Five years after Karate Combat’s inaugural event in Miami, the world's premiere full-contact striking league returns to Vice City for KC38 on April 1st. One of the featured bouts on this card features Texas’s James Vick and Italy’s Gabriele Cera.
The Pride of Italy
Gabriele Cera plants a clean one on Jonathan Broad at KC35
Italy has a proud history of Combat Sports athletes, from UFC’s Marvin Vettori, rising Kickboxing star Mattia Faraoni, and going back to undefeated Italian-American Heavyweight Rocky Marciano, and many, many more.
Gabriele “The Toughest Animal” Cera brings this rich tradition with him every time he steps into the Pit as Italy’s sole representative in Karate Combat.
Gabriele is the perfect example that every fighter blooms at different times. He would face 3 defeats in the Pit before obtaining his first victory against Alexandre Bouderbane, and at KC35 he seemingly transformed into a completely different (even better) fighter.
Cera’s highlight reel takedowns were still there, but his striking was much cleaner, and his approach more aggressive. Applying pressure with crispy Punching Combinations, spectacular Spinning Back Kicks, and devastating Calf Kicks.
Overall, Gabriele has always been “The Toughest Animal” of Karate but now his “fangs” keep getting sharper and he carries a certain level of swagger in his step. He no doubt has his sights set on the belt, but will face a steep step up in competition with his next opponent, a man who was once ranked Top 10 in the UFC, James Vick.
James Vick shows off his long leg reach at KC36
James Vick may have lost by a controversial decision in his KC debut, but that's only made him hungry to get back into the Pit and show how dangerous he truly is. (You can read more about Vick’s journey to Karate here.)
As was mentioned in the other article, James Vick's martial arts journey began in Boxing. But Vick freely admits that his original boxing trainer wasn’t the best when it came to defense. For much of Vick’s journey he relied on his reach and lethal offense.
Karate has filled in that gap of defense for Vick, lending him a new technique in his defensive side kick that keeps opponents at range. Even if they get past it, they might run into a Tobi Hiza Geri (flying knee).
But the strongest thing Karate has given Vick is the art's beautiful movement and sense of Maai (a concept where timing and distance intersect). So even if you get past Vick's offense, he will easily get out of the way and blitz back in with a counter shot.