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GLORY Suspends Jamal Ben Saddik

  • Published in Glory

On June 29th in Azerbaijan GLORY fighters Jamal Ben Saddik and Hesdy Gerges clashed in a non-GLORY ring where the outcome saw a frustrated Jamal Ben Saddik take Gerges to the mat and begin viciously attacking him as if it were in MMA rules. Of course, it wasn't, it was kickboxing rules and a "GLORY-ranked" fight. Since the incident occurred we've been hearing that Jamal Ben Saddik would be released by the organization, but there was radio silence on the issue until today.

Today GLORY released a statement announcing that Jamal Ben Saddik has been handed down a six month suspension, during which time his GLORY contract is set to expire and GLORY has opted not to renew that contract. That means that Ben Saddik is effectively out of the organization and out of action for the next few months. 

“GLORY will on occasion give permission to fighters to take part in third-party events. But when they do so, they are still bound by GLORY rules and regulations, this is part of the agreement,” said Cor Hemmers, Head of Talent Operations.

“In their contracts with GLORY, fighters agree to abide by the company’s rules and regulations. Failure to do so is a breach of their agreement with the company and leaves the fighter open to disciplinary action.

“Mr. Ben Saddik breached his agreement with GLORY and also conducted himself in a manner liable to bring the sport into disrepute. For this reason a multi-department disciplinary panel was convened, leading to today’s action against Mr. Ben Saddik.” [source]

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GLORY Appoints New CEO, Next Show in October

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Things have been quiet on the GLORY front, which to many has been a bad sign, but we've been hearing reports from within the company about "big things" happening, including some shifts. The first of those shifts was announced today when GLORY unveiled that Jon J. Franklin has been appointed as the new CEO for the organization, replacing Andrew Whitaker. Whitaker will remain with the organization in an advisory role, working mostly with the television aspect of the brand.

Jon J. Franklin, based out of Denver, has been working with GLORY for a while now with his company, The Sports Entertainment Company. Franklin has also served in senior roles for IMG-Media, was President of Golden Gloves Boxing and worked with AP-X. His extensive history within the realm of boxing can only help GLORY further at this point. 

Some might be concerned over the change at this point, especially after a period of relative silence, but this is actually a good thing. This shows that GLORY is thinking to the future and that they are looking to revise their direction for the future. As someone who worked previously within the world of corporate PR and IR, CEO changes are a very common occurrence in many organizations, with the idea being to keep fresh ideas and direction for organizations. 

Also, according to an interview given to MMAMania, Franklin stated that they would be returning in October, which aligns with a statement we received from within GLORY about a month ago.

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Watch Joe Schilling do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been all over social media for the past few weeks. The idea is to dump a bucket of ice water over your head, then call out three friends to do it themselves, all in the name of raising awareness and donating money for research into Lou Gehrig's Disease/ALS. We've seen it catch fire in the MMA world of late, now Joe Schilling of GLORY fame is taking the challenge and damn does he have a list of names that he calls out afterwards.

It's also awesome because his two sons, whom he'll usually lovingly refer to on Instagram as "Thing #1" and "Thing #2," take the challenge as well. His youngest son, Jax, is pretty endearing to watch try to run away from it, while Lil Joe takes it like a champ.

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Adidas Signs GLORY Fighter Wayne Barrett to Sponsorship Deal

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GLORY competitor Wayne Barrett has been making a lot of waves since he joined the promotion in 2013, his kickboxing career has been on the rise and he's been one of the young American stars to be on the lookout for. He recently competed in GLORY's Last Man Standing tournament where he had a strong showing, defeating Bogdan Stoica before dropping a contested decision to rival Joe Schilling. 

Barrett inks his first big sponsorship deal with American sports apparel brand adidas, with the future looking bright for the young athlete.

“When I started to fight, the biggest thing that drove me was being around those that have been through the fire and still stood tall. When adidas offered me to chance to be part of the family, I knew that this was a company that would stand by me as an athlete,” said Wayne “Afro Samurai” Barrett. “Remaking yourself and staying ahead of the competition is what a fighter has to do in order to be on top. adidas has long been a force behind the  world of combat sports and martial arts and continues to stay on top of its game. I plan on doing the same.”

