A battle of epic proportions

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There is something in the air…. it feels a bit like the days when the K-1 World Grand Prix was the Formula 1 of Kickboxing, and you had butterflies in your stomach days before the events of Final 8. All roads lead to the Dome…. remember?!

Fans are eagerly awaiting the match between Alistair “The Demolition Man” Overeem, or “Reem” as he is also nicknamed, and Badr “Bad Boy” Hari on Saturday at Glory Kickboxing’s Collision 4 event. And there are reasons for that. Several.

It’s a global super fight – a fight with global attention. It’s a clash of dynasties – a battle that begs for clichés. Two of the greatest, quite literally, heavyweights in kickboxing go head-to-head…..for the third time. in 14 years!

Badr Hari is a purebred Kickboxer while Alistair Overeem has been all over the place.
Overeem started out as a Kickboxer but quickly turned into an MMA fighter. It was at a time when MMA in Holland was called Free Fighting. Overeem continued to fight under MMA rules for DREAM, Strikeforce, PRIDE FC, UFC, RINGS and M-1. But from 2001 to 2010, he flirted with Kickboxing under the K-1 banner, while actively and regularly fighting in MMA as well. You could almost say Kickboxing was his hobby. That is, professional heavyweight kickboxing. And professional heavyweight MMA was his profession.

Fast forward, almost 12 years and Overeem is fighting under Kickboxing rules again. In his country of origin. Against a guy who’s been fighting the best heavyweight kickboxers on the planet for 20 years.

It’s a fight of truly epic proportions: the warriors have almost developed a relationship. A relationship that at first seemed off to a bad start… based on hatred…. or hardcore competitiveness. But over the years, the two guys have matured and developed respect and love for each other. Like two brothers.
It was clear when the two guys zoomed in (pun intended) on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour the other day: Both guys spoke with calmness and a clear, professional respect for each other. The word love was even thrown around several times. Helwani was bewildered. Me too. And maybe everyone kickboxing worldwide. Most people expected a more heated exchange of words.

But these guys never manage to amaze: real warriors, calm, collected, humble, respectful and behaving like a real fighter.

MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani

But there is competitiveness. Make no mistake about it. A lot is at stake: both fighters want to be remembered as the greatest, the GOAT, from Holland.
Overeem is by far the best mixed martial arts fighter to come out of the land of wooden crocs, but he’s also among Holland’s best Kickboxers. No doubt about it. And with his departure from the UFC and his desire to fight still intact, he tastes blood – seeing a new opportunity. An opportunity to extend his career, and to continue doing what he loves. And is extremely good at. I think we all understand that and appreciate that.

Brothers in arms
Overeem and Hari as friends
Picture from YouTube.

On the other hand, we have Hari. A world class fighter who seemed emotionally unstable for several years. This is in no way intended to denigrate or hate the elite fighter. But when you look at the incidents, accidents and controversy surrounding many of his recent fights, one can’t help but think that it looks like Hari wants to get out of the ring as soon as possible.

So Hari will be looking to solidify his place among the greats – maybe even leave on a good note?

Even the legendary founder of Chakuriki is involved

We featured Hari earlier on FIGHT SPORTS and will post the results as they happen Saturday night. And as I write this, Overeem has just contacted me and said that “things are choppy” and that he will be doing an interview with us after his mega fight with Hari.

Now bring the event that could have been called “All roads lead to the GelreDome.

Collision 4: Hari vs. Overeem III – Fight Week Trailer

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