GLORY Heavyweight Grand Prix: Rico Verhoeven Remains King After Dramatic Stoppage Over Levi Rigters in Tournament Finals

Mar 12, 2024
Rico Verhoeven remains on top. Photo: GLORY Kickboxing
The GLORY Heavyweight Grand Prix last weekend delivered big time.

GLORY returned to a packed GelreDome football stadium in Arnhem, the Netherlands on Saturday night, March 9. 20,000 enthusiastic fans cheered for the eight Heavyweights that faced off in a one-night tournament to crown a new king. Additionally, the Lightweight and Light Heavyweight titles were fiercely contested to round out the card.

Rico Verhoeven was the winner of the night as he defeated Sofian Laïdouni in the quarterfinals, dispatched of popular Moroccan Nabil Khachab in the most lackluster performance of the night in the semis before finishing Levi Rigters in the final. Rigters, who was visibly hurt going into the final put in a valiant effort, almost knocking out Verhoeven down with a flush spinning back fist. 

Rigters himself had possible the toughest tournament run as he was knocked down in both his fights against Uku Jürjendal and Bahram Rajabzadeh, but persevered to edge his way to the final.

Bahram Rajabzadeh quickly became a fan-favorite in the tournament with his athletic and all-out fighting style. After the tournament, his manager talked to "The Main Event" and confirmed his plans to go down back to Light Heavyweight, where he – without a doubt – will be right in title contention having only lost to former champion Sergej Maslobojev.

In addition to the GLORY Heavyweight Grand Prix, Tarik Khbabez became the undisputed GLORY Light Heavyweight champion with a close split decision victory over Donegi Abena. Tyjani Beztati didn't have much trouble successfully defending his Lightweight title for the fifth time as he dismantled German fighter Enriko Kehl over the full duration of 15 minutes.

Fans were curious if  the long-reigning champion confirms his intention to now move up to Welterweight with GLORY's intention to put Lightweight on hold.




Rico Verhoeven def. Levi Rigters – TKO at 2:59 of R2

Tarik Khbabez def. Donegi Abena – Light Heavyweight Championship – Split Decision

Iliass Hammouche def. Ivan Galaz – Unanimous Decision

Rico Verhoeven def. Nabil Khachab – Unanimous Decision

Levi Rigters def. Bahram Rajabzadeh – Unanimous Decision

Tyjani Beztati def. Enriko Kehl – Lightweight Championship – Unanimous Decision

Rico Verhoeven def. Sofian Laïdouni – Unanimous Decision

Nabil Khachab def. Benjamin Adegbuyi – Unanimous Decision

Bahram Rajabzadeh def. Tariq Osaro – Unanimous Decision

Levi Rigters def. Uku Jürjendal – KO at 1:48 of R2

Cihad Kepenk def. Michał Bławdziewicz – KO at 2:55 of R2