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Jarrell Miller Handed CSAC Suspension After Failed Drug Test

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This is definitely a first for GLORY in the United States, but the results from the drug testing has come back and one athlete from the GLORY 17/Last Man Standing event has tested positive for banned substances and has been issued a fine and suspension. The athlete in question was GLORY 17 main eventer Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller. The news comes from MMAJunkie's Steven Marracco via Twitter.

The drug in question, methylhexanamine, was primarily created as a nasal decongestant but has found its place among athletes as an appetite suppressor and metabolism booster. It was first listed as a banned substance in 2009, but is still up for debate in many places, with there being no clear cohesion across the sports world as to how to handle that. Methylhexanamine is still found in many over-the-counter supplements, which is what we assume was the case here.

Miller has been suspended for 9 months and faces a $2500 penalty. We've reached out to Miller for comment and will keep you posted.

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Analyzing GLORY's Champions: Davit Kiria

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Man, if you are like me, you are kind of dying at this dry spell that we are going through with kickboxing right now. There is still stuff going down, but there is a decided lack of big events to get worked up over right now. So it’s time to start taking a long, hard look at the best fighters in the business today and if we think that they can hold onto their top spots. 

First up: Davit Kiria, GLORY Lightweight Champion

GLORY’s Lightweight division is probably one of the most stacked divisions in the world today. The 70kg range has always been talent-rich, thanks in part to K-1 relying upon the K-1 MAX division for years. But right now especially, it feels like as good as any one fighter is in the division, there is a line-up of guys that could probably defeat him. 

Davit Kiria was never a guy that we would have pegged to become GLORY’s Lightweight Champion. That’s not a knock against him as much as it is indicative of how deep the division really is. Kiria is a skilled guy, but his losses to both Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin van Roosmalen led to many doubting him. So when he went into GLORY 14 against Andy Ristie, the guy who knocked both of those men out in one night, not many expected him to walk out as the champion.

Then kickboxing magic happened and Kiria shocked the world, knocking out Andy Ristie in the fifth round. It was insanity and we had an unlikely champion of a guy who was considered “fourth best” to RvR, Petrosyan and Ristie. That is how stacked this division is. We have a good feeling that Robin van Roosmalen will get a shot at Kiria’s title soon (it was originally slated for August, actually), so the question is: Can Davit Kiria hold onto the GLORY Lightweight Championship.

The answer is: yes, but not for long. That title is going to be a hot potato for a while unless Petrosyan can stop injuring his hand. I think that Kiria has the skills to defeat Robin van Roosmalen, but it also goes the other way just as easily. In a five round fight we’ve seen that Kiria’s slow-starting style is perhaps best-served under these conditions and he’ll potentially be able to shine against Robin van Roosmalen.

But then when you have to face down a murderer’s row in Lightweight, it seems inevitable that someone will defeat him at some point. Whomever that is will also face the same exact challenges that Kiria faces now, knowing that the title probably won’t be secure for long. That makes GLORY’s Lightweight division so exciting right now; you don’t know who will end up on top. 

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Spike TV Airing GLORY Last Man Standing on August 8th

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Interesting note here, that on last week's Best of GLORY that aired on Spike TV they announced that on Friday, August 8th they'd be airing GLORY Last Man Standing in some form. If we are to look at this objectively, the next day was scheduled to be the day that GLORY 18 was going to happen, so there is a chance that Spike TV had set aside television time for GLORY in early August. Then again, why not air it on Saturday? 

This is an interesting move from Spike TV and -- honestly -- a smart move. GLORY currently does not have an event planned for August and airing the GLORY Last Man Standing event will keep GLORY programming on Spike TV during an off-month, which will hopefully mean that GLORY won't lose viewers like they did the last time they took a break in between shows. The time slot is 2 and a half hours, the replay starting at 10PM Eastern time and running until 12:30, meaning that it will obviously need to be edited down a bit to fit into two and a half hours plus commercial breaks. Still, it is one of the best kickboxing events of the year being shown on Spike TV for free.

It's difficult to complain.

