Category Archives: Kickboxing
Xtreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale is filled with enough games and activities to keep you busy for days. Their latest addition will put a sweaty smile on the faces of every gym rat in So-Flo. Deco’s Chris Van Vliet has all the deets on the new workout destination.
We’ve been to Xtreme Action Park a few times over the last year or so. Actually, the last time I was there, I was reporting live 20 feet above the ground on their ropes course. Now, they’ve got something that lets you train like a pro athlete — while training with pro athletes.
Xtreme Action Park is the largest indoor entertainment venue in Florida.
You name it, and this Fort Lauderdale fun factory has it — go-karts, roller skating, tons of games, and now they’ve added a mind-blowing new space called “Hard Knocks 365.”
Tony Villani: “Hard Knocks 365 is like a coming together of a lot of sports training and fitness and sports disciplines under one roof.”
If you’re a professional or amateur athlete looking for a place to get a complete workout, your search has ended.
And it’s a favorite for top MMA fighters who duke it out in the octagon.
Tony Villani: “Yeah, so we have some top UFC fighters from all over the country that choose this location to train at.”
It’s a star studded list of MMA fighters coming in to Hard Knocks 365 for wrestling practice and Linton “The Swarm” Vassell is all smiles as he bullies his training partners.
The UFC have just announced all of their events for the first quarter of 2018, and it almost goes without saying that the Hooft army is gearing up for war.
Chronologically, Nik Lentz is up first in what is a reschedule bout. He was due to take on former Bellator Lightweight Champion Will Brooks at UFC 216, but right before weigh-ins, he succumbed to diabetes-like symptoms and the bout was scrapped altogether. Now, the bout will feature in the prelims of UFC Fight Night 121: Werdum versus Tybura on November 19th all the way in Australia.
Next up is Danny Roberts. “Hot Chocolate” will be looking to improve upon his impressive 14-2 record against Sheldon Wescott at UFC on Fox: Lawler versus Dos Anjos on December 16th in Winnipeg. He last KO’d Bobby Nash at UFC Fight Night Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio in Glasgow, and after he crosses Wescott off his list, he’ll be one step closer to the title. Although he will have to wait in line as Dana White has stated that the winner between Lawler and Dos Anjos will get a shot at Tyrone Woodley’s belt.
Which allows me to segue to my next fighter, and that is none other than the ruthless Robbie Lawler. The former champ is taking on former Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos at the previously mentioned event which he’s headlining (obviously). RDA is coming off a win versus Neil Magny at UFC 215, and Lawler off a win versus Cowboy. As aforementioned, the winner of this bout will have the welterweight belt in their crosshairs.
On the turn of the year, Volkan Oezdemir was expected to face Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 219 on December 30th in Vegas, but it seems now that the main event could mark Conor Mcgregor’s long-awaited return to the octagon. Versus who, is the question. Instead it is all but confirmed now that Oezdemir will get his hands on Cormier’s belt at UFC 220 in Boston on January 20th, in what will culminate in the fastest rise to the title in the UFC, ever.
UFC Fight Night 124 will be held in St. Louis on January 14th. And surprise surprise, Michael Johnson has been officially announced on the card. The Menace, who is a St. Louis native, will relish this fight, as it will be his first competing as a featherweight, and also due to the fact that he’s been thrown a bone by the UFC in a top 10 opponent in Darren Elkins. After losing out to Justin Gaethje in July, this is nothing short of a golden opportunity to return to winning ways.
And finally, born-in-Florida Ben Saunders, could potentially feature at UFC on Fox 28 at the Amway Center in Orlando, as he’s already proclaimed his desire on his social media platforms.
There’s nothing like fighting on home turf. When you’re from a country that is considered the mecca of kickboxing, trained by someone who is from the mecca of kickboxing, and fighting in your country that is considered the mecca of kickboxing…well…there’s little that can go wrong. Robin van Roosmalen has just defended his Glory Featherweight title in an intense fight against Serhiy Adamchuk via unanimous decision in Amsterdam. You would think a headline of that nature was written in the stars, but it was all Robin “Poker Face” van Roosmalen’s own doing that earned him this clear-cut victory. Adamchuk tried to work the outside but RVR’s constant forward pressure was simply too much to contend with for the Ukrainian. But perhaps this title defense was written a little in the starts, seeing as van Roosmalen won the bout on the stroke of his birthday, October 1st. The now-28-year-old boasts an impressive record of 51-6-3 and shows no signs of stopping or slowing down. Although he trains primarily in Holland, when he is stateside, he can be found training with Henri Hooft at HK 365.
Yes, Hooft is making HK 365 seem like a perpetual talent factory more and more, and he is no doubt about to shoot further into stardom given that Daniel Cormier and Volkan Oezdemir have made it impeccably clear that we want to face one another. Beyond that, Hooft is sending 3 more of his troops into battle. Daniel Strauss will be facing Emmanuel Sanchez at Bellator 184 at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma next week on October 6th, Nik Lentz will be taking on Will Brooks at UFC 216 at the T-Mobile Arena the day after on October 7th, and finally Linton Vassell will be headlining Bellator 186 on November 3rd at the Bryce Jordan Center in Pennsylvania in a shot to take the title from former UFC light heavyweight Ryan Bader. It is no doubt going to be a very busy month for Henri and is men, and he hopes to bring home a title before the year closes out.
Pow. Game, set, match. Wow.
