Ladies and Gentleman, mark your calendars for Saturday, June 16th, that is when Gladius is scheduled to host its inaugural MMA event, in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. In a time where there was virtually no proving ground for new MMA fighters in Central Europe, Gladius now stands tall as the premier MMA organization for young talent. Gladius is invoking the true spirit of the gladiator by absolutely stacking this card with some of the best young warriors the Tycoon world has to offer. The anticipation is palpable as we are only days away from what is poised to be a debut event for the ages. We have a fantastic card from top-to-bottom, that will show us a diverse group of fighters, who are hungry and ready to prove themselves in the prestigious Gladius organization.
We can expect action right from the first bell, as Gladius did everyone a favour by stacking the preliminary card, and the main card. Sounds like a smart business move to me, folks, I am excited for every fight on this card and here are my predictions for each preliminary fight.
155 Lbs - Randy RoboTessin VS "Red Ribbon Armys" Android Twelve
Two fighters making their debuts here, both are excellent grapplers. Twelve has the superior belt rank in jiu-jitsu, but Robotessin is the more decorated wrestler. This one will be interesting, and I believe that when used effectively, superior wrestling can generally pull of the win, and that we will see that here. Although, when your jiu-jitsu is as good as Android Twelve's, anything can happen.
Prediction: Randy RoboTessin via 3rd round TKO
170 Lbs - Theta Knox VS Noah Prince
In what is sure to be every grappling fan's dream, we have two elite BJJ competitors facing off against eachother to prove who is more competent on the ground. Noah Prince has the better striking pedigree, but I believe Theta Knox will persevere with the takedowns, eventually get the submission against his fellow elite grappler, and start his MMA and Gladius career off with a bang.
Prediction: Theta Knox via 2nd round submission
185 Lbs - Richard "Ice Man" Kuklinski VS Diego "Rocco" Santos
Here we have a match that is incredibly hard to predict, and one that I will be watching closely. The grappling phenom known as "Ice Man" will look to drag his adversary to the mat, smother him, and work his way towards a submission victory. His opponent, whom his training partners refer to as "Rocco" will try to prevent that. High-level boxing is what Diego Santos brings to the table this Saturday night, he will look to strike early, and hard, if he hopes to come out of this one as the victor.
Prediction: Richard "Ice Man" Kuklinski via 1st round submission
155 Lbs - Michael "Tank" Owings VS Salvador "El Patron" Herrera
To close out the preliminary fights we have an exciting match up between two well-rounded fighters in the lightweight division. Although he is contracted at 155 Lbs, Hererra actually weighs dramatically less than the actual average 155 Lbs competitor. This will make Michael Owings the favourite to win this bout, if he is able to use his size, and superior striking effectively, he should be able to get the victory over Herrera, who may have a slight edge on the ground.
Prediction: Michael "Tank" Owings via unanimous decision
Chandler "The Chan Man" Bing VS Michael "Iron" Malloy
We kick off the main card with a fight in the Light Heavyweight division that is sure to impress. We have Chandler "The Chan Man" Bing VS Michael "Iron" Malloy. There are two certainties in this fight: 1. This is going to be a barn burner. 2. One of these fighters is going to receive their first loss. Here we have your classic "grappler VS striker" match-up, we can guarantee "The Chan Man" wants to get this fight to the ground, and we will see if "Iron" is strong enough to stop him.
My prediction: I predict Michael "Iron" Malloy starts his career off with a win, he is the superior wrestler, and should be able to dictate where the fight takes place. I don't know if "The Chan Man" currently has grappling pedigree to get this fight to the mat, he was seen training recently while absolutely exhausted, and despite a good showing in his first fight, he is definitely having trouble at camp, and will suffer as a result. Mike Malloy knocks him out. Early.
Final prediction: Michael "Iron" Malloy via Round 1 KO
Huncho Jack VS Rado "Drb" Boy
Next up we have a clash between two undefeated fighters in the Welterweight division. Both Huncho Jack, and Rado "Drb" Boy, are virtual mirror images of each other, in that they are both identical in height and weight, and both are giants for their division. This can only mean we are in for a chess match, that is sure to be exciting. Rado Boy is almost a pure grappler, and jiu-jitsu specialist, while Huncho Jack is the epitome of a well-rounded fighter, making this one a bit of a toss-up. We can expect Rado Boy to try desperately to bring Huncho Jack down to his level, where he has the definitive advantage. However, Huncho Jack is no slouch on the ground, and he has a great boxing base to fall back on.
My prediction: This is a hard one, while I can see either fighter winning, I would put my money on Huncho Jack. Jack brings a more well-rounded approach to the game, he should look to head hunt against the inferior striker, Rado boy, he has a distinct advantage in the stand-up aspect of the fight game, and luckily for him, that's where the fight begins every round.
