By John O’Regan (reproduced courtesy of GLORY Kickboxing)
Utrecht’s own Kevin ‘Louie’ van Heeckeren will be defending home soil against California’s Matt ‘The Butcher’ Baker.
Agreements are in place for the pair to clash in the headline bout of the GLORY 65 UTRECHT Preliminary Card.
Van Heeckeren trains and fights out of The Colosseum Gym in Utrecht, where his teammates include fellow GLORY middleweight Jason Wilnis and lightweight prospect Tyjani Beztati.
He has a 1-1 record in GLORY, having won his GLORY 51 debut by way of first-round knockout but then dropped a unanimous decision to Donovan Wisse at GLORY 59.
Baker (pictured) is 3-1 in GLORY and rides a two-fight win streak into this bout, with both of those wins coming by way of stoppage.
Ranked #7 at middleweight, Baker fights out of Team Black and trains under Dan Black, who has previously served as stand-up coach to the UFC’s Nick and Nate Diaz, among others.
In addition to the bout agreement for this fight, Baker has also this week signed a new contract with GLORY, a multi-fight long-term deal which will carry him through 2019 and beyond.
Israeli lightweight Itay Gershon travels to the Netherlands next month looking to add another win to his remarkable undefeated run in GLORY.
Gershon is 3-0 in GLORY and hoping to extend that to 4-0 when he faces newcomer Luke ‘Skywalker’ Whelan at GLORY 65 UTRECHT.
Whelan is from London, England and fights out of Double K Gym, where for most of his career he has been trained by the widely-respected Kieran Keddle.
Gershon is ranked #6 and will crack the top five if he wins, edging his name into the title contender picture.
Whelan has won British, European and world titles in Muay Thai and kickboxing and also holds a win over GLORY veteran Vinny Church.
He has previously noted that he closely watches the GLORY lightweight top ten and wants to fight anyone listed in it – next month, he gets that chance.
Swedish standout Sofia ‘The Wolf’ Olofsson has been added to the GLORY 65 UTRECHT card taking place in Utrecht, Netherlands next month.
She will face British counterpart Christi Brereton (20-6-1, 5 KO’s) in the opening bout of the Superfight Series card, which streams live worldwide on UFC Fight Pass.
Olofsson (48-8, 21 KO’s) debuted at GLORY 55 NEW YORK against Tiffany van Soest and narrowly lost a split-decision to the former champion.
At GLORY 60 LYON she took on France’s Cindy Silvestre and won a unanimous decision. She now heads into this GLORY 65 encounter off the back of that win and edges into the contender conversation if she secures victory in Utrecht.
Brereton, a 2014 IFMA silver medallist and recent WBC Muay Thai champion, debuted at GLORY 54 BIRMINGHAM last year with a unanimous decision win.
She now goes into her second GLORY fight with the prospect of making a huge impact on the contender picture by potentially beating the #3 fighter in the division.
GLORY 65 UTRECHT takes place Friday, May 17 at the Central Studios in Utrecht, Netherlands and features two world title fights: Alex Pereira defends the middleweight title against Jason Wilnis and Sitthichai defends the lightweight title against Marat Grigorian.
The unique Central Studios venue means tickets are in extremely limited supply and are selling out fast.