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GLORY 32 SuperFight Series: Chopper's Comin'

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After being forced to pull out of a recent bout with Guto Inocente, Chi-Lewis Parry will finally be making his return to the GLORY ring at GLORY 32 on Friday, July 22nd in Virginia against Maurice Greene. That will be an interesting fight as Greene is coming off of a loss to Anderson "Braddock" Silva, but will be looking to dust himself off and take a win from the mouthy Brit. Chopper, on the other hand, he's just always itching for a fight. Francois Ambang returns after making it to the finals of the GLORY 30 qualifying tournament only to lose a close decision to Richard Abraham. 

Brian Collette will once again step into the GLORY ring against Karl Roberson who has had a rather rough go of things of late. The next Super Bantamweight bout will also happen between Funda Alkayis taking on Vanessa De Waele.

Oh yeah, and Shane Oblonsky will be back in action against Giga Chikadze in what is looking to be the best match-up on the entire card thus far. That really should be an incredible fight.

GLORY 32 SuperFight Series

Heavyweight Headline Bout: Chi Lewis-Parry vs. Maurice Greene

Welterweight Co-Headline Bout: Francois Ambang vs. Marcus Fisher

Light Heavyweight Bout: Brian Collette vs. Karl Roberson

Super Bantamweight Bout: Funda Alkayis vs. Vanessa De Waele

Featherweight Bout: Shane Oblonsky vs. Giga Chikadze

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Changes to the GLORY 31 SuperFight Series

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Hot on the heels of the announcement that Iman Barlow was pulling out of the GLORY Super Bantamweight tournament and, subsequently, her bout on June 25th at GLORY 31's SuperFight Series, GLORY has released a revised fight card for the GLORY 31 SuperFight Series. Filling in for Iman Barlow will be reserve fighter Irina Mazepa. Another big change comes to the headline bout of the card, originally slated to be a GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship bout between Mourad Bouzidi challenging champion Artem Vakhitov. 

Vakhitov has been forced to pull out thanks to an injury that he suffered in training and instead Zack Mwekassa will be stepping in to fight Mourad Bouzidi. 

GLORY 31 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight Headline Bout: Zack Mwekassa vs. Mourad Bouzidi

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Josh Jauncey vs. Anatoly Moiseev

Featherweight Bout: Mosab Amrani vs. Eddy Naït-Slimani

Super Bantamweight Bout: Isis Verbeek vs. Irina Mazepa

Welterweight Bout: Máximo Suarez vs. Eyevan Danenberg

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Iman Barlow Pulls Out Of GLORY Super Bantamweight Tournament

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Interesting update following the announcement of the GLORY Super Bantamweight Tournament, as one of the bigger names that was signed has already pulled out. That name is Iman Barlow, the UK-based fighter known as one of the best in the world. Her statement via Facebook points towards a lack of communication.

Unfortunately I have come to a decision that I am not going to be part of the Glory tournament. I was asked to fight on Glory 25th June to which I said Yes. I then later find out via social media that it was a tournament which is above my fight weight class. This was bad communication, I was never told it was at 55.5 or more than one bout. I can not commit to this as I have other commitments to fulfil. I would and am willing to fight Tiffany (as I know many want to see this fight) after the tournament if they want in a one off

Fight, but without signing a long confusing contract. I wish everyone in it the best of luck and I hope it's a great success for Glory. It's an amazing opportunity but for me just came across at the wrong time. 

I hope you all understand.Thanks X

So, according to Barlow, she didn't know the weight class that she was supposed to be competing in, didn't know that it was a tournament and it seems like she didn't understand that the contract with GLORY was a longer term one and not just one fight. This all feels like strange oversight considering how the tournament came together. Possibly her and her team agreeing to a deal without weighing deals she already had in place? Especially considering just the other day she posted a screenshot of the GLORY rankings (with the weight clearly listed) celebrating her #1 spot, she seemed excited about fighting in GLORY and being atop of their division.

This wouldn't be the first false-start that GLORY has seen with well-known muay thai fighters. GLORY had initially announced signing muay thai phenom Kevin Ross only for his previous contract with Lion Fight ultimately getting in the way. Here's to hoping that this gets worked out in the near future and that we're able to see more of Iman Barlow in the near future.

We've reached out to GLORY for comment.

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Ratings Up for GLORY 30 on ESPN2

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After a few disappointing performances for GLORY replays on ESPN2, GLORY 30 came back with stronger numbers. Maybe, in part, thanks to the appearance on ESPN SportsCenter late in the week featuring CEO Jon J. Franklin, Simon Marcus, Dustin Jacoby and Tiffany van Soest. Regardless, GLORY 30 aired on Sunday evening and the numbers were up. 

GLORY 30 on ESPN2 averaged 209,000 viewers at a 9pm time slot for the welterweight tournament, the incredible headkick knockout from Marat Grigorian and Simon Marcus defending his GLORY Middleweight Championship against Dustin Jacoby. [source]

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GLORY 32 Virginia Featuring Adamchuk vs. Varga II

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GLORY continues to march forward with their 2016, while GLORY 31 might be the next show, GLORY 32 takes place on July 22nd in Virginia, featuring a GLORY Featherweight Championship rematch between the new champion Serhiy Adamchuk and former champion Gabriel Varga. Varga lost the title at GLORY 25 to Adamchuk in what was a closely-contested bout that saw its fair share of controversy. Hopefully the rematch between the two is a bit cleaner when it comes to the action.

Varga will definitely be motivated to take his title back while Adamchuk is coming off of a defense of his title over Mosab Amrani at GLORY 28 and stepping in on late notice to fight Mohammed El Mir at Lightweight at GLORY 29 just one month later. 

