It may turn out to be the scorcher of the summer.
The Kunlun Fight organization makes its anticipated return this Saturday with a stellar fight card featuring the 2019 KLF 75 kg World Championship tournament.
Eight top fighters from China, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Thailand will battle it out for the tournament title, with defending champion Mergen Bilyalov and former champion Vitaly “The Patriot” Gurkov among the participants.
Bilyalov, a hard-punching fighter from Kazakhstan, captured the 2018 KLF 75 kg Title in impressive fashion. In the quarterfinal round, he caught Huang Kai with a devastating uppercut-hook combination to score a first-round stoppage.
Bilyalov then stopped Gurkov with a devastating right hand to the body, also in the first round, before the Kazakh champion won the title by close majority decision in the final.
If Bilyalov and Gurkov win their first round bouts against Wu Sihan and Yiliyasi, the two champions will likely meet in the semifinal round, giving Gurkov a chance to avenge last year’s humbling defeat.
In addition to the eight-man 2019 KLF 75 kg World Championship tournament, Saturday’s event features the return of one of the sport’s most exciting fighters.
Andy Ristie was a force in championship-level kickboxing for a number of years before taking a hiatus from the sport in 2015. The Suriname-born Ristie is a former GLORY Champion and also competed for K-1 and It’s Showtime. He’s beaten a list of recognizable names, including Enfusion stars Nordin Ben Moh and Jonay Risco, along with legends Albert Kraus, Robin van Roosmalen, and Giorgio Petrosyan.
At age 37, Ristie makes his Kunlun Fight debut against China’s Kong Lingfeng.
Kong was the reserve fighter in last year’s KLF World Max 70 kg Finals. He also defeated Takuya Imamura of Japan at Kunlun Fight 75 last August.
The Chinese fighter has the chance to introduce his name to kickboxing fans all over the world if he can defeat the dangerous and well-regarded Ristie.
MMA Bouts Scheduled
Saturday’s event also features a pair of MMA bouts. Ednilson Jose meets Zheng Lipeng in a 75 kg contest, while Andrei Marchenko faces Banmaduoji in the 58 kg weight category.
How to Watch
Saturday’s event begins at 7 p.m. local time in Beijing, which is twelve noon in London and 7 a.m. in New York.
The event will be broadcast on multiple platforms. FightBox HD will broadcast the event internationally, and Kunlun Fight 81 is also available on a pay-per-view basis via Fite TV and through the Kunlun Fight website.