wants to fight Van Roosmalen but that's some fights away yet. He will have to get some wins under his belt, starting with this fight, before he gets the championship level fights.
GLORY 41 SUPERFIGHT SERIES starts at 9.30pm Netherlands time, 3.30pm New York time, 7.30pm UK time and airs live worldwide on UFC Fight Pass.