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Long Watch: GLORY's Ivan Farneti Talks Business and Kickboxing

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Part of what makes GLORY such an interesting company is the guys who comprise said company. All of the people that we've spoken to which in the company are passionate and knowledgeable about the sport of kickboxing. They are fans, not just casual fans, but real fans. If you are looking for a fan, look no further than GLORY's Ivan Farneti. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook most of the time talking about combat sports -- and he's nowhere near just a casual fan -- he hangs with the most hardcore of us. In fact, I'd go as far as to call Ivan a kickboxing nerd. It's okay, he's in good company. 

Watch this uber-long interview with Ivan to learn more about him, his love for the sport, how he got started with the organization as well as some of the big picture, vision stuff for GLORY. For those that grow tired of hearing Dana White's brand of vitriol, listen to Ivan pretty much say everything you want to hear and really mean it. 

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Best Of Glory On Spike TV, Tell Your Friends!

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Spike TV will be showing a one hour long segment on the best of Glory at 11pm ET/8pm PT right after Bellator's live show. For people who are already Glory Kickboxing fans this is a good time to watch some of the most exciting fights and hardest knockouts to excite you for their next event. It's also a good time to invite your die hard UFC fan boy friends to come and watch real excitement. There is no way that a fan of any combat sports will not enjoy one hour of Glory's best moments, from five round wars, to first round jumping, spinning heel kick knock outs Glory has it all.

This a perfect time for all the Kickboxing fans to support kickboxing and spread the word about Glory, it's free, one hour long and just enough time to get everyone hooked.

Check out Spike TV's Glory Page for extra information.

 

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A Look at the Rise of Saulo Cavalari

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Although best known for a stellar roster of first class MMA artists, Brazil is becoming equally as well known for kick boxers and muay thai specialists thanks, most recently to GLORY World Series. Today, Saulo Cavalari, Anderson Silva and Alex Perira are well on their way to becoming household names due largely in part to their performances on the GLORY stage. All having made strong and very positive impressions in their match-ups in GLORY; each has also come to GLORY with records of success and titles from their affiliations with other organizations.

Saulo Cavalari, in particular, has quickly become a favorite among fans, photographers and writers alike, largely due to his great personality and brutal knockout power, as evidenced at GLORY 12 in his match-up with Mourad Bouzidi. Cavalari made his debut in October 2013 at GLORY 11 where he faced off against Filip Verlinden. Saulo took the victory home with a decision win in that bout. Since that time it has only been up for this young lion who hails from Curitiba, whose dedication to his craft is well over ten years in the making. Currently Cavalari is ranked number 3 in the light heavyweight category. His record is now 2-1 record in GLORY, having been defeated by Tyrone Spong at GLORY 15 in Instanbul. Even in this bout, Cavalari held his own against the more experienced Spong and lost only due to points. Outside the ring Cavalari exudes warmth, humility and a sense of calm, qualities that greatly contribute to his popularity. Inside the ring, however, is an entirely different matter. His fierceness as a fighter and warrior mentality is destined to make Cavalari one of the most feared men in his division. Saulo comes to the ring ready to destroy and his fists have proven to have brutal force.

Who will be his next opponent? It's anyone's guess. While a match-up between Saulo and GLORY's number 1 contender, Danyo Ilunga would be exciting, an equally exciting and definitely more explosive match-up would be a fight between Cavalari and Gohkan Saki, who now holds the number one spot in the division. In fact, sources close to Saulo indicate that he is very interested in meeting Saki in the ring. Until next time, we'll be all left to watch and wonder who will next fall prey the man known as "Cassius Clay."

 

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Interesting Note on Tyrone Spong's Contractual Status with GLORY

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Over the weekend there was some commotion about the possibility of Tyrone Spong heading to the UFC. Of course, that didn't seem to be in the cards considering Spong's favorable status with GLORY, where he is one of the top fighters in the organization. That means that he's also one of the better-paid fighters in the organization, in case you missed it. So Spong showing up at the UFC event and asking Dana White for a contract was a bit of a shock, but seemed more of a heat-of-the-moment thing than a possibility.

