Sporthallen Zuid has a long and storied history when it comes to combat sports. Before it was renovated in 2013, the sports hall in Amsterdam played host to numerous of legendary fights from the likes of Ramon Dekkers, Andy Souwer and Bob Schrijber to name a few.
And on Saturday, hometown hero Yousri Belgaroui intends to bring some of those memories back of one of the meccas of Dutch combat sports.
“I never fought there before, so it’s gonna be the first time and I’m excited to fight there for the Amsterdam public,” Belgaroui tells MMA Plus. “I know they will be excited that GLORY holds an event there, because of the memories they have of the real fights. I’ll bring that back.
“I’m very hyped for this and it’s gonna be very important. My friends, family and everybody who supports me in Amsterdam, which is a big crowd, can come and watch me live for one of my biggest fights to date.”
“The Baby Faced Assassin” will play host to fellow Dutchman Jason Wilnis on the GLORY 45 SuperFight Series with a title shot at stake. Belgaroui is confident he’ll win the all-Dutch affair and send a message to the current champion, Simon Marcus, at the same time.
“I think Jason is one of the toughest opponents in this division, but I know I’ll beat him and show everyone that I’m the best in this weight class,” Belgaroui says. “I do believe that Jason is better than Simon. It’s very important to beat him, and yes, I know Simon will then be very scared after he sees what I’ve done to his rival.”
Belgaroui, who was born on the north side of Amsterdam, won the GLORY 40 contender tournament last April in Copenhagen, Denmark by beating Agron Preteni and Alex Pereira on the same night. Although the Dutchman expected a title shot afterward, he had to settle with a fight in his home country against the former champion that lost his belt on the eve of his biggest wins to date.
At first, the product of Mike’s Gym was frustrated about it. Frustrated because Pereira, the man he beat in his last outing, will fight against Marcus for the title on GLORY 46 in China in two weeks and not him. But later on, he put those feelings on the side and looked at the positives of fighting the man that’s nicknamed “Psycho.”
“This fight is also a logical step. Jason dominated this division for a long time. People think he’s very good, so it’s logical for me to beat him first, because he’s the number one, and then go for the belt. For myself, I know I’m the best already, but this fight will show the world that I really belong in the title spot.”
One of the main advantages Belgaroui will enjoy to get close to his goal is his height. Needless to say that “The Baby Faced Assassin” be looking to use all his 1.96 meters to get his hand raised on fight night.
“If you utilize height and reach well, it’s very hard for your opponents to hit you. I will make sure that my hits have a lot of impact, so he doesn’t want to come close. And if he does, I’ll punish him even more. Like a lion who’s trained in the circus, you just have to hit him with rocks on his nose. In the end, he’ll stop attacking you.”
Although the Dutchman uses his length as a weapon during the fights, it’s becoming more and more of a struggle beforehand. The 85-kilogram weight limit has become a big obstacle for the 25-year-old, so his days as a middleweight may soon come to an end.
But before Belgaroui moves on from the weight class, he wants to leave a big mark on the division.
“It’s hard to make weight, I’m getting older and heavier naturally. So it is time to get that belt and maybe defend it a couple of times before there’s nothing to be won anymore. Then, it might be time to move up.”