Glory Kickboxing 37: What is Robin van Roosmalenʼs least favourite subject? Matt ʻMaticsʼ
By Ryan McKinnon
“Let your plan be dark and impenetrable as night…..All warfare is based on
deception…To know your Enemy, your must become your Enemy”
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The most anticipated fight of 2017 for Canadian kickboxing and Muay Thai fans
is happening at Glory Kickboxing 37 in Los Angeles this Friday. The Canadian Thai boxing/ kickboxing
phenom Matt ʻMaticsʼ Embree looks to bring the featherweight title north of the border should he
defeat the current champion, Robin van Roosmalen. Embree emerged as a new
superstar in Glory after the featherweight tournament in New Jersey. Relatively
unknown to casual fight fans, Embree scored highlight reel wins in both of his fights that
night. The only thing standing in his way between himself and another world title is the
Dutch wrecking machine known as RVR.
It took Embree only a total of 10:21 over 2 fights at Glory Kickboxing 33 to secure his spot
against RVR. Both fights gave Embree the opportunity to showcase new additions to his
already impressive arsenal of techniques. His first bout against Chi Bin Lim was a
second round TKO via a sweeping left hook with one second left in the round. His
second fight against Giga Chikadze was a second round KO from a vicious and welltimed
right cross. The addition of power punching to his game makes him a much more
dangerous opponent to a fighter like Roosmalen.
It is hard to foretell what weaponry Embree will bring to the ring against Robin,
because he is constantly evolving. Before the Glory Kickboxing tournament, Embree fought
primarily in Muay Thai events. He had to step up his boxing game in order to adapt to
Glory rules. At the tourney in NJ, Matics showcased a power cross, and an extremely
powerful sweeping left hook to the body and head. His use of range and timing proved
extremely effective against both opponents. He used power leg kicks to his opponentsʼ
lead leg to make them think twice about getting their combinations going, and then
displayed a very interesting off-beat left hook to the body. Instead of throwing a
traditional slip/left hook to the body, Embree would slip outside of his opponent, coil his
body to the left, pause for a moment, then release the left hook, or left uppercut. We
donʼt see a lot of this in kickboxing, but Matics used it extremely well to throw off his
opponentsʼ sense of rhythm.
Probably Embreeʼs biggest and most dangerous weapon is his ring IQ. He has
fought the highest echelon of strikers all over the world. Watch his 2015 Thai Fight
Samui against legendary Saenchai on YouTube to get a glimpse of how composed he
kept himself against one of the worldʼs best strikers. He has also defeated Kevin Ross
who is one of Americaʼs best Muay Thai fighters, among many others. Experiences like
these is what sharpens a fighterʼs will to get better, and to find ways to win tough fights.
RVR can be classified as a ʻDutch styleʼ kickboxing fighter. He has a high guard, and likes to
put pressure on his opponents by getting in close and working multiple hand
combinations followed by low kicks. At Glory 34 in Denver, RVR moved down from
lightweight to capture the featherweight title from Canadian Gabriel Varga. At 5ʼ6”, RVR
is the shorter fighter, and gives up almost 5 inches of reach to Matics. Look to see
Embree beat RVR up from the outside. Matics has extremely good leg kicks and makes
use of a solid jab. Those two weapons alone are good to use against a pressure fighter
like RVR, as well as the lead teep, or push kick. It annoys pressure fighters, and never
gives them a chance to set up their combinations, which slows down their offense.
Should Roosmalen make his way inside Embreeʼs long range weapons, heʼll have to
deal with his clinch, which is easily better than anyoneʼs clinch in that division. The trade
off is that RVR hits really hard, and may afflict the necessary amount of damage to slow
down Embreeʼs attacks.
When the show closes at Glory Kickboxing 37, there will be a new champion amongst the
ranks of talented featherweights. Matt ʻMaticsʼ Embree has made fighting his life.
Nobody has worked harder and smarter to earn his title shot, and it is not something he
takes for granted. He has too many weapons, and an IQ to put them all into place.
Roosmalen may be the heavier hitter, but the Canadian fighter has the stronger will to