Well, hold on a second. 

This video from Sherdog (featuring the dulcet tones of our bud John O'Regan asking the questions) gives us some new insight into the contractual status of Tyrone Spong. According to Spong he is currently done with his GLORY contract. If he had won the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship there would be a clause that put his contract into perpetuity, but that did not happen. This means that Spong may indeed be a free agent at the moment. He seems willing to work out a new contract with GLORY and if I'm GLORY I make sure that Spong is happy, but this is truly an interesting new twist.

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It's Improbable That Tyrone Spong Can Fight for the UFC Any Time Soon

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The news today out of UFC's event in Dublin was that Tyrone Spong was in attendance (we already knew that from his seminar schedule) and that he spoke with Dana White, asking for a one-fight deal to fight for the UFC in Dublin, Ireland. Dana White reported this during the post-fight press conference to illustrate the point of everyone wanting to fight for the UFC in Dublin thanks to what was a rather crazy, raucous crowd. This has the MMA world chattering about Tyrone Spong and fantasy booking him in the UFC already.

Well, hold on a minute. 

Tyrone Spong is signed by both GLORY Sports International and World Series of Fighting, GLORY for kickboxing and WSoF for MMA. The GLORY deal came first and while they are open to allowing fighters to work outside of GLORY, there are restrictions. I have seen some GLORY contracts from a while ago and heard about more recent ones. Most, not all, include clauses about taking outside bookings, such as they must be approved through GLORY's management prior to accepting them, with some restrictions. One of those restrictions? That the UFC was out of the question. 

It's not clear what Spong's contract status is with GLORY at the moment, but one would have to think that he's still under contract and since he's one of their better-paid athletes, that they have a long-term, binding contract in place with Spong. So, not to dash your hopes and dreams, but it's pretty unlikely at the moment. Sorry.

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Meltzer Gives One Last Update on GLORY Last Man Standing Numbers

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This is probably the last that we'll speak of this because, well, it's time to move on, but Dave Meltzer in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter gave a tangible number for GLORY Last Man Standing's PPV buys. That number was an estimated (read: estimated, not official) 6,000. GLORY took a gamble on American PPV and that gamble didn't seem to be at the right time or the right conditions to work out for them.

That being said, before anyone goes into a tailspin over this, think of it like this; sure, this was a big show for GLORY and they put together a bigger card and had to spend a bit more to promote the PPV. That is absolutely true, but they've put on shows like this before that were not supported by any PPV income, so while this probably means that GLORY is not going to continue forward in the PPV business, there was an additional stream of revenue for the event and this was a worthy experiment. Honestly, 10,000 buys would have been a "win" for GLORY, so falling short of that in a respectable manner is not bad, not bad at all.

American audiences are not ready for kickboxing on PPV just yet, or if they are, it just came at a bad time in the summer where we've seen even the UFC's numbers lower than previous years. For now the Spike TV numbers have been consistent, which is a good sign of GLORY attracting and maintaining an audience, now we just have to wait for their breakthrough moment to happen to start pushing things further.

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About That GLORY 18 Poster Being Passed Around

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Over the past few days we've seen the leaked GLORY 18 poster being passed around quite a lot and gotten a few questions about it. We were going to ignore it and just let it disappear, but, it wasn't about to do that. That's a good thing, though, because fans are hungry and want to know more about the next GLORY event. So anyway, this poster for GLORY 18 has been floating around with a date of August 9th listed as the date, featuring Davit Kiria and Robin van Roosmalen on it.

We've spoken to a few people at GLORY and can confirm that you can indeed be excited, but that the poster was leaked out with a projected date, not the final date. We don't have a final date for GLORY 18 yet, but we know for sure that it's not August 9th. So hold your horses, for now.

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Relive GLORY 17/Last Man Standing with this Behind the Scenes Video

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GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing were two incredible events jam-packed into one of the best nights in kickboxing history. Now you can relive some of those moments while getting a backstage view of what went down that night behind the scenes thanks to this awesome video from 2.One.Fly productions. 

Glory 17 - Last Man Standing - Behind the Scenes from 2.One.Fly on Vimeo.