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GLORY Announces Women's Super Bantamweight Division and Grand Prix

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Today in Los Angeles at a press conference streamed live to the world via Facebook GLORY announced that they would be creating a Women's Super Bantamweight division, the weight at which Tiffany Van Soest fights. It makes sense considering the signing of Van Soest. They've announced a Super Bantamweight Grand Prix, which Van Soest vs. Hasshass is the first quarterfinal bout in said tournament. The second fight will be at GLORY 31 Amsterdam as Isis Verbeek takes on Iman Barlow.

The addition of Barlow is perhaps the other biggest bit of news as she can easily be considered one of the best female fighters in the world. In fact, Steven Wright ranked her as the #2 pound-for-pound woman in the world right now. GLORY has built a ten-woman division, with future match-ups being Zoila Frausto vs. Daniela Graf and Amel Dehby vs. Ji Waen-Lee, while Ferial Ameeroedien vs. Irina Mazepa will serve as the reserve fight.

There are some solid names in there for the division and hopefully this takes off in a big way. You can watch the full announcement below.

We're thrilled to announce a new division with a Grand Prix tournament, tune in LIVE!

Posted by GLORY Kickboxing on Thursday, May 12, 2016

 

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GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven is Considering a Full-Time Move to MMA

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The UFC is in the Netherlands for an event there and that means that the MMA media world has also made its presence shown. MMAJunkie's Mike Bohn is over in the Netherlands posted this video today where he spoke with current GLORY champion Rico Verhoeven.

While there will be some who swarm on the headlines for this that "Rico Verhoeven is going to switch to MMA," nothing is a done deal quite yet. Verhoeven speaks about the possibilities open to him, including saying that Bellator has already expressed interest in his services and that WSOF seems interested. He talks about being excited about MMA because it's so new to him still and he feels that he has a lot to offer. What he does mention is that while his current GLORY deal has ended, there is still a three month negotiation period that they are in the midst of and that he's not technically a free agent until the end of that period. Verhoeven claims that it was a good offer, although he seems to want a bit more.

Having multiple opportunities available to top athletes like Verhoeven is important because it allows for them to have leverage in contract situations. Where Verhoeven ends up is ultimately in his control right now and while he seems interested in the idea of fighting for the UFC, it's unlikely that they make a move for him just yet. Time will only tell where Verhoeven ends up, but my gut tells me that he's not done kickboxing just yet.

As for the Bellator offer? Our bud Stets reached out to Bellator and they denied any sort of offer being made to Verhoeven. 

So time will tell. [source]

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GLORY 31 Card Updated: Ismael Londt vs. Hesdy Gerges

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GLORY released further details on GLORY 31 Amsterdam on Saturday, June 25th. We already knew that Robin van Roosmalen would be defending his GLORY Lightweight Championship against Sitthichai and that there would be a GLORY Welterweight tournament featuring Murthel Groenhart and Karim Benmansour. Now we know more, a lot more. Groenhart will square off against Karim Benmansour in the first round of the tournament while on the other side of the bracket Yoann Kongolo will take on Harut Grigorian. 

The other fight of note is the co-headline bout where Hesdy Gerges returns to the GLORY ring after a lengthy legal battle over an alleged drug trafficking incident. Gerges has been cleared of these charges and is a free man, so GLORY is looking to quickly bring one of the best heavyweights in the world back into the fold by having him square off against GLORY's top heavyweight contender in Ismael Londt. It's interesting to note that Londt will fight Gerges here and not wait for a shot at Verhoeven. 

GLORY 31 Amsterdam

Lightweight Title Headline Bout: Robin van Roosmalen (c) vs. Sittichai

Welterweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Ismael Londt vs. Hesdy Gerges

Welterweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout B: Yoann Kongolo vs. Harut Grigorian

Welterweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout A: Murthel Groenhart vs. Karim Benmansour

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Tiffany Van Soest's New Opponent and Complete Cards For GLORY 30 and SuperFight Series

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There have been some changes for GLORY 30 Los Angeles as the event approaches. As reported prior, Van Soest's original opponent of Jeri Seitz was forced to pull out due to an injury and replacing her will be Esma Hasshass from Morocco, looking to make a name for herself against the debuting Van Soest. On the main card the co-main event is now Marat Grigorian vs. Djime Coulibaly.

GLORY 30 Los Angeles

Middleweight Title Headline Bout: Simon Marcus (c) vs. Dustin Jacoby

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Djimé

Welterweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Welterweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout B: Francois Ambang vs. Daniel Morales

Welterweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout A: Casey Greene vs. Richard Abraham

GLORY 30 SuperFight Series

Middleweight Headline Bout: Joe Schilling vs. Jason Wilnis

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Brian Douwes vs. Guto Inocente

Middleweight Bout: Mike Lemaire vs. Karl Roberson

Light-Heavyweight Bout: Manny Mancha vs. Warren Thompson

Super Bantamweight Bout: Tiffany van Soest vs. Esma Hasshass

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GLORY 29 Ratings: Stiff Competition From NBA Playoffs, UFC and Bellator

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Ben Pontier / GLORY Sports International

This past Saturday was GLORY 29, which was live in the afternoon on ESPN3 here in the United States and was aired via tape delay at 7pm on ESPN2. That start time was moved up from 9pm at almost the last minute, about a day or two prior. Their competition for that day was somehow even worse than the last event, which faced NCAA playoffs. This time around they faced a full day of NBA playoff games, a tape delayed Bellator event on Spike TV and the UFC on Fox event which pulled in over two million viewers.

Bellator itself had over 580,000 viewers, while the NBA games on during GLORY 29 averaged three million apiece. GLORY 29 scored 118,000 viewers after all was said and done, which would be their lowest television ratings to date on American cable. While this number doesn't include DVR numbers, it's still not a great number. The reality here for GLORY is that they need a regular television spot with ESPN2 and hopefully a live broadcast for their events, not tape delay. 

