Perhaps the most hyped debut in the four-year history of GLORY kickboxing takes place May 13 as Tiffany van Soest opens up the UFC FIGHT PASS live stream of the GLORY SuperFight Series 30 event from Los Angeles.
Much like with Gina Carano in Strikeforce and, later, Ronda Rousey in the UFC, Van Soest has been the final catalyst for GLORY to launch a female division and, later this year, a female 125lbs world title. The Californian striker is a multiple-time world champion in Muay Thai boxing but will now tweak her style in search of more plunder.
“I want to push myself while I am in my prime. I feel I accomplished all I could in Muay Thai and I want to win other titles in different sports,” Van Soest, 27, said. “I don’t want to look back and think ‘What if I did try to do this?’ – I am the type of person that goes after goals once I set them.”
GLORY clearly believes they have something in the former Thai boxing superstar – and Van Soest clearly believes in herself, otherwise she would never have signed to fight in Invicta FC MMA at the same time she targets success inside the GLORY ring.
It is possible, though, that van Soest is underestimating the subtle differences between Thai and GLORY rules. There is no clinching or elbow strikes allowed in kickboxing – which removes two of the weapons the Time Bomb used to great effect in her previous fights.
“I do like to use my elbows in Muay Thai, but I think the differences between Muay Thai and GLORY kickboxing are minor,” she said. “I really feel my style is better suited to kickboxing.”
It may have to be.
GLORY - like the UFC – isn’t known for handing out tune-up fights for newly-signed hot prospects. Van Soest has been matched aggressively and, having already committed to fighting in Invicta FC in MMA this summer, there’s a lot of pressure on her to win this fight in a manner which justifies the hype.
GLORY SuperFight Series 30 is live on FIGHT PASS this Friday, May 13, at 10 PM ET
TEEN QUEEN IS ONLY ONE WHO WOULD STEP UP
Van Soest’s opponent on Friday will be the 18-year-old Esma “Fight Queen” Hasshass, who brings a 9-2 (3 KOs) pro record to her debut for GLORY.
GLORY admitted they had “a nightmare” finding anyone willing to face Time Bomb but – a week ago – the Moroccan-born Hasshass agreed to step up.
But despite her young age, Hasshass isn’t some sacrificial lamb.
She is highly touted as a future world-beater herself, and trains at the famous Hemmers Gym in the Netherlands where so many GLORY and K-1 icons have learned their trade.
Hasshass has been in the US for over a week already and, after over a year training with the likes of Errol Zimmerman, Filip Verlinden and Marat Grigorian, is far more familiar with the GLORY style of fighting than her heavily-hyped opponent will be come the first bell.
Hasshass is said to be a very aggressive starter who looks to overwhelm opponents early.
Ultimately, though, the teenager is in a win/win situation. If she loses to a vastly more experienced opponent on short notice? No biggie – Hasshass is 18, will learn from the experience, and come again.
But what happens after the teenager pulls off the win is much more difficult to predict.
UNBEATEN AUSSIE PROSPECT GETS FIRST REAL TEST AT BRACE 40
There is even more action this weekend on FIGHT PASS.
Undefeated Australian hot-shot Michael Tobin up in class in the main event of BRACE 40 this weekend (Saturday in Australia, Friday in most of the rest of the world). The 23-year-old bantamweight is 10-0 in MMA but at BRACE 40 takes on a former BRACE featherweight champion in Edwin Arana.
Arana, 8-10 in MMA, is looking for a big win at bantamweight to catapult himself towards a shot at another BRACE MMA belt.
But Tobin is fighting in his home state of Gold Coast and, with a lot of MMA insiders beginning to take notice of his rapid-fire submission wins, is going to be highly motivated to overcome this first real test of his talents.
“This is the kid’s first real test,” said a BRACE spokesman. “This is the classic grappler vs striker match. Can Tobin take Arana to the ground and sink in one of his chokes? Or will Arana land one of his bombs and running the unbeaten record?”
Find out, live on FIGHT PASS.
LITTLE NOG TAKES ON CUMMINS IN BATTLE FOR TOP 10 PLACE
Number 10 ranked UFC light heavyweights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira takes on No.11 ranked Patrick Cummins in the Featured Fight of the UFC FIGHT PASS Prelims to this Saturday’s UFC 198 event from Curitiba, Brazil.
Little Nog is aged 39, and his twin brother - legendary heavyweight champion Minotauro Nogueira – retired a year ago. A loss to Cummins would likely signal the end to his run as a top 10 UFC 205lber.
“It’s an important fight for me,” he said this week. “It is also the first time my brother hasn’t been with me in training camp. Usually we train together but he has been busy working with the UFC (in his role as UFC ambassador) so I have relied on my great team to get me ready.”
American Cummins, meanwhile, is competing in Brazil for the third time in his last four fights. He is looking to put a TKO loss to Glover Teixeira behind him and seize a top 10 ranking for himself.
Cummins said: “I’ve got the experience I didn’t have when I first came to the UFC. I’ve had 11 fight, I’ve travelled to fight before, and I am ready. I fought the best guys in the division – Rumble Johnson, Daniel Cormier – and of course I learned so much from those fights.
Cummins, 8-3 in MMA, has been training with UFC 198 headliner and UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. He said: “We have a great team. With the experience I now have, and the team around me with UFC champions teaching me every day, I am ready to become the kind of fighter that will break into the top 10 and go from there.”
Nogueira vs Cummins is the Featured Bout of the UFC 198 FIGHT PASS Prelims, which start 6:30 pm ET