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GLORY Last Man Standing PPV Sales Disappoint

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From a critical standpoint, it's hard to be down on GLORY's Last Man Standing PPV. The show was a resounding success if you are a kickboxing fan who tuned in to watch the show. Featuring some of the world's top talents vying for a whopping three GLORY World Championships it was hard not to be excited about the show. The only issue was that GLORY Last Man Standing was on American PPV and American PPV is tough. 

I had been critical of GLORY's decision to move to PPV this soon because it simply didn't feel right. There have been arguments as to the viability of PPV right now as it is, with UFC's last PPV event, UFC 174 drawing their lowest in a very long time at sub-100,000 (with reports that it could be as low as 50,000). There was a possible silver-lining with Spike TV and Viacom's Bellator 120 drawing over 100,000 buys, but it also featured two well-known PPV draws in Tito Ortiz and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. 

GLORY's biggest star was Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic who was on the Spike TV portion, GLORY 17, not the PPV portion, with Cro Cop never being much of a domestic draw. GLORY has been on US television for less than a year at this point and is having to basically establish the sport as brand new, educating fans not only on the rules but the names involved as well. It would be difficult for the UFC to sell an event with these names on it, even if they are the best kickboxers in the world. The other issue was the cost of the event, marketed as $35, but that was for SD, HD was $45, which many fans were openly complaining about. It was simply too steep of a cost considering this would be many fans' first time having to pay money to watch kickboxing. 

According to Dave Meltzer from this week's edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter there are no hard numbers on it yet, but in his own words, the PPV "bombed." According to Meltzer it did considerably worse than both the recent TNA and ROH wrestling PPVs, which is both surprising and disappointing. He even joked on a radio program that it did "World Bodybuilding Federation bad." For those unaware, the World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF) was Vince McMahon of WWE (then-WWF)'s vision for "sports entertainment bodybuilding" in the early 90's that attempted a PPV and drew a paltry 3,000 buys, leading to McMahon disbanding the organization after the disappointing buy rate. 

Seeing as though we don't have hard numbers for either the TNA or ROH PPVs, either, TNA gets an average of about 8,000 buys on PPV and I can't imagine Ring of Honor's PPV debut doing better than that, so that leaves us in the 5,000 range. The truth of the matter is, PPV is on the way out and for a relatively new sport (in the eyes of casual fans) it felt almost impossible to make an impact. The Spike TV numbers were steady, though, showing that GLORY has made an impression on the viewers that it has reached.

It might be time for GLORY to buckle down, build themselves a home base like Las Vegas was for the UFC or San Jose was for Strikeforce, attract some solid crowds and focus on growing their Spike TV audience. Globetrotting and PPV are clear indicators of a successful organization in this realm of combat sports, but it seems unfair for GLORY to be holding itself to these standards after only being on Spike TV a handful of times and only running a small number of shows in the United States. 

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Glory 17 Spike TV Ratings and Highlight Video

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Glory 17 scored an average of of 487,000 viewers and a peak of 862,000. The average number is slightly below Glory 16 and became the fourth highest rated show out of Glory Sports International's seven on Spike TV.

Here are the Glory ratings on Spike TV:

  1. Glory 11: 381,000 viewers
  2. Glory 12: 476,000 viewers
  3. Glory 13: 659,000 viewers
  4. Glory 14: 495,000 viewers
  5. Glory 15: 354,000 viewers
  6. Glory 16: 498,000 viewers
  7. Glory 17: 487,000 viewers

We do not have the PPV numbers yet so we are patiently waiting to find out how Glory 17: Last man standing really did, but in the meantime here is a really amazing highlight video of Glory 17 that captures the feeling and intensity of the fighters behind the scenes perfectly.

 

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Weaknesses Opponents Can Exploit Against Artem Levin

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Frequently Saturday night, at Glory Last Man Standing, Artem Levin resembled an untouchable task for whoever he met in the 8-Man Middleweight tournament that centered the PPV. His high-wire hands down stance, out of which he toggled between thundering left hook body and head shots, quick jabs, and jumping knees, governed by his speed, accuracy, and great head movement.  