Currently GLORY 30 promotional posters only say "ESPN," not ESPN3 or ESPN2, and don't have a hard and fast start time listed. This would lead me to believe that they are at least working with ESPN2 to get the main card live on ESPN2, which would really be the litmus test to see where they stand. Here's to hoping that happens. [source]

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GLORY 30 SuperFight Series Card is Pretty Crazy

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While the plans for the GLORY 30 main card might not be setting much on fire, the GLORY 30 SuperFight Series is pretty much jam-packed full of interesting fights. As we reported previously, Tiffan Van Soest has signed with GLORY and will make her debut on this card. Her original opponent, Jeri Seitz, has been forced to pull out due to an injury, so they are currently searching for a new opponent for her. Joe Schilling vs. Jason Wilnis will headline the card in a rematch from their pretty crazy fight at GLORY 24 that saw Schilling walk away victorious after Wilnis suffered a foot injury.

Chopper is back, which means that the leadup to this event just got a whole hell of a lot more colorful and we can expect a lot of crazy interviews leading up to his fight against the impressive Guto Inocente. Karl Roberson gets another chance to prove himself against known quantity Mike Lemaire. Warren Thompson fights Manny Mancha as well in a Light Heavyweight bout.

GLORY 30 SuperFight Series

Middleweight Headline Bout: Joe Schilling vs. Jason Wilnis

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Chi Lewis-Parry vs. Guto Inocente

Middleweight Bout: Mike Lemaire vs. Karl Roberson

Light-Heavyweight Bout: Manny Mancha vs. Warren Thompson

GLORY Debut: Tiffany van Soest vs. TBD

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GLORY Announces Matchups for GLORY 31 Amsterdam

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On Saturday, June 25th GLORY returns to Amsterdam with GLORY 31 Amsterdam. The show, headlined by Robin van Roosmalen vs. Sitthichai for the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship was announced this weekend during the broadcast of GLORY 29. Also announced was Mourad Bouzidi challenging new GLORY Light Heavyweight Champion Artem Vakhitov to headline the SuperFight Series portion on UFC Fight Pass. Today GLORY announced that also on the SuperFight Series will be former Featherweight contender Mosab Amrani taking on Eddy Nait-Slimani.

Also featured will be a Welterweight Contender tournament featuring Murthel Groenhart looking for another shot at Holzken as well as Karim Benmansour.

GLORY 31 Amsterdam

Lightweight Title Headline Bout: Robin van Roosmalen (c) vs. Sittichai

Welterweight Contender Tournament Participants: Murthel Groenhart, Karim Benmansour

GLORY 31 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight Title Headline Bout: Artem Vakhitov (c) vs. Mourad Bouzidi

Featherweight Bout: Mosab Amrani vs. Eddy Naït-Slimani

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GLORY 29 and SuperFight Series Live Results

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Here we go! GLORY 29 SuperFight Series is live on Fight Pass and GLORY 29 is live on ESPN 3 at 4pm Eastern, replaying at 7pm Eastern on ESPN2. 

GLORY 29

Welterweight Title: Nieky Holzken (R5 - Decision) Yoann Kongolo

Heavyweight Finals: Ismael Londt (R3 - Decision) Jahfarr Wilnis 

Serhiy Adamchuk (R3 - Decision) Mohammed El-Mir

Semifinal: Ismael Londt (R3 - Decision) Anderson Silva 

Semifinal: Jahfarr Wilnis (R3 - Decision) Kirill Kornilov

GLORY 29 SuperFight Series

Zack Mwekassa (R3 - Decision) Zinedine Hameur-Lain

Tomas Mozny (Ext.R - Decision) Cihad Kepenek

Meran Zangana (R3 - TKO) Jonatan Oliveira

Abou Karim Chorr (R3 - Decision) Rhassan Muhareb

Harut Grigorian (R1 - KO) Maximo Suarez

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Larsen Out - Adamchuk in Against El Mir at GLORY 29

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After a long layoff from competing within the GLORY ring Niclas Larsen was looking to get back into the mix with a bout against Mohammed El Mir. If you'll remember back to GLORY 22 he was slated to fight Josh Jauncey in the Lightweight tournament until he was forced to pull out with a nasty staph infection. Now just days out from GLORY 29 he's been forced to pull out of yet another fight due to what is being said to be another infection. Truly an unfortunate incident for a promising young fighter who has a bright future ahead of him.

Thankfully GLORY Featherweight Champion Serhiy Adamchuk has stepped up on short notice and taken the fight against El Mir. This is a weight class up for Adamchuk, but this wouldn't be the first time that he's stepped up in weight on short notice to take a fight, either. Last year at GLORY 22 he stepped in against Marat Grigorian and was able to defeat the top lightweight contender before Adamchuk went on to successfully challenge for the GLORY Featherweight Championship. 

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GLORY Announces GLORY 30 Welterweight Tournament

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The card for GLORY 30 Los Angeles is starting to take shape. The GLORY SuperFight Series will be headlined by Joe Schilling rematching Jason Wilnis and will see the debut of Tiffany Van Soest, which leaves us with the GLORY 30 main card. The main event for GLORY 20 is Simon Marcus defending the GLORY Middleweight Championship against Dustin Jacoby and thanks to a press release from the promotion this afternoon, we learn that also on the card will be a Welterweight Qualification tournament.

These qualification tournaments operate different than contender tournaments. A contender tournament assures a shot at the champion while a qualification tournament assures a spot in a future contender tournament. This tournament is a qualification tournament featuring Casey Greene, Richard Abraham, Francois Ambang and Daniel Morales.

