Rico Verhoeven to Defend Heavyweight Championship Against Mladen Brestovac at GLORY 54 Birmingham
GLORY, the world’s premier stand-up combat league, today announced that the headline bout of GLORY 54 Birmingham has been elevated to a world title fight.
Originally slated as a three-round superfight, GLORY heavyweight champion Rico “The King of Kickboxing” Verhoeven (53-10, 16 KO, fighting out of the Netherlands) will now defend his title against No. 7-ranked heavyweight Mladen “The Scorpion Sting” Brestovac (56-12-1, 35 KO, fighting out of Croatia) in a five-round championship bout at Genting Arena on Saturday, June 2.
“With this being our long-awaited return to the UK, we wanted to do something special for the fans in Birmingham,” said Marshall Zelaznik, CEO, GLORY. “We’ll have back-to-back title fights capping off what’s sure to be an unforgettable night.”
Zelaznik added: “When we approached the fighters about increasing the stakes and potentially going two more rounds, there wasn’t a moment of hesitation from either side. Rico and Mladen are both ready to leave it all out there for GLORY gold and personally, I’m excited to see it.”
A win by Verhoeven would mark his seventh title defense since capturing the belt in 2014.
Because GLORY 54 Birmingham now includes two five-round match-ups, the fight card has been reduced to four total bouts. The bout between undefeated lightweight “Super” Elvis Gashi (20-0, 10 KO, fighting out of the United States) and Blackpool’s William Goldie-Galloway (fighting out of England) has been moved to GLORY 54 SuperFight Series, a now seven-fight card taking place earlier in the evening.
Russian Muay Thai champion Aleksei Ulianov (22-4-1, 7 KO, fighting out of Russia) has been added to GLORY 54 Birmingham, stepping in for Anvar Boynazarov, who is unable to compete. Ulianov will face 20-year-old Bailey “Bad Boy” Sugden (11-2, 2 KO, fighting out of England), a local favorite hailing from Newark.
The complete fight cards for both GLORY 54 Birmingham and GLORY 54 SuperFight Series can be found below:
GLORY 54 Birmingham
Heavyweight Headline Bout: Rico Verhoeven vs. Mladen Brestovac
Welterweight Title Co-Headline Bout: Harut Grigorian vs. Alim Nabiyev
Featherweight Bout: Bailey Sugden vs. Aleksei Ulianov
Featherweight Bout: Adrian Maxim vs. Chenglong Zhang
GLORY 54 SuperFight Series
Light Heavyweight Headline Bout: Danyo Ilunga vs. Fraser Weightman
Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Christian Baya vs. Josh Jauncey
Welterweight Bout: Richard Abraham vs. Adam Hadfield
Lightweight Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Liu Xu
Lightweight Bout: Elvis Gashi vs. William Goldie-Galloway
Welterweight Tournament Semifinal Bout 2: Mark Timms vs. Dawid Blaszke
Welterweight Tournament Semifinal Bout 1: Jamie Bates vs. Tommie King