I personally had the opportunity to watch Levin fight last month, in Denver, at Glory 16, and I quickly gained a greater appreciation for his work. From my floor seat it was easier to catch his movement, the shifting of stances and various feints that precipitated and flowed into every move.  

Since 2009 Levin has lost to two opponents, Joe Schilling, who he beat in their rematch Saturday night, and Simon Marcus at Lions Fight 9. He is now the Glory Middleweight Champion, the best kickboxing organization in the world. Noted MMA writer, Jack Slack, pondered the possibility that Levin was the best fighter on the planet Monday in his breakdown of Glory Last Man Standing. 

But Levin has shown weaknesses that opponents have and could exploit better to now wrest the Glory Middleweight Championship from him:  

I. Can Start Slow and Sloppy 

The earlier rounds provide the best opportunities for opponents to hit Artem Levin, because he is feeling them out and has not yet committed to his hand-checking that enables him to punch and knee inside so well.  

Many of his Glory fights have followed a simple narrative: they either begin even or in favor of his opponent, then he picks it up in the second, and finally pours it on in the third. His match against Sahak Parparyan at Glory 7 Milan aptly encapsulates this gradual escalation of dominance.  

In the beginning of the fight, Levin left his head center and unguarded when he threw one of his favorite punches - the left hook to the body - and Parparyan would throttle him with a right cross. After taking a few more, he started checking Parparyan’s right hand but Parparyan then switched to his left, which while having to come farther to find Levin’s chin still landed.  

By taking advantage of Levin’s down hands, throwing him off when he tried to clinch, punching in combinations and sneaking in leg kicks in front or behind them, he won the round. Levin followed it nicely, though, taking the second on most judge’s cards and dominating the third and especially fourth.  

The biggest mistake Parparyan made was not carrying it into the subsequent rounds. This is a terrible error against Levin who is going to get better the longer the fight continues and who is capable of switching into a higher performance level if he feels he has to do more to win the fight.   

Robert Thomas also found early success against Levin at Glory 16. Stepping into a throw a lead left jab, Levin stood completely sideways, right hand down. Thomas capitalized and struck with a left hook. Then Levin crushed him the remainder of the contest, blasting him with a couple powerful left hooks of his own.  

Achieving first round does not presage success in the second or third against Levin (in these two cases, it obviously didn't), but it is opportunity to steal a round when he isn't jumping between front kicks, head punches, body punches, spinning back fists, etc. tearing you apart and clearly winning the fight.  

  II. Varied Attack 

Falling into a pattern against Artem Levin seldom churns positive results. Once he discerns a trend he exploits it. The first Joe Schilling fight concluded in a loss for Levin, the fourth of his professional career, but also showcased some of his particular brilliance. Using the superman punch, for instance, Schilling was able to get closer to his chin, since many of his punches were ducked or quickly countered.  

The second superman punch Schilling executed is indelible, the high water mark of one of Glory’s seminal events, yet it was the change in defense Levin made from the first superman punch that created the knockdown in the second round (and maybe Schilling’s leg). While Levin often counters his opponents’ punches, especially with a left hook, sometimes he does not make that his immediate priority. On these occasions he employs his size, speed, and athleticism rather than craft and angles. When Schilling first attempted a superman punch, Levin bent backwards, perhaps not expecting Schilling to be able to reach him.  

At 6’4’’ Levin can anticipate succeeding in analogous situations. The technique allows him to evade the strike and also gain position as his opponent’s momentum still carries him forward. If Levin continued using this technique, Schilling might have missed the second superman punch, but it also might have spared the viewer a special example of his in-ring intelligence.  

Following the knockdown, every time Schilling lifted his leg seemingly either to check a kick or set into motion another superman punch Levin lifted his leg, too, and turned into his body with a right hook. If he missed the right hook he would capitalize on the momentum and his opponent’s inability to see his back hand and flow into a spinning back fist. He also brilliantly once stepped outside of Schilling’s raised right leg and shot through a clean left straight.  