GLORY 30 Los Angeles

Middleweight Title Headline Bout: Simon Marcus (c) vs. Dustin Jacoby

Welterweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Welterweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout B: Francois Ambang vs. Daniel Morales

Welterweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout A: Casey Greene vs. Richard Abraham

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Heavyweights Vie for Supremacy at GLORY 29

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This weekend in Copenhagen we'll see GLORY's heavyweight division on display yet again as four men will vie for a shot at GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven. While Verhoeven has been in the press peppering shots at the ever-troubled Badr Hari, his next challenge is most likely the winner of this tournament and not Badr Hari. The heavyweight division has changed a lot in the past few years since the formation of GLORY. What once featured some of the biggest names in the industry has seen quite a churn of late with Verhoeven at top and challengers like Errol Zimmerman and Benjamin Adegbuyi fall to the wayside at Verhoeven's hands.

Here's a breakdown of the four men in this tournament.

Jahfarr Wilnis -- Easily an early favorite heading into this, he was the runner-up of the last tournament that GLORY ran. An exhausted Wilnis found an extremely prepared Adegbuyi simply too much to contend with in the oppressive Denver elevation. Wilnis has been making a name for himself mostly outside of the GLORY ring, though, currently holding the Kunlun Heavyweight Championship as well as the Enfusion Heavyweight Championship. He actually holds a recent loss in Kunlun to top prospect Roman Kryklia, but his win in Enfusion over Ismael Laazar is freshest in everyone's memories. Wilnis is a tough and very much on the way up.

Anderson Silva -- Braddock has been a name within the division for years, but his chance at the top has always somehow just fallen out of reach for him. Braddock is the guy that when you check out his accolades, you see the term "runner-up" a lot. He's never shied away from a fight and has fought the best in the world at every step of the way. To say that he's ready to finally get his shot is an understatement. The only problem is that at times he'll fight a bit tentatively, which he can't do against Ismael Londt.

Ismael Londt -- Ismael Londt is a guy who has been a top ten guy and a guy residing on the fringes for a while now. Much like Braddock, he's had a few close calls of being on top, including making it to the finals of the 2012 K-1 World Grand Prix against Mirko Cro Cop in Croatia and, well, you finish that sentence for me, because if you don't knock out Cro Cop in Croatia you aren't winning. His most notable fight of late has been against Badr Hari in the ever-questionable Akhmat ring. He was able to knock Badr Hari down, but Hari roared back with warlord Kadyrov shouting at him to drop Londt multiple times to end the fight. Londt is making a fresh start in GLORY and has the chance to be the very, very top guy in the division.

Kirill Kornilov -- Kornilov is the kind of fighter that many fans aren't going to know a damned thing about, but might walk away impressed with him, win, lose or draw. He's been fighting mostly in Russia, but has experience in larger promotions like Tatneft and Kunlun. This is a big step up for him, especially against Jahfarr Wilnis, but it's safe to say that he has the right tools to take him far in the division. He's going to want to make a big impression on his debut, but many aren't expecting much out of him. That leaves the door wide open to burst onto the scene, though. 

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Tiffany Van Soest Signs with GLORY, Plus Schilling vs. Wilnis II at GLORY 30 SFS

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When Tiffany Van Soest's splinter away from Lion Fight became public knowledge the assumption was that she'd end up somewhere else. In the past she had expressed a desire to move into MMA, which her contract with Lion Fight prevented, and the whole debocle with her winning a championship and having pay issues seemed to be the final nail in the coffin of the relationship between the two parties. Speculation was that Scott Coker's Bellator Kickboxing would be hungry to scoop up a talent like Van Soest, especially with fighters like Denise Kielholtz, a former opponent of Van Soest's, under contract.

We heard rumblings about GLORY entering the female fight arena at some point in the near future, but not to this extent. Today an image leaked out via Twitter of Tiffany Van Soest on the poster for GLORY 30. While no opponent or formal fight was on there just yet, it reads that she'll be a special debut, meaning she should be at least at the show. MMAFighting ran a story on the tweet and we independently confirmed with GLORY officials that Van Soest has indeed signed to the GLORY roster. 

Interestingly enough, the leaked image also shows another fight of interest for GLORY 30 Los Angeles, with that fight being Joe Schilling vs. Jason Wilnis headlining the SuperFight Series. We've yet to get confirmation on this one just yet, but since it's on paper it seems like a pretty decent chance of this happening. 

UPDATE 4/8: Van Soest is confirmed for GLORY 30 in a rematch with Jeri Sitzes. The fight will take place on the SuperFight Series airing live on Fight Pass.

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The Life of Zack Mwekassa Continues to Be Insanity

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If there would be one thing that you could say about the life of GLORY Light Heavyweight Zack Mwekassa it is that it has been a storied one. Another chapter in that storied life apparently almost kept him from hopping on a plane this week to head towards Copenhagen for GLORY 29. So what exactly happened? It involved a gun, a misfire, a failed carjacking and a stolen passport. 

According to our friend over at BloodyElbow, John Joe O'Regan this happened about a week ago and saw carjackers surround Mwekassa on his way home from the gym, pulling a gun on him and attempting to take his BMW and everything else on him. Here's what Mwekassa had to say about it:

"So they stopped me, they came to the car, opened the door and put a gun my head. They searched my car and me; they took my money. Then the guy with the gun tried to shoot me. The gun clicked, nothing happened. He started to mess with it and the magazine dropped out. That's the second time [criminals] have tried to kill me in South Africa.

"So then they went away. After they left I looked to see what they had taken; I realized they had also taken my passport. It was a really sad moment for me because my passport is from Congo not South Africa and Congo isn't delivering passports at the moment. I thought I would have to cancel the fight. And because it would take some months to get a new passport, probably I would miss more than one fight."

Crazily enough, after offering a $1,000 reward for the return of the passport it was returned to him and everything worked out, but damn, has this guy seen it all, huh? Check out the entirety of the story over at BloodyElbow.

