LFL 8 & Heavyweight Grand Prix Preview; Spillane; Binder; Castro

Dutch promotion Levels Fight League returns with a doubleheader this weekend in Amsterdam. On Saturday night, they will host an old-school one-night heavyweight Grand Prix. On Sunday, the Transformatorhuis will have a more traditional card, LFL 8. Both cards have Irish interest as well as some top European talent.

The heavyweight Grand Prix is up first and the winner will take home the LFL Heavyweight Championship. The bouts will take place over 2 minute rounds in a K-1 style tournament. The combined weight of the contestants is one tonne. The draw has yet to be made, however you can check out the contestants below.

Ryan Spillane (1-2): This 6ft5in man trains out of SBG Cork City and is a former Irish IMMAF representative, including bringing home golds in the 2019 and 2020 worlds. He was victorious last time out with a TKO win at LFL5 and will be looking to go on a run here. Aside from the knockout threat, Spillane has a nice submission game.

Szymon Szynkiewicz (2-5): The Pole comes from the bare knuckle and vale tudo competitions. On the MMA front, he’s struggled in the stand-up with his defence. At 5ft11in, he’ll be one of the smallest in the Grand Prix.

Aladin Ben Halima (1-2): Fighting out of the Netherlands, Aladin has seen most of his MMA career spent grappling, winning his last fight with an armbar.

Filip Bradarić (5-4): One of the more experienced fighters in the competition, the Croat is a beast in the ground and pound game. Stamina is his biggest threat.

Jozef Jaloviar (3-2): The Slovakian is a submission threat with dangerous ground and pound. He is on a two-fight win streak.

Stanislav Romanov (3-10): This is a man who fights a lot, notching up eight fights since 2021. The Dutchman is a kickboxer who will win or lose in the first round.

Moreno Kacapor (3-1): The Swiss will be one of the favourites to win it. The Aarau man is well rounded and has two TKO victories to his name. 

Mario Pinto (3-0): The Portuguese is the only undefeated fighter on deck. He’s blitzed through his opposition so far with two knockouts and a rear naked choke. Another one that should be there or thereabouts.

LFL8 will be headlined by former UFC fighter Chris Fishgold (18-4-1). The Next Gen Liverpool man is a former Cage Warriors lightweight champion and has recently dabbled in bare knuckle boxing. The submission game is where he excels and he has an eclectic box of tricks to work from. Adrian Kępa (10-7) is a tough, well rounded fighter. The Pole is brave in the stand-up and is tough to put away on the feet. His Achilles heel though is the rear naked choke, with five losses to the submission on his record.

Jason Wilnis (2-2) is a world class kickboxer who is on a two-fight losing streak in MMA. The Dutchman is a technical striker and will knock you out if you put a foot wrong. The 32-year-old is a former Glory contender and has wins over Israel Adesanya, Alex Pereira and Joe Schilling. Joey Berkenbosch (4-2) is returning for the first time in two years and only his second fight since 2019. The 40-year-old is a decent allrounder and is a threat on the feet and on the ground. Wilnis will be looking to end this in spectacular fashion.

Andreeas Binder (6-2) is one of the most promising talents training in Ireland at the moment. The 26-year-old was born in Romania, however also calls Galway home. He is a high level judoka and has a lovely kickboxing game. Four of his wins have come via knockout and is always must watch television. Chris Stringer (14-12-1) is a tough veteran test. The Team Kaobon man had an MMA retirement in Dublin after losing to Paul Redmond at BAMMA 26 in 2016, however returned a year later. He’s a gritty well rounded fighter who doesn’t get finished easily and will cause you problems in all realms.

Jeanderson Castro (5-6) is the type of fighter that promoters love to put on a card. The Dublin based Brazilian is pure excitement and will go out to kill or be killed. If you want proof, check out his flying knee knockout on Tyrone Quinn at Clan Wars 41. Elliot Jenkins (5-3) is another Next Gen Liverpool lad on the card. The Englishman is more of a grappler and he has a similar outlook to fighting as Castro. Both men want to finish.

Nills Van Noord (21-10-2) is a pupil of the legendary “Dirty” Bob Schrijber. The 34-year-old is your classic Dutch kickboxer who has a lethal submission game. His recent losses are to very tough European opposition. Piotr Kalenik (9-9) is a man who’s struggled for wins of late, with just two wins from seven since 2020. The 32-year-old Białystok is going to give up some height in this one, however it’s nothing new to him and he’s got power in his hands and a nice guillotine in his arsenal.

Tayron Chavarro (2-3) is a Dutchman who usually gets his wins by submission, most notably an armbar win at LFL4. Nikita Leshukov (1-0) is a Frenchman who won his pro debut by knockout in the first 30 seconds.

Tycho Brakel (2-5) is a Dutch journeyman and is coached by Melvin Manhoef. We can expect a striking game from him. Jonathan Tokoudagba (0-1) is a French IMMAF veteran. This will be his first fight in four years. Before his hiatus, he was a well rounded fighter so it will be interesting to see how he’s progressed.

Cherif Larossi (1-3) is one of the youngest on the card at 21-years-old. The Dutchman’s sole victory came via rear naked choke. Freek Van Iersel (1-1) is a 28-year-old vale tudo stylist. The Nijmegen man won his last fight by D’arce choke.

The Heavyweight Grand Prix will be live from 17:00 Irish time on Saturday and LFL8 will be live from 18:00 Irish time on Sunday. Irish viewers can watch the action on PPV via the LFLmma.com website. The events will also be available on ViaPlay in select countries.

Seán Denny is a Dublin man who writes mostly on the European scene, with a keen interest in the Irish, UK and Polish scenes in particular. Follow me on Twitter at @DennyRants.

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