In 2012, Gabriel Varga was a relatively unknown Karate-based Kickboxer with a record of 6-1. That changed when Varga fought Lerdsila in that year’s K-1 Grand Prix.
Lerdsila was a Muay Thai fighter with hundreds of fights in Muay Thai and Kickboxing. He had been obliterating the competition and it was inconceivable that a Farang (foreign fighter) could beat him.
Through skill and clever game planning, Gabriel Varga did the unthinkable. He won the fight by a clear Unanimous Decision.
Ten years later, the shoe is now on the other foot. He is now the established, dominant fight-veteran facing a relatively unknown underdog. That underdog is Tommy Azouz.
WILL HISTORY REPEAT?
Tommy Azouz of France has bravely stepped up to fight multi-time kickboxing champion Gabriel Varga on less than 2-weeks-notice after many other opponents dropped out. But the Frenchman does have a few advantages in overcoming this mountain of a challenge.
First, Azouz has had 3 fights under Karate Combat’s rules, while Varga is still getting accustomed to them. Second, he has a traditional blitz style that Gabriel has never faced in full contact before.
These two advantages are much deeper than they appear.
Varga defeated Bruno Assis by Unanimous Decision in his Karate Combat debut
With K-1 rules (kickboxing), the traditional method for dealing with the blitz fighter is to low kick them to take away their movement and trap them in the corner of the ring. Not only were Leg kicks never a huge part of Varga’s game, but, additionally, Karate Combat’s rules do not allow for Low Kicks to the thigh (only to the calf). Varga is far less familiar with that technique in competition.
And when it comes to taking away space, the Pit has very different dynamics than a Kickboxing ring. You can corner your opponent, but you can’t as effectively trap them. They can use the pit walls to escape, kick off the wall to add power to a strike, or up kick when their back is against the wall. This last aspect is something that caught Varga by surprise in his debut bout against Bruno Assis.
To be sure, having your back against the Pit wall isn’t an overall advantageous position. The dynamics are simply different. Fighters have said that it is more like the Tatami found in Sport Karate than the Kickboxing ring, since the action is much more free flowing,
Gabriel Varga is not merely a Kickboxer, however. He could have been signed off his accolades in Karate alone. It will be interesting to see how Varga adjusts to this new and hungry challenger. With a win over Azouz he will likely be calling for a Title Shot, so a lot is on the line.
CLICK TO LEARN HOW TO WATCH KC37 - FREE