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Russian Heavyweight Kirill Kornilov Rounds out GLORY 29 Heavyweight Tournament

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GLORY 29's heavyweight tournament is finally complete, after weeks of speculation, with GLORY bringing a new fighter into the mix. Today they announced that Kirill Kornilov will be the fourth man in the GLORY 29 heavyweight contender's tournament. Kornilov is a 24-year old prospect who is perhaps best known for his appearances in Tatneft in Russia as well as an appearance in Kunlun. The 6'4, 7-1 fighter will be making his debut against one of the best heavyweights in the world in Jahfarr Wilnis, the current holder of both the Kunlun and Enfusion heavyweight championships, respectively, with hopes of moving on in the tournament and earning a shot at Rico Verhoeven.

Here's a look at the full card as it stands.

GLORY 29 Copenhagen

Welterweight Title Headline Bout: Nieky Holzken (c) vs. Yoann Kongolo

Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Niclas Larsen vs. Mohammed El-Mir

Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout B: Anderson Silva vs. Ismael Londt

Heavyweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout A: Jahfarr Wilnis vs. Kirill Kornilov

GLORY 29 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight Headline Bout: Zack Mwekassa vs. Zinedine Hameur-Lain

Heavyweight Bout: Cihad Kepenek vs. Tomas Mozny

Welterweight Bout: Jonatan Oliveira vs. Meran Zangana

Lightweight Bout: Rhassan Muhareb vs. Abdou Karim Chorr

Welterweight Bout: Harut Grigorian vs. Maximo Suarez

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GLORY 28 ESPN Ratings See Dip Thanks to NCAA Action

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Do you have March Madness? I sure know that I don't, but I'm weird and don't really follow sports outside of ones where people punch and kick each other, so your mileage may vary. What I do know is that a lot of people get pretty obsessed with college basketball around this time of year and that much was for certain this past weekend when ESPN2 found a spot for GLORY 28 at 9pm eastern on Sunday. 

Weeks after the event happened and there was an ESPN3 live stream we finally got a basic cable airing of GLORY 28 and the ratings weren't spectacular. Then again, the competition was a NCAA showdown between Notre Dame and North Carolina which pulled in over 10 million viewers. A lot of factors went into the ratings for GLORY 28 coming in at 133,000 this time around and honestly, I'm not concerned. There was just a new deal announced between the two and we can look forward to some events even airing live on ESPN2. [source]

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GLORY 29 SuperFight Series Headlined by Zack Mwekassa

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On April 16th GLORY will present GLORY 29, with the main card headlined by Nieky Holzken defending the GLORY Welterweight Championship against Yoann Kongolo. While there will be some top notch action on the GLORY 29 main card, the GLORY 29 SuperFight Series has come together quite nicely as well, featuring a few interesting debuts as well as a main event that promises action. Zack Mwekassa will square off against Zinedine Hameur-Lain.

The co-main of the SFS is also quite a fight of note, as the ever-exciting Spanish lightweight Maximo Suarez will be facing a debuting Harut Grigorian.

GLORY 29 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight Headline Bout: Zack Mwekassa vs. Zinedine Hameur-Lain

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Harut Grigorian vs. Maximo Suarez

Heavyweight Bout: Cihad Kepenek vs. Tomas Mozny

Welterweight Bout: Alex Harris vs. Jonatan Oliveira

Lightweight Bout: Rhassan Muhareb vs. Abou Karim Chorr

 

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Simon Marcus vs. Dustin Jacoby Announced for GLORY 30 Los Angeles

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While GLORY 29 might still be a few weeks away that doesn't mean that we can't look forward to the future. That future is on May 13th in Los Angeles for GLORY 30 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena. Newly-crowned GLORY Middleweight Champion Simon Marcus will defend his title against newly-minted contender in Dustin Jacoby. Jacoby has clawed his way up the rankings within the division before winning this last tournament to earn his shot at the title, making huge strides in the few years he's competed as a kickboxer to be considered one of the best at his weight.

This should be an interesting battle for the title and really we'll see GLORY's first real homegrown star vie for a championship.

Also announced for the event is a Light Heavyweight contender's tournament.

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GLORY Announces Jahfarr Wilnis, Anderson Silva and Ismael Londt for GLORY 29 Heavyweight Tournament

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Kickboxing fans can rejoice because while Rico Verhoeven might seem like an unstoppable force, there will be opposition for him and it will be chosen from a pool of some of the very top heavyweights in the world today. Today GLORY announces that the GLORY 29 Heavyweight Contender tournament will feature Enfusion and Kunlun Heavyweight Champion Jahfarr Wilnis, top contender Anderson "Braddock" Silva and the newly-signed Ismael Londt. The fourth name has yet to be announced.

This heavyweight tournament is in addition to the previously announced headline bout between Yoanna Kongolo challenging for Nieky Holzken's Welterweight Championship and a lightweight showdown between Niclas Larsen and Mohammed El Mir.

GLORY 29 Copenhagen takes place on Saturday, April 16th live from Copenhagen, Denmark and will be airing live on ESPN3 in the United States.

GLORY 29 Copenhagen

Welterweight Title Headline Bout: Nieky Holzken (c) vs. Yoann Kongolo

Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Niclas Larsen vs. Mohammed El-Mir

Heavyweight Contender Tournament Participants: Ismael Londt, Anderson Silva, Jahfarr Wilnis

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A Look at the Truly SUPER GLORY 28 SuperFight Series

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The consensus on GLORY 28 is that it’s one of the most packed GLORY cards of all-time, but by looking at the main card alone you wouldn’t get that impression. Sure, GLORY 28’s main card is good, but where the show really shines is in the undercard, dubbed the SuperFight Series. The SuperFight Series will be airing on UFC’s Fight Pass platform and, in a way, GLORY is putting their best foot forward on Fight Pass this time around with two world title fights and three incredible fights on top of that.

As a fan of kickboxing I’m perhaps more excited for the SuperFight Series than I am for the main card. Sure, the main card is great, but there is so much going on here that it’s hard to NOT want to talk about it.

GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship: Saulo Cavalari(C) vs. Artem Vakhitov

Honestly, I’m not sure why this fight isn’t on the main card outside of looking to give the SFS an incredible main event. Sure, fans were really itching for Gokhan Saki to get back into the ring, but I’m almost more excited about what the division looks like without Saki than what it looks like with him. Artem Vakhitov is a skilled, exciting young fighter and Saulo Cavalari has been running roughshod over this division in Saki’s absence. 

While to some that means nothing, I assure you that it means a lot. Saki is a great fighter and a famous name from K-1, but there seems to be a division of fans who refuse to give Cavalari his due simply because he hasn’t fought Saki yet. Saki pulled out of this fight, the official reason was injury, but there have been questions as to what injury it was and if there might be, or if this is some sort of contract situation. Either way Saki isn’t getting any younger and his ability to earn money continues to dwindle with the more time he’s away from the ring fighting the best of the best. 

While I think that Vakhitov poses an interesting challenge for Cavalari, the Cavalari that we’ve seen grow and evolve in the GLORY ring is a complete fighter that will do what it takes to retain his title.

Xavier Vigney vs. Freddy Kemayo

As an American, Xavier Vigney has had to prove himself time and time again to be taken seriously. His professional career started in the K-1 ring against a veteran fighter in Seth Petruzelli and ever since then he’s had some degree of spotlight on him, although there have always been lingering doubts. Heavyweight was once the big money weight in kickboxing, but now things may have shifted just a bit. Since that intense focus on heavyweight isn’t there anymore, GLORY has been able to take things slowly with Vigney before pushing him into the deepest waters and seeing if he’ll sink or swim.

The incremental challenges that they’ve been giving him have all proven to be stuff that he can handle and while his style isn’t exactly explosive, Rico Verhoeven’s style wasn’t explosive or refined in his earlier days and he turned into an amazing talent. I’m not sure that Vigney will reach the same heights, but there is always the potential. Daniel Sam was considered a step up in competition for Vigney and he handled it with poise and a cool head. Now Freddy Kemayo is his next step up. Kemayo is a well known fighter who has always been on the fringe of the top of the division, perhaps best known as the guy who got body-bagged by Anderson “Braddock” Silva back in 2010 in one of the best high kick KO’s of all time. 

That being said, Kemayo is still a tough fighter and while things haven’t exactly been sunshine for him of late, stopping Vigney dead in his path towards kickboxing elitedom would be a feather in his cap and a reason for people to start taking him seriously again.

But, I think Vigney has this. 

GLORY Featherweight Championship: Serhiy Adamchuk(C) vs. Mosab Amrani

At this point I feel for the GLORY Featherweight Championship. Unless Mosab is able to wrest the title away from Adamchuk’s defensive grasp here the title’s interest level might drop below zero. Adamchuk is a talented, skilled fighter, but to be frank, his performances in the GLORY ring have been abysmal to watch. The way that he won the title was shameful, to say the least, in perhaps one of GLORY’s worst title fights to date.

As a fan, I have no reason to want to watch Adamchuk anymore now that I know what he’s prepared to do to hold that title. Outside of referee interference on the level of Artem/Marcus there is little chance of this fight being something worth watching. I say that as someone well aware of what Mosab is capable of and how he’s been consistently one of the most exciting, watchable fighters of the past five years. 

Adamchuk by smothering and rabbit punches.

Jason Wilnis vs. Filip Verlinden

This is a really interesting fight, especially with the prospect of Artem Levin gone from the Middleweight division and things opening up a bit. Wilnis was last in the ring against Joe Schilling, forced to stop fighting due to an injury after having Joe in some serious trouble. Sure, Joe was working him over pretty hard early on, but Wilnis fought back and had Joe wobbling into the ropes before the injury and having to call the fight.

Needless to say, Wilnis is showing a lot of promise and could be a major player in the division. Verlinden is a guy that early on was shoved anywhere that he was needed, but now he finally seems comfortable at Middleweight, although he’s still taking random Light Heavyweight fights. Verlinden has a rather unremarkable-yet-functional style that has gotten him to where he is today. I think that Wilnis probably takes this, but Verlinden can never be counted out.

Josh Jauncey vs. Johan Tkac

Tkac is stepping up on short notice to fight Jauncey, which is admirable, but Jauncey has gotten the name recognition that he has now because of just how good of a young fighter he really is. The fight with Petrosyan showed a ton of promise and honestly, I just look forward to continue watching Jauncey grow into one of the best fighters in the weight division.

Jauncey takes it.

Maykol Yurk vs. Eddy Naït-Slimani

Maykol burst onto the scene at GLORY 26 with a huge win over Shane Oblonsky before putting up a courageous fight against Mosab before tasting bitter, bitter defeat. Now he gets a challenge that is a bit more manageable for him in Eddy Nait-Slimani. Eddy is a capable, aggressive fighter with a thai style that should make for fireworks here. I think that Maykol takes it but that it won’t be easy.

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GLORY 28 Breakdown; or, Will Sitthichai Rise Again?

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This Saturday, live on ESPN3, will be the biggest GLORY event of 2016 to date with GLORY 28. GLORY 28 is headlined by a bout for the GLORY Heavyweight Championship between dominant champion Rico Verhoeven and challenger Mladen Brestovac. The co-headliner is the man who came so close to dethroning Nieky Holzken in Murthel Groenhart as he begins that ascent back up the ladder to challenge Holzken again by taking on Cedric Doumbe of France. 

GLORY’s Lightweight division might be the one stacked with the most talent on on Saturday we’ll have a new contender for the GLORY Lightweight Championship after four men vie for that role in a one-night tournament. Former champion Davit Kiria will have a chance at redemption for himself as he once again takes on Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong and Marat Grigorian will take on Anatoly Moiseev.

