Luke Rockhold! – 3 reasons to watch Karate Combat 40

All the info you need for this week's Karate Combat 40 fight card in Miami, Fl. Including Luke Rockhold rocking the mic.

By: Eddie Mercado | 3 months ago

Karate Combat 40 is on the books for this Saturday (June 24th) and is blasting off from Miami, Florida with world class Karatekas showcasing their talents in a full contact format. Knockouts are encouraged.

Before we get to the action, we’re going to run down the top-3 reasons to watch KC 40. On the docket is a welterweight title unification bout between an Olympic silver medalist and a returning champion, as well as a former GLORY/Bellator kickboxing champion going heads up with an ex-Karate Combat king. To top everything off, former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will be making his Karate Combat commentating debut. Let’s get right into it!

Champion vs. Champion

The Josh Quayhagen vs. Rafael Aghayev matchup will be the promotion’s very first title unification bout, and it’s a doozy. You’ve got the heart-for-days welterweight champion in Quayhagen, returning to action to take on the 2020 silver medalist Olympian for Azerbaijan/newly minted interim champ, Rafael Aghayev. Expect fireworks!

Considered to be the G.O.A.T. by many, five-time world champion and eleven-time European champion Aghayev has the opportunity to unify the belts and add to his legacy. Quayhagen, who is also a pastor outside of the Pit, has a 9-5 record’s worth of mma experience that he’s bringing with him. That includes a quality win over UFC veteran Anthony Njokuani. Josh can push a pace late in a fight that is quite difficult to keep up with, but luckily for the fans, Aghayev is someone who can maintain his explosiveness throughout the championship rounds. That means five hard rounds of the highest level full contact Karate out there… if it makes it that far.

Ex-GLORY champ vs. former KC champ

In the card’s co-main event, former GLORY/Bellator kickboxing champion, Gabriel Varga, is mixing it up with Karate Combat’s former lightweight champion, Edgars Skrivers. Varga has already reached the pinnacle of kickboxing by utilizing a high Figh-Q coupled with a polished and highly technical nuts-and-bolts sort of style. He also has a little mma experience, and isn’t afraid to use it. Go watch his last KC fight where he landed several takedowns and deployed some thudding ground and pound.

Skrivers, who was KC’s inaugural lightweight champion, is as hard-nosed as it gets. He’s won the European Champion, Shotokan World Champion, and is a many time Latvian and Baltic champion. He’s also a mad man, so expect him to go right after Gabriel, looking to get him out of there early. Varga has the solid defensive fundamentals necessary to weather the storms, and is proficient at responding to aggression with counters to make this a stylistic dream. This should be a war, and to up the stakes, the victor will be next in line to compete for KC’s lightweight crown!

Luke Rockhold on the mic

Former UFC 185-pound champ Luke Rockhold will be in attendance at KC 40, but he won’t be competing in the Pit. Instead, Rockhold will be following in the footsteps of fellow former middleweight champion, Georges St. Pierre, by picking up a microphone to commentate the bouts. Luke isn’t exactly known for his words, and seems to be stepping out of his comfort zone here. Kudos to him for that, because according to the National Institutes of Mental Health, 75% of people rank ‘glossophobia,’ or fear of public speaking, as their number one fear. 

Regardless of how Rockhold’s commentary goes, what if this culminates into more than that? Imagine if Rockhold gets the itch to compete again, and does so in the KC Pit! Maybe even in a rematch against another former UFC champion like, oh I don’t know, say Lyoto Machida? They first fought at UFC on FOX 15 back in 2015, with Rockhold snagging an RNC in the second round.

Fast forward to present day, and Machida has been lurking around behind the scenes of KC, with his protege Bruno Souza routinely fighting for the promotion. This fight actually makes sense, so even if the commentating thing doesn’t go so well for Luke, it at least opens the door for a potential Rockhold vs. Machida 2 matchup in a Karate Combat format.

Full Karate Combat 40 fight card

  • Josh Quayhagen vs. Rafael Aghayev: Welterweight Title
  • Edgars Skrivers vs. Gabriel Varga: Lightweight
  • Samuel Ericsson vs. Alexandre Bouderbane: Welterweight
  • Kenji Grillon vs. Shahin Atamov: Welterweight
  • Jesus Lopez vs. Ilies Mardhi: Bantamweight
  • Marcel Ritter vs. Kai Calaway: Middleweight
  • Fernando Paz vs. Jeremy Payet: Lightweight
  • Deivis Ferreras vs. Mitchell Thorpe: Lightweight
  • Jo Miyahara vs. Leo Valdivia: Lightweight
  • Maximo Nunez vs. Damian Villa: Bantamweight

Disclosure: Karate Combat is covering the author’s travel expenses to this event.

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About the author
Eddie Mercado
Eddie Mercado

Eddie Mercado is a writer and content creator for Bloody Elbow, and has covered combat sports since 2015. Eddie covers everything from betting odds and live events, to fighter interviews and co-hosting the 6th Round post-fight show and the 6th Round Retro. He retired at 1-0 in professional MMA, competed in one Muay Thai match in Thailand, and is currently a purple belt in Jiu-Jitsu under the great Diego Bispo.

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