Head 2 Head: Rico Verhoeven vs. Mladen Brestovac

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After taking a short sabbatical the latest edition of the MMA Plus series Head 2 Head is here as we take an in-depth, by the numbers look at some of the best fights in combat sports.

In this edition, we enter the exciting world of stand-up to take a look at the Glory 54 main event between “The King of Kickboxing” Rico Verhoeven (16-1-0 Glory) who defends his heavyweight title against Croatian challenger Mladen Brestovac (3-3-0 Glory) in a rematch of their Glory 28 bout.

This historic event takes place at the Genting Arena in Birmingham, England and marks the promotions first visit to the United Kingdom since Glory 5 in 2012.

Using FightMetrics, we will look at the following areas to try to determine the most likely outcome of this intriguing heavyweight clash at Glory 54: –

SLpM – Strikes Landed per Minute

Str. Acc. – Striking Accuracy

Str. Diff – Striking Differential 

AvFT – Average Fight Time 

KORo – Knockdown Ratio 

 

Strikes Landed per Minute

In this area, it is the champion Verhoeven (10.26 SLpM) who has the edge, landing just over 0.54 more strikes per minute than the man nicknamed “The Scorpion Sting” (9.72 SLpM).

It is this output that has seen the King of Kickboxing go on a 5-year, 15-fight undefeated run which has seen him beat the likes of Daniel GhitaBadr Hari and most recently Jamal Ben Saddik at Glory 49 last December.

Despite being at a slight disadvantage in this area, his opponent who currently sits at #8 in the Glory heavyweight rankings has secured back-to-back knockout wins against both Jahfarr Wilnis and Hesdy Gerges.

Advantage: Verhoeven

Striking Accuracy

Once again it is the champion who holds a significant advantage here with Verhoeven (52.73% Str. Acc.) landing 4.53% more strikes compared to Brestovac who lands 48.2% of his strikes.

The evolution of the Dutchman’s striking, in particular, his boxing can in part be attributed to the work he has done with famed English boxing trainer Peter Fury who was until recently the long-time trainer and uncle to former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion, “The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury.

Despite being at a disadvantage 34-year-old Brestovac ability to land accurate strikes has greatly aided him during his last two outings for Glory with him only needing less than 3 minutes to finish his last two opponents.

Advantage: Verhoeven

Striking Differential 

In this department, Verhoeven is in the black landing 3.95 more strikes than he absorbs compared to Brestovac who sits in red, absorbing 1.64 more strikes then he throws.

It is the propensity to take damage that could spell bad news for the Zagreb native who already has his work cut out for him when he faces the elusive, heavy-handed champion who has knocked out 6 of his 16 Glory opponents.

Advantage: Verhoeven

Average Fight Time 

At last the tide finally turns with the challenger Brestovac (5:58 AvFT) spending 2:17 minutes less in the squared circle, then Verhoeven (8:41 AvFT) but with 11 more fights under his belt for Glory the champion has had significantly more ring time competing for the promotion.

Advantage: Brestovac

Knockdown Ratio 

The King of Kickboxing is perfect in this area with none of his 17 Glory opponents being able to score a knockdown against him. Even in his sole Glory defeat against fellow countryman Semmy Schilt way back in 2012 Verhoeven managed to tough it out and stay on his feet. In contrast, the champion has scored 10 knockdowns against the fighters he has faced during his near 6-year tenure with the promotion.

In comparison, Brestovac landed 3 knockdowns during his time competing for the promotion but was forced to the canvas on one occasion en route to a 3rd round TKO against former title challenger and turned Verhoeven training partner Benjamin Adegbuyi at Glory 24 Denver back in 2015.

Advantage: Verhoeven

Conclusion 

Overall the stats show that Verhoeven has a distinct advantage over Brestovac in all bar one area, Average Fight Time but given the number fights and the quality of opponents the champion has faced under the Glory umbrella the perceived edge the Croatian challenger has in this area is called into question. In conclusion, the numbers point to only one winner but what do you think?

Let us know who wins, Verhoeven or Brestovac? Comment below.

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