There’s a lot going on here. 

GLORY Heavyweight Championship: Rico Verhoeven(C) vs. Mladen Brestovac

There was a time when we all thought that Rico Verhoeven would be a meddling heavyweight who would never realize his full potential. Just kind of a technical deer-in-the-headlights who knew what he was doing, but never put it all together. The Rico Verhoeven that we know now in 2016 is an entirely different fighter. He’s the fully-realized, real deal of a heavyweight champion. I’m not sure who in GLORY’s heavyweight division has the ability to overcome Verhoeven. Errol’s last showing wasn’t exactly inspiring of confidence, so the question now is who will be the man to usurp the newly-crowned king of kickboxing?

Mladen Brestovac would like to be that guy. Really, it’s difficult to say exactly where Brestovac is in the pantheon of heavyweights right now, with two losses to Benjamin Adegbuyi and a loss to recent signee Ismael Londt. That being said, at GLORY 14 he crushed serious contender and dual-champion (Kunlun and Enfusion) Jahfarr Wilnis with a high kick. Brestovac has been on the European circuit for many years, focusing more on Eastern Europe, away from most of the much-hyped Dutch fighters such as Verhoeven. Over the past few years Brestovac has emerged as a force of nature within this division and while, yes, Adegbuyi did fail twice, styles make fights. 

Brestovac is not as aggressive as Benny, plus he has a better gas tank in most of his fights. While his style is not entirely remarkable, if at times a tad bit too defensive, he has solid instincts of when to pounce and when to hold back. While not as famous as Cro Cop’s, his left high kick is something to fear and has taken the scalps of many of his opponents. This all could make for a technical fight that doesn’t exactly provide fireworks, but the title of the top heavyweight in the world is up for grabs, so caution could be thrown to the wind and the gloves and kicks could start flying with ferocity.

I’ve still got Rico winning this.

Murthel Groenhart vs. Cedric Doumbe

No offense intended towards Mr. Doumbe, but the purpose of this fight is to showcase Murthel Groenhart. Groenhart came so close to dethroning Nieky Holzken that one wonders why he hasn’t been tapped for an immediate rematch. This fight seems like a bone thrown his way to get him back on the winning path. That being said, Groenhart has not always been entirely motivated in situations like these and Cedric Doumbe is a French fighter in front of a French crowd, if he could steal a win here this could be huge for his career.

I’ve still got Murthel, though.

GLORY Lightweight Contender’s Tournament

Sitthichai vs. Davit Kiria

Ah, here we are again. Sitthichai should, by most metrics, already be the GLORY Lightweight Champion, yet here he is, forced to run through another tournament for another shot at Robin van Roosmalen. In a way, it’s sort of a shame, but that just seems to be how GLORY operates. Sitthichai is easily the favorite for this tournament, but that seems to overlook the former GLORY Lightweight Champion Davit Kiria.

To say that Kiria’s career has been spotted of late is an understatement. He’s got two losses in a row in the GLORY ring, although in between those were wins in Kunlun. Kiria and Sitthichai met in the last GLORY contender tournament and it ended with Kiria huddled over in pain from a knee in the second round. I’d like to say that Kiria bounced back strong since then. He did bounce back with a win over David Calvo in China in what was a strong performance against the tough Calvo, but then he fell to Enriko Gogokhia in December. A win here would be the world for Kiria, but I’m not sure that it happens. Styles make fights and Sitthichai seems to have his number.

Sitthichai takes this.

Marat Grigorian vs. Anatoly Moiseev

Marat Grigorian should have probably been in that last tournament, but thankfully, he’s here. The lack of Jauncey or Petrosyan does detract a bit from this tournament, but I’m happy to see Grigorian getting his due. Anatoly Moiseev should be considered serious competition for anyone within the division. He's been a well known quantity for years now and the prospect of these two mixing it up has me incredibly excited. But, this still feel's like Marat's fight.

Marat takes it. Setting up...

Marat Grigorian vs. Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong

A rematch from December, which saw Sitthichai take a decision victory over Marat, this is a huge fight if we do, indeed get this as the finals. Both men exemplify where the lightweight division is right now and where it’s heading and I’m looking forward to seeing them lock horns. A lot of this fight will depend on who is more tired and who took more damage. I’d give Sitthichai a slight edge in a standard fight, but for a second fight of the evening, who knows?

I think that Sitthichai takes it, but I’d love to be proven wrong. 

GLORY 28 is shaping up to be an awesome card, look back for a peek into the GLORY SuperFight Series tomorrow.

 

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ESPN3 Airing GLORY 28 Live at 4pm Eastern on Saturday

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This Saturday in Paris, France we'll see one of GLORY's best cards to date with GLORY 28. GLORY 28 will be airing live on ESPN3 at 4pm Eastern on Saturday (remember, ESPN3 is their web platform) and will be replayed Sunday night at 9pm Eastern on ESPN2. That means that the GLORY SuperFight Series card will be airing live on UFC Fight Pass at 1:30pm Eastern time.

GLORY 28 Paris (Live on ESPN3 at 4 p.m. ET)

Heavyweight Title Headline Bout: Rico Verhoeven (c) vs. Mladen Brestovac

Lightweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Welterweight Co-Headline Bout: Murthel Groenhart vs. Cédric Doumbé

Lightweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout B: Marat Grigorian vs. Djimé

Lightweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout A: Sittichai vs. Davit Kiria

GLORY SuperFight Series Paris (Live on UFC FIGHT PASS at 1 p.m. ET)

Light Heavyweight Title Headline Bout: Saulo Cavalari (c) vs. Artem Vakhitov

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Freddy Kemayo vs. Xavier Vigney

Featherweight Title Bout: Serhiy Adamchuk (c) vs. Mosab Amrani

Middleweight Bout: Jason Wilnis vs. Filip Verlinden

Lightweight Bout: Josh Jauncey vs. Johan Tkac

Featherweight Bout: Maykol Yurk vs. Eddy Naït-Slimani

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Two Lightweight Bouts Added to GLORY 29 Copenhagen

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GLORY continues to forge forward into 2016 with strong cards and has gone ahead and made GLORY 29 Copenhagen just a bit better with the addition of two new lightweight bouts, introducing some new talent into the GLORY mix. GLORY newcomer Mohammed El Mir will be squaring off against Niclas Larsen in the co-headline bout of the evening, while on the SuperFight Series the brother of Shemshi Beqiri, Hysni, will be fighting GLORY newcomer, Harut Grigorian. Harut Grigorian has been fighting the best for a while now and makes for a sound addition to the GLORY roster.