Final prediction: Huncho Jack via 3nd round TKO
Sebastian Bertrand VS Dean Hero
Now we take it up a few notches to everyone's favourite division: The heavyweights. The big men in this matchup are Dean Hero, who will be making his MMA debut, and Sebastian Bertrand, the undefeated knockout artist. While Sebastian Bertrand is already 2-0 in his MMA career, he has only been in the octagon for a total of 55 seconds. That is all it took to dispatch of his two previous foes, who were no match for the deadly power Sebastian Bertrand possesses in his hands. Dean Hero has his work cut out for him in this one, he is also a striker, and will be the bigger man when they step in the cage. If Dean Hero is able to weather the early storm, and bring Bertrand into deep waters, he may be able to grind out a victory. Whatever the case, he must not get into a gunfight with the incredibly dangerous Sebastian Bertrand.
My prediction: There is a lot of hype around Sebastian Bertrand for a reason. He knocks guys dead. So I will be predicting him to be victorious this evening, with a highlight-reel knockout. But these are heavyweights, folks, dangerous ones at that, Dean Hero definitely has the skills to change the outcome of the fight, whatever you do, don't look away. Don't even blink.
Final prediction: Sebastian Bertrand via 1st round KO
Cheikh Kassim VS Slade "The Slayer" Walker
Our next bout features two up-and-coming welterweights, Cheikh Kassim and Slade "The Slayer" Walker. Both men are a similar size, but the records they possess are entirely dissimilar. Kassim had a much more fortunate beginning to his MMA career, as he now boasts a flawless 1-0 record, with one brutal first-round KO win against "The Merchant" Rod Marchand. Walker is the younger man, who blundered a bit upon entering the world of MMA, as he was taken down early, and finished via strikes in the first round. This fight could mean a redemption for one fighter, or simply a feather in the cap of the other. Regardless, both fighters are hungry and we can expect fireworks in this one.
My prediction: This one has the potential to get the fight of the night bonus, I expect back and forth action between two fantastic stand-up fighters, culminating in a finish for the more fortunate athlete. It's unlikely that it goes the distance here, there is too much on the line, both fighters will look to strike fast, and early. Cheikh Kassim started his career on the right path, and he will continue that momentum with a clean knockout win this evening.
Final prediction: Cheikh Kassim via 2nd round KO
Mohammed "The Dancer" Ali VS Marcus "Mata Leon" Lima
The co-main event of the evening consists of a much anticipated middleweight fight between Mohammed "The Dancer" Ali and Marcus "Mata Leon" Lima. Both of these middleweight competitors have yet to taste defeat in their MMA careers - and they'd both like to keep it that way. In what is sure to be a high octane fight, Mohammed Ali, who is the taller man, with a sizable advantage in the stand-up portion of the fight, will want to push the pace, and use his more well-rounded game to secure the victory. Ali is a monster on the ground and has two early wins on his resume, and has showed he isn't scared to knock you out, or submit you. Marcus Lima would love to prove that he is the superior grappler in this fight, he has only been in the cage for less than a minute, but that's all it took to outclass his first opponent, with an early kimura from half-guard. Neither of these fighters are strangers to ground fighting, so we should expect to see some jiu-jitsu on display tonight, "Mata Leon" has the higher belt rank, but that doesn't necessarily give him the victory. Will Marcus Lima continue his submission streak, or will Mohammed Ali dance his way to his third straight win?
My prediction: Both fighters will come out fast and strong, I believe Marcus Lima has what it takes to bring this fight to the ground early, where he should have the advantage. I do believe in Mohammed Ali, he has shown in the past that he too, is a competent submission artist, but I believe he will be outmatched, and will fall victim to a hard-fought submission, later in the first round.
Final prediction: Marcus "Mata Leon" Lima via 1st round submission
Dre "Bling Bling" Bly VS Cheikh Nissim
If you're not a fan of ground fighting, don't worry, neither of these fighters are either. Ladies and Gentleman, we have Dre "Bling Bling" Bly and Cheikh Nassim facing off against each other for heavyweight glory. We can expect a brawl as these gargantuan men try to finish each other. DO NOT LOOK AWAY, I REPEAT, DO NOT LOOK AWAY! These competitors are both mirror images of each other physically, so it will be skill, grit, and heart that decides this one. "Bling Bling", a well-rounded striker, will likely look to wear-down his heavy-handed adversary. Expect leg kicks, and lots of 'em. He might throw in a few jabs as well, just because he can. What he doesn't want to do is engage and swing in the pocket. Nassim knows that if he does lure "Bling Bling" into a brawling match, it will be a battle he will win all day, as Nassim is the owner of two atomic bombs, that he calls "hands". But Nassim has demonstrated that he is not just a knockout artist, as he persevered in his MMA debut, to win a difficult decision.
My prediction: Cheikh Nassim will solve the puzzle that is his opponent, and end up achieving the clinch, and connecting with a punch that ultimately shuts Dre "Bling Bling" Bly's lights off. Dre will not go down easily, and may win a portion of the stand-up battle, but Nassim will persevere, as he did in his MMA debut, and continue his winning streak.
Final prediction: Cheikh Nassim via 3rd round KO
Catch the historic Gladius 1 card live at The Underground, in Amsterdam, this Saturday evening.