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GLORY 19 preview: Meet the welterweight contender one-night tournament participants

GLORY is back in action on Feb. 6, 2015, with GLORY 19 from Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va., airing live on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET. Once again, the GLORY staple -- a one-night tournament -- will be featured, this one in the welterweight division. Let's meet the four participants who will by vying for a shot at "Bazooka" Joe Valtellini's title.

GLORY Sports International

GLORY is set to kick off its first kickboxing card of the New Year this Friday night (Feb. 6, 2015) inside Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Va., airing LIVE on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET.

GLORY 19 will feature a heavyweight title fight between current champion Rico Verhoeven and the No. 4-ranked Erol Zimmerman. This will be the third time the two will face each other, with both knotted at one win each. "Bonecrusher" knocked out Verhoeven the first time they faced off in the "It's Showtime" promotion, and the current champion leveled the score at GLORY 9: "New York" via unanimous decision.

In the co-main event, the No. 1-ranked GLORY middleweight, Joe "Stitch ‘em Up" Schilling, will take on Canadian up-and-comer Robert Thomas.

Both the title fight and co-main event will feature plenty of action, but like all GLORY fight cards before it, a one-night, four-man tournament will also take place, this time in the welterweight division. The winner will earn the next title shot against GLORY welterweight champion, "Bazooka" Joe Valtellini, later this year.

The four participants are the No. 1-ranked GLORY welterweight contender, Nieky Holzken, No. 6-ranked Jonatan Oliveria, No. 4-ranked Alexandr Stetcurenko and the No. 7-ranked Raymond Daniels.

Let's take a closer look at the four kickboxers vying for the welterweight contender-tournament title:

Nieky Holzken
Record: 85-11-1 (6-0 GLORY) 45 KO
Last fight: Won via first round knockout over Yusaf Karakaya at "One Shot World Series" in Turkey
GLORY19 match up: Alexandr Stetcurenko

Holzken was set to face Marc de Bonte for the inaugural GLORY welterweight title at GLORY 14 in Croatia last year. A shoulder injury suffered in a car accident postponed that fight. The injury also prevented the No. 1-ranked GLORY welterweight from fighting in the bout when it was rescheduled for GLORY 16 in Colorado. He was replaced by Karapet Karapetyan.

de Bonte won the title by split decision, only to lose it two months later to Joseph Valtellini.

At GLORY 13 in Tokyo, Holzken knocked out Valtellini in the third round of an absolute classic fight to win the night's four-man tournament. The Dutch standout will be highly motivated and may also have a chip on his shoulder, since he could easily be placed right into a title fight without having to navigate through a tournament.

Holzken, 31,  is one of the very best and has been for quite some time. He looked outstanding in his most recent fight this past December. He is very technical striker, possesses great boxing skills and throws excellent combinations with devastating body shots to boot.

Alexandr Stetcurenko
Record:
51-10-0 (GLORY 1-1) 24 KO
Last fight: A unanimous decision loss to Karim Ghajji at "Victory" in Paris, France
GLORY 19 match up: Nieky Holzken

This will be the Russian fighter's second trip to the United States. The 31-year-old  hasn't been able to string together a win streak in several years, but he has been known to be a very tough customer to face and has only been knocked out once in his career. He also holds a victory over GLORY's middleweight champion Artem Levin, who has said he was the hardest opponent he has ever had to fight.

Stetcurenko hits hard, is at times very unorthodox and can take a punch with the best of them. He may not defeat Holzken, but he will make the Dutchman earn the victory and their semifinal match up will likely go the distance.

Raymond Daniels
Record: 25-1-0 (2-1 GLORY) 15 KO
Last fight: Won via first round knockout over Francois Ambang at GLORY 16 Denver
GLORY 19 match up: Jonatan Oliveira

Daniels, 34, landed one of the craziest knockouts in the history of combat sports when he connected on a two-touch spinning back kick against Ambang. He comes from sport-karate background and his style is one of completely unorthodox attacks from all different angles. Daniels is constantly moving and always has his opponents guessing what he will do next. If given space, he can be deadly.

In his last tournament at GLORY 13 Tokyo, Daniels lost in the third round to "Bazooka" Joe Valtellini when he got knocked out by a head kick. Valtellini cut off the ring and attacked Daniels with leg kicks to slow down his mobility, which proved to be very effective. Daniels will be as motivated as anyone to get through the tournament and face Valtellini for a second time.

Jonatan Oliveira:
Record: 20-3 (GLORY 2-0) 11 KO
Last fight: Won via unanimous decision over Atakan Arslan
GLORY 19 match up: Raymond Daniels

Oliveira, 25, is among several talented kickboxers fighting out of Brazil nowadays like heavyweight Anderson "Braddock" Silva and middleweight Alex Pereira. The Brazilian is the youngest fighter in the tournament, but he already has more than 20 fights under his belt and can present plenty of problems for his opponents.

The No. 6-ranked welterweight likes to move forward and has fast hand speed and quick combinations. The Brazilian also utilizes the clinch and can dish out some nasty knees in addition to his boxing attacks.

Oliveira has won two straight in GLORY and the semifinal match against Daniels could be a highlight reel from start to finish.

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