Last night at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, Errol Zimmerman was crowned the GLORY 16 heavyweight tournament champion, earning his spot in a tournament later this year to crown a contender for the heavyweight championship.
He did so by putting away two tough GLORY veterans in Ben Edwards and Anderson Silva.
The first fight saw Zimmerman (79-18-1, 1 NC) in a bit of trouble early on, but his tenacity bore a hole through Edwards head after a vicious combination surprised the attacking Australian. Once Edwards returned to his feet, Zimmerman knew it was a matter of time until he moved to the finals. He stunned Edwards once again and put him down to force the finish.
On to the finals.
A similar scene was found in the finals as Zimmerman kept his motivation rolling.
After each of the first two times that he dropped Silva, he stepped harder on the gas and pressured Silva against a corner. Even through being blasted by Silva, Zimmerman didn’t look to be in serious trouble. He finally closed the show with a right hook, beating Silva 20-seconds fast than he did Edwards, both of which came in the first round.
Now, unlike the title may suggest, Zimmerman hasn’t lacked motivation in past fights. In a three-fight losing skid, that finished off his 2012 with a 2-3 record, Zimmerman was pitted against taller men who used that height and reach advantage to avoid the deadly power that Zimmerman possesses in his counters.
He was able to rebound against Hesdy Gerges in a trouncing at GLORY 11 which kept him at the top of the division, but was then put away by the number 1 ranked Daniel Ghita at GLORY 13 in Japan.
Zimmerman’s bout with Ghita lasted just 35-seconds and was more a showcase for Ghita than it was a battle of two top heavyweights.
At GLORY 16, his sporadic stretch of fights that Zimmerman had to endure came to a screeching halt just under a year since a 2012 loss to Semmy Schilt, that started his three-fight skid. Zimmerman’s victories kicked off his 2014 not only with a much-needed boost in confidence, but also a memorable night that sent fair warning to the division, and earned him a myriad of fans.
Immediately following the fight, an emotional Zimmerman stated that the wins he put together were driven by the death of his longtime mentor and trainer, Ramon Dekkers, who passed away in February of 2013 due to a tragic heart attack.
Zimmerman sounded like a man who wasn’t going to lose, no matter the cost to his own body. Training and focus were enhanced by the memory of his friend, and a failure to honor him with a spectacular victory in Saturday’s tournament just wasn’t in the cards for Zimmerman.
Not only was the motivation of Dekkers’ memory on his side, but time is as well. At just 28-years old, the Suriname native is just the third oldest in the top ten at heavyweight, under the GLORY banner, just older than Anderson Silva (whom he defeated Saturday night) and Rico Verhoeven, who Zimmerman holds a win over, despite dropping their rematch last June.
Zimmerman is now poised atop a mountain of confidence as he awaits a return date later this year, a return that is at no lack of incentive to conquer a division which is rife with talent.