Part of Levin’s wider success, including this, was the limited versatility of Schilling’s attack. He could figure it out and quickly assume an appropriate response. Many of Levin’s opponents have shared this characteristic. Simon Marcus was one of the exceptions, which, along with his terrifying clinch game, caused Levin trouble in their Lion Fight 9 contest.  

It was also an example of how a varied attack can make his ability to implement his offense and start taking you apart difficult.

III. Hands Down

Levin’s penchant for keeping his hands low should theoretically tempt more head kicks. Against Schilling and Marcus, Levin took a solid kick to the jaw. Marcus’ was right up the middle, knocking Levin’s mouth guard out, and giving Marcus an opening to jump on him; whereas, Schilling’s caught him stepping back, his chin up and hands down, moments before the end of the round. 

That he hasn't incurred greater damage regularly, kicks or otherwise, further inculcates the deft of his footwork and defense. When he does get hit it is primarily due to his predilection for keeping his head in the same place. Levin was able to move inside well against Parparyan but he wouldn't always dip into his left body hook that he leads precariously with, and Parparyan would register a breaking right hand on his chin. 

Schilling didn't always make Levin pay for this in their first or second fight. To slow Levin down coming in, Schilling used his teep that did give him a chance to launch a 1-2 and maybe side step out, but Levin routinely came over top of it with a left hook. By keeping his hands low, Levin gives opponents the opportunity to hit him; however, they have to hit him, and predominantly they don’t.

IV. Himself

Levin can be a dominant fighter, as his Glory Last Man Standing PPV performances showed, but he has also been detrimental to himself. Against Parparyan in the first round, he repeatedly came forward and pressed his head through his guard. Despite the referee warning him to stop head-butting, he continued to do it, and had a point taken away from him. If he had recused himself from that, or matured to pulling his guard up earlier in the fight, he might have been able to win the fight in the third rather than the extra fourth round. 

Equally problematic is his habit to hug his opponent after he lands his strikes to stifle their offense and get out their range with the break. This is a different calculation in Glory than Lion Fight or another organization fought under Muay Thai rules, where the time allotted for clinches is more liberal. In Glory Levin doesn't have to worry about being held there if he facing a stronger opponent, and he can fit in his occasional knees to the body if he feels before and during the referee’s attempt to separate them.  

Conversely, outside of Glory, and particularly against Simon Marcus, it was not nearly as beneficial. Marcus was undefeated prior to Saturday night in large part due to his masterful clinch work. In the first round of their fight, Levin was able to pivot away and throw Marcus into the ropes. As the fight went on, though, Marcus was wearing on him with knees to the side body that he was trying to escape with and crossing and uppercut elbows.  

He suffers physically and on the scorecards in these instances, while he only suffers on the judge’s scorecards fighting in Glory when he might actually be dominating the bout. This is the problem, for he could theoretically lose a fight he was winning because he refused to sever himself from needless practices. Yet they are not needless to his strategy.  

They are his strategy. The objective of every fight is to win. Levin wins.  

The danger, though, these, along with the other weaknesses addressed in this article, pose cannot be ignored. They certainly are not by him and that is one of the reasons he has been successful and won the Glory Middleweight Championship last weekend.  

Maybe these are not weaknesses. Maybe they are his strengths, and that they occasionally falter is a mathematical normality. They could be the key to defeating him or the key to him defeating you. 

 

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Glory 17 and Last Man Standing: A Night to Remember (Part 2)

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The Last Man Standing PPV event started with the first tournament quarter final Artem Levin Vs. Alex Pereira. Let me just say how amazing it was to be able to watch a good kickboxing event in full HD on my TV without any hassle of hooking up my laptop, considering The Fight Network and Spike TV still don't have HD channels where I am. Levin basically had Pereira outclassed, he was doing whatever he liked, slipping and countering the very nervous looking Brazilian. When Pereira actually threw his punches like we've seen him do before he would either land or come very close, but he appeared to be to tentative and Levin's liver punches weren't helping. The Russian used his slick defense, counters and experience to coast to a (30-27 on all scorecards) Unanimous decision and moved onto the semi-finals with very little damage to his body.