I don’t think Henri Hooft could have had a better night at UFC Fight Night 115. All 3 of his fighters, Gilbert Burns, Kamaru Usman, and Luke Rockhold, ended their fights with knockouts. Ok, Rockhold’s wasn’t a knockout, but he made David Branch tap after a vicious ground-n’-pound that left no shadow of a doubt concerning his abilities despite his brief hiatus due to injury. In the process, he snapped Branch’s 11-fight win streak, and in a post-fight interview, called out GSP for having no place in the middleweight division, or even the UFC. Durinho, on the stroke of the 3rd round, with only 5 seconds to go in the 2nd round, put Jason Saggo to sleep with a vicious right overhand. It connected so sweetly, that the Brazilian didn’t even follow-up with some hammer-fists. We all know Gilbert is a notorious BJJ practitioner, but he made a huge statement on Saturday, proving that he’s got more than just ground-game in his locker. After that strike, Durinho is a definite force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division. Kamaru’s knockout, was also unforgiving. He packed so much power into his punch, that somehow, some way, Sergio Moraes rolled forward upon hitting the ground. “I’m a problem” – The Nigerian Nightmare’s words echoed throughout the MMA community as it made headlines and sent chills down the spines of the rest of the welterweight contenders.
In more recent news (as I am typing this, actually), Daniel Cormier has welcomed the idea of taking on Volkan Oezdemir, whom trains under Henri Hooft as well. DC tweeted “we can make this happen”, while also entertaining the idea of taking on Alexander Gustaffson. Volkan, who incidentally also called out Gustaffson shortly after his win versus Manuwa, took to social media to respond right away. One to never shy away from a challenge, Volkan immediately responded “for sure, let’s do it” via both his Instagram and twitter. With the top 3 Light Heavyweights embroiled in a three-way “call-out feud”, it’s practically written in the stars at this point that Volkan will get his title shot sooner rather than later. And with his 1-round knockout track record, it could be lights out for Gustafsson and DC sooner than they’d expect.
After a turbulent week brought on by the biggest fighting spectacle of all time, the “Money Fight”, we are back with our regularly scheduled programing. Mayweather and McGregor may have been a fight full of bravado, but it is to be eclipsed tomorrow by a fight full of blood. Stefan Struve, a Hard Knocks 365 regular, will be facing Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division. This bout is especially “monumental” as it will be the fight with the highest combined height of all time, at 13’6, with Volkov standing at 6’7, and Struve at 7 feet. It is very much poised to be a clash of the titans, and with the venue being in Rotterdam, Holland (the country with the tallest people on earth on average), the title is befitting to say the least. In an interview, Struve stated he hopes fight will get him back on track to challenge for the title, and even hinted that Stipe Miocic, the current heavyweight champion, owes him a rematch as champion, since Struve got the better of him back in 2012. Volkov himself attested to the epic proportions of the upcoming bout, stating taking on Struve will be no easy task, as he is by the far the tallest fighter he’s ever faced, and that he’s usually the one used to dwarfing his opponent.
Desmond Green, another Hard Knocks 365 regular, is set to face another Russian in Rustam Khabilov under the prelims. With the fight card being mostly a contingent of Russian nationals, and the event taking place in Holland, Struve’s country of origin, UFC Fight Night 115 is sure to be one for the books.
Stateside, our neighbors, Xtreme Action Park, will be hosting their first professional fight event. Over 800 confirmed attendees will fill Xtreme Action Park’s “Arena”, all thanks to the diligent work of promoters “Fight Time Promotions” under the alliance MMA wing. Yet another one of Henri Hooft’s prodigies at Hard Knocks 365, Gerald Rosa, will be looking to cement his first professional win.
In more charitable news, we’ve begun to collect donations of any kind for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. If you’re in the Fort Lauderdale area, don’t hesitate in dropping off canned food, clothes, supplies, etc. for the relief effort being conducted in Texas.
Tomorrow, we will witness perhaps the most viewed, hyped up, bout in the history of combat sports. As you all know by now (unless you’ve been living under a rock), Floyd Mayweather will come out of retirement to face Conor McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The two biggest egos will clash in the ring (not the octagon), to put on the single-most lucrative event of all time. The figures, are ridiculous. The projected purse is a whopping $300 million; PPV sales alone will be in the $700 million range. The split has been reported to be 70-30, but with McGregor looking to increase his net worth tenfold, he would even be happy with a 90-10 split.
Much like the title of the fight suggests, this bout is mainly about money. Not even pride, is really on the line. Should McGregor lose, he and his fan base will take the “well he wasn’t a boxer route”. Should somehow Mayweather lose, he will blame his age and the fact that he had to come out of retirement for the bout. And with a huge tax bill on his chest and with allegedly little liquidity, one would think Mayweather needs this fight, almost more than McGregor does. But alas, it is just a money fight. Mayweather vacated all of his titles after hanging up his gloves in 2015, however, the WBC has commissioned a “Money Belt”, a crocodile-skinned, 4000 diamond-encrusted belt, which is believed to be valued in the millions. Ultimately, it is a circus show, a display of bravado and power by the rich, famous, and talented. For all intents and purposes, it is a mere money fight, not a real fight.
The real fights, took place over the weekend. Henri Hooft’s professional up-and-coming fighters were out in full force. Steven Mowry KO’d Dustin Clements at Titan FC 45, while Demarques Jackson submitted Luciano Dos Santos 20 minutes afterwards via triangle. All the way in Sioux Falls, Tyler Ray, unfortunately, was submitted by J.P. Saint Louis, but later commented that his resolve was now stronger than ever to get back on track to land a contract with either the UFC or Bellator.