Fighter of the Month October 2013 – Rico Verhoeven
By Christopher Jester
Fighter of the Month: Rico Verhoeven
Event: GLORY 11 Chicago – Heavyweight World Championship Tournament (October 12, 2013)
Opponent(s): Gokhan Saki, Daniel Ghita
Results: Semi Finals vs. Saki – Majority Decision (29-27, 29-28, and 28-28), Finals vs. Ghita – Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, and 29-28)
Sometimes you witness a star being born over a number of fights. Perhaps, it is one stellar performance and you just know this guy is going to be a star. But very few fighters get an opportunity like Rico Verhoeven. Not only was he a complete underdog coming into GLORY’s World Heavyweight Tournament, but he was also placed seemingly in the unfortunate portion of the bracket to take on two of the best kickboxers in the world. And boy, did he impress. Better yet, he shocked the world!
It was no easy road getting to the finals, as Gokhan Saki and Verhoeven put on a tough fight. The bout was highly contested throughout, and it did not end as convincingly as Verhoeven probably had hoped. An apparent slip in the first round counted as a knockdown, and it surely placed more favor towards Verhoeven on the score cards and it left Saki looking for answers.
But it did not matter, as Verhoeven put on another great bout in the finals against Daniel Ghita. Throughout the match-up, Verhoeven pushed the pace. Often staying busy with strikes to keep Ghita from launching a successful offensive, the three rounds in the main event were close, but the fight was rewarded to Verhoeven.
There are very few fairy tale endings, especially in such a dangerous sport but this is just the beginning for this young warrior. The 24-year-old Dutch kickboxer did the unthinkable on that memorable Saturday night by defeating two of the consensus top kickboxers in the world. What makes it even better? He did so all in one night. Now the GLORY Heavyweight Champion, Rico Verhoeven will surely have a lot to live up to after his stunning performance on October 12th.
For that amazing performance, PunchDrunkGamer.com would like to award Rico Verhoeven with our Fighter of the Month for October. Congratulations for defying all odds, Rico!
1. Cain Velasquez (UFC 166 – October 19, 2013) –The trilogy came to an end on that Saturday night with Velasquez going up on Junior Dos Santos 2-1. All Velasquez had to do was rinse and repeat from their second bout, as Velasquez pressured the challenger against the cage and peppered JDS with punches while threatening the takedown. Although Dos Santos technically knocked himself out after a failed guillotine, Velasquez finished the bout in the fifth round after demolishing JDS throughout the bout. Velasquez retained his title and finished the trilogy on top.
2. Tyrone Spong (Glory 11: Chicago – October 12, 2013) – Albeit his first fight ended controversially against Nathan Corbett, it was not so in the rematch. Spong wasted little time implementing his strength and speed advantage. Making it to the second round, Corbett found very little success there as Spong scored two knockdowns before the referee called off the bout. Spong definitely lived up to his moniker as the “King of the Ring”.
3. Tiger Sarnavskiy (Bellator 105 – October 25, 2013) – Alexander Sarnavskiy is one dangerous fella. It took no time for Sarnavskiy to take this fight where he wanted it. With powerful striking and a top-notch ground game, Tiger landed a perfect spinning backfist to get this where he wanted it, on the canvas. Tiger finished the bout in a little over a minute via triangle choke. With that victory he set himself up to face Will Brooks in Bellator’s Lightweight tournament finals.
4. Hector Lombard (UFC 166 – October 19, 2013) – The Hector Lombard of old showed up on that night as he starched Nate Marquadt in the first round. “Lightning” hit quick as he smashed Marquadt with an uppercut. With thunderous hammerfists falling down onto Marquadt’s face, Lombard left his opponent out cold within minutes. For that stunning KO victory, Lombard deserves his spot on this list!
5. Rousimar Palhares (UFC Fight Night 29 – October 9, 2013) – It Is tough to put Palhares on this list; primarily because of how it ended. Not letting go of a dangerous submission can end careers. For that he was cut from the UFC. But that does not mean it was not impressive. Palhares went for the heel hook against Mike Pierce within seconds. Although Pierce fought out of the initial one, the second one was punishing and forced Pierce to tap again and again.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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