This bolstering of GLORY's already-strongest division adds new depth that will be paying dividends for a long time coming. 

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GLORY 27 Ratings Up on ESPN2 to 225,000

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(C) James Law/GLORY Sports International

Over the weekend we learned that GLORY and ESPN have inked a long term deal that will see GLORY kickboxing continue to air on ESPN platforms for the next few years. We've been promised future live cards on ESPN2, as opposed to ESPN3 live and delayed on ESPN2, and honestly, things are starting to look up for the promotion. While the ratings on ESPN2 thus far haven't been incredible, they haven't been bad, either, when compared to other programming in the same spot, historically. 

GLORY 25 drew 198,000 viewers for a late night spot, GLORY 26 was hurt a bit by going head-to-head with the NFL during the playoffs for 168,000, but came back strong with GLORY 27 scoring 225,000 viewers on a Sunday night. This was on Sunday evening at 9pm Eastern time and was, of course, a replay, so that's pretty good if you ask me. Here's to only seeing bigger and better things from both ESPN and GLORY in the future. [source]

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GLORY 27: Artem Levin Storms Out Mid-Match After Uneven Refereeing

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There is a new GLORY Middleweight Champion and it absolutely didn't happen in the way that you'd expect a title change to happen.

So what exactly happened? It's a bit difficult to explain, really. If you know Simon Marcus and Artem Levin you know their styles and know that clinching plays a huge part in how they both fight. Their previous two fights have been incredibly clinch-heavy, to the point where the last fight ended in a draw because these guys were just so closely-matched and clinching the hell out of each other. That is exactly what I expected of this fight and when it started that is what happened.

Then, while Marcus was pushing Levin towards the ropes in the corner in the first round, something happened and Levin fell out of the ring. Usually this is where time is paused and as long as it wasn't 100% intentional (perhaps it was? I didn't see it like that, though), and both fighters are re-squared up and the fight keeps going. Instead, referee Al Wichgers called a down and was counting Artem Levin out like it was a professional wrestling bout. It wasn't, it was a five-round world title fight between two of the world's best fighters. 

Levin was visibly deterred by this and he had ever reason to be. Al Wichgers just took a fight that Levin was most likely winning the first round in and handed it to Simon Marcus. As I said before, both men clinch -- A LOT -- which suits their preferred style of muay thai. In the second round there were a lot of clinches happening, initiated by both men, while Wichgers was constantly breaking them up. Neither man was really doing much inside of the clinch and were just waiting for breaks. Wichgers lost his temper and took a point from Levin, putting Levin behind even further on the score cards. Levin was visibly upset, talking to his corner and not paying attention when Marcus jumped onto him to keep the fight going. 

Wichgers warned Levin that he was going to disqualify him. Now, what I want to note here is that both men clinch heavily and that both guys were deserving of warnings throughout the fight. It wasn't like Levin was the lone villain here clinching and trying to bend the rules. Marcus received none of the attention that Levin got from Wichgers here and going into the third round things felt off. The fight got going again, only for Wichgers to once again break them up multiple times and to take another point from Levin. At this point Levin can see the inevitable; he has lost this fight without a doubt, needing a knockout to win. Even if he knocked Marcus down in the remaining rounds one time each that wouldn't be enough to win the fight. 

In a fight that was so closely-contested scoring a knockout is pretty tough, especially considering how their styles canceled each other out. Levin and his corner made a decision and walked out of the ring, leaving Marcus as the winner and a lot of fans upset and confused as to what went down. 

The referee's job is to ensure fighter safety and that rules are adhered to. Throughout the night we had the usual refereeing problems like downs not being properly called and fights stopped rather late. Wichgers was most likely told to stay vigilant during this fight, but everything that he did showed an inherent bias towards one fighter and at times manipulated the rules towards whatever his call was going to be. If you want to break up clinches, great, do that, keep the action flowing, but apply that evenly to both fighters.

Both Simon Marcus and Artem Levin are amazing, talented fighters, two of the best, and they deserved to settle their beef in the ring. That didn't happen here and I'll be shocked if I see Levin ever fight in the GLORY ring again, maybe not in the United States again. He'll always have a home in Russia where he's revered and the Chinese market is heating up to the point where someone like him will be given the red carpet treatment. 

As for Marcus, he's the champion, but I'm not sure that winning it in such a manner is really what he wanted. 

What's funny is that I absolutely cannot blame Artem Levin for walking out here. 

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GLORY Details New ESPN Deal

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GLORY has been working with ESPN for their last three events now, with GLORY 27 just about to get underway here on ESPN3 (airing on ESPN2 on delay). Their biggest announcement tonight was that the promotion has secured a multi-year deal with ESPN that for now includes live on ESPN3, delayed on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, but eventually they will be airing live on ESPN2 and ESPN3, hopefully in the near future.

This multi-year deal is a sigh of relief for a lot of fans and insiders, as GLORY was working on a short term deal with ESPN while they worked on a longer one, with many fearing that the promotion would be stuck on ESPN3 at best. Being live on ESPN2 should be great for them and shows a commitment from ESPN moving forward. 

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