BREAKDOWN: Doumbe-Holzken II

GLORY 42: Doumbe Proves Speed Kills

With Glory 44 just two days away, Cedric Doumbe looks to defend his title against Murthel Groenhart and extend his reign as the GLORY welterweight world champion. The two are no strangers to each other and fought back at GLORY 28, where Doumbe earned a decision win.

While many are not convinced by the close decisions Doumbe has won, there have definitely been some consistencies in his fighting style that are enough to earn him the nod. Let’s take a look at Cedric Doumbe’s most recent title defense against his old rival Nieky Holzken, and the tools he employed to earn the win once again.


Key: Utilizing Lateral Movement & Circling Out

Doumbe admittedly does not win many fans over with his style; he exhibits neither an aggressive style nor powerful forward pressure.

His utilization of constant lateral movement make him hard target to pin down and properly exchange with. As Doumbe continually circles out of the pocket and just slightly out of reach, he is also looking for opportune moments to strike as his opponent commits to the chase. His dynamic style keeps his opponents at bay and guessing if he is going to circle out to the left or right – or perhaps plant his feet and fire off a quick combination.

Those who start to chase Doumbe are usually forced to deal with his:

  • Counterattacks
  • Evasiveness
  • Agility 

BELOW: Holzken is just slightly out of range and Doumbe evades the rear power leg kick as he is circling out to the left in round one. Towards the end of the round, Holzken is once again unsuccessful in chopping the leg, surely bolstering Doumbe’s confidence.

Doumbe easily avoids the leg kick.

BELOW: In round three, Holzken gets in closer and tries to tag Doumbe with the same power leg kick. Doumbe evades in the same fashion, only this time he fires back with his own quick combination. Holzken is unable to quickly recover his stance due to the distance and load-up.

A flurry of counter punches plus a biting leg kick.


BELOW: Holzken is chasing Doumbe and cutting off the ring. Doumbe feints, circling out of the corner to his left. Doumbe steps forward and throws a combination that naturally shifts him out of the corner.

Holzken pursues Doumbe as he continues to circle out. Doumbe quickly plants his back foot and throws another combination while continually moving to his left.

Circling out from the corner by way of strikes.


KEY: Staying Active With Short Combinations

Fighting without ring aggression or frequent engagement is a hard thing to do successfully. However, Doumbe effectively substitutes raw aggression with tremendous speed and volume.

Doumbe aims to frustrate his opponents by potshotting them from the outside, making him active throughout the fight. He rarely loads up on his punches or kicks, allowing him to continue and reset quickly after his two or three- hit combos are over. For every strike Holzken throws, Doumbe comes right back with two or three to assert his dominance over these short exchanges.

BELOW: Doumbe slips Holzken’s jab and answers with a quick left hook + right low kick. Holzken jabs again; Doumbe pulls back and lunges forward with the right cross + left straight + right low kick again. Holzken jabs for a third time and Doumbe returns a left straight + right low kick.

Doumbe piles on the combos, even in small dosages.


KEY: Targeting the Legs

Doumbe’s kicks lack thunderous power, but his constant peppering of his opponent’s legs gradually turn the fight into a war of attrition.

The steady leg strikes add up, making it harder and harder to chase Doumbe into the later rounds. Doumbe punishes any type of forward aggression from Holzken by throwing out quick leg kicks to the rear or front legs. His combos usually also end in a low kick for good measure.

By continually attacking the legs, Doumbe limits Holzken’s movement while imposing his own. Holzken’s legs are constantly attacked from various angles and with countless combos throughout all the rounds.

Relentless Doumbe leg kicks was Holzken’s undoing.

By the midway point of round four, Holzken had absorbed a whopping 65 leg kicks.


Final Thoughts

Cedric Doumbe’s fighting style may not be the most exciting to watch, but it is clear that he is here to stay. There is no coincidence that this fleet-footed approach has earned the decision not once, but twice against Holzken.

Murthel Groenhart will have huge task ahead of him as he tries to dethrone Doumbe. The big question that remains is if Groenhart has learned anything from their first fight or if he’ll be heading down the same path Nieky Holzken has treaded.

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Daniel Nguyen
Daniel Nguyen is a packaging engineer who trains Muay Thai as a passionate hobby. With a smoker fight under his belt, his ultimate goal is to convince others to join in by conveying his passion for the sport and writing about his experiences.

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