The second tournament quarter final featured the always entertaining fan favourite Melvin Manhoef Vs. Filip "The Belgian Bull" Verlinden. As much as everyone I spoke to wanted Manhoef to get back to his violent ways and showcase one of his signature explosive knockouts, realistically we all knew it would not be easy. Manhoef was at a substantial height disadvantage, and Verlinden is a very technical fighter who really doesn't get hit very often. We were all on the edge of our seats because we know what Melvin is capable of, and he was stalking Filip and keeping him on the ropes waiting to pounce the entire fight. In the first round Melvin came in with a big overhand right and Verlinden moved left to avoid it and threw an absolutely beautifully timed head kick which caught Manhoef on the forehead and dropped him. Melvin seemed fine when he stood up, but hes lucky that kick didn't hit his chin, or else that fight would have been over. For the rest of the fight it was more of the same, Melvin stalking Verlinden as the Belgian moved, blocked and just won by having a much higher output and of course the knockdown in the first. One of the judges gave the fight 28-28 and the other two gave it 30-27 to Verlinden. Maybe that one judge was checking his text messages during the fight, because I don't personally see how he could have scored this fight a draw.

Joe Schilling Vs. Simon Marcus was the third quarter final match-up and the most exciting fight of the night. Most Joe Schilling fights have some sort of dramatic event and this time was no different. During the first round I felt Schilling was taking control of the fight but the referee was definitely giving Marcus an advantage by allowing him to clinch for longer than I thought was allowed. Nonetheless, the first round was for Schilling, the second round was more of the same, Schilling's hands are just much better than Simon's and he was putting them to use nicely, but what made this fight so exciting is that I wouldn't consider either man to possess the greatest defense. Simon finally pinned Joe in a corner and threw 4 straight punches as hard as he could and from what I could see his eyes appeared closed considering he is not used to throwing combos like this, the last straight right landed and dropped Schilling causing Marcus to win that round by two points. Schilling recovered well and won the third round the same way as the first and now of course they had to go to an extra round. As the extra round was starting Schilling looked the more fatigued of the two fighters, but about a minute into the round Marcus started dropping his mouth guard. This tactic is often used by a tired fighter to get a break or the mouth guard just doesn't fit well; however, it should be noted that this wasn't happening very often in the first few rounds. It seemed with every drop of the mouth piece Marcus looked more and more tired and Schilling seemed to just be maintaining his energy level. At this point Big John McCarthy had enough of the stalling and he took a point from Simon for dropping his mouth guard too many times. Therefore, Marcus now needed a knockout to win considering the extra round is judged as one single round and this is where Simon gained respect from a lot of people. He just went after Joe as hard as he could, Simon had 40 seconds to get a knockout and he was going to do everything in his power to do it but with only 20 seconds left he tried to repeat what he did to drop Joe in the second round but this time he got caught with a big right hook with his eyes closed and mouth open. The punch sent his mouth piece flying and  Marcus crashing to the mat stiff as a board. Joe Schilling moved on to the semi's avenging his 2 previous losses by knockout with 20 seconds left in the extra round and once again in dramatic fashion which had me jumping out of my seat, only thing was this was a war and there is a possibility of two more fights.

Fourth quarter final was American Wayne Barrett Vs. Bogdan Stoica from Romania. Barrett was keeping Stoica guessing with his foot work, boxing, and sometimes even randomly jumping straight into the air. Stoica, known for his flying knees, seemed to look a little more nervous than usual, this was his Glory debut after all. Not much was happening during the first two rounds, Stoica really couldn't get anything off because Barrett's footwork was too good. Early in the third round Stoica went for his signature flying knee but Barrett had already anticipated it and moved back the just the right amount while landing a perfect left hook counter on the chin of the airborne Stoica and crumbling him to the canvas. Barett moved on to the semis by 3rd round knockout and didn't take too much damage apart from a headbutt which gave him a nasty Rahman Vs. Holyfield like bump on his forehead.

While the tournament semi-finalists were resting Glory gave us two world title fights. They started with the welterweight title fight between current champion Marc De Bonte and Canadian "Bazooka" Joe Valtellini, this was a very close second place for fight of the night. Bazooka Joe started off controlling the pace and the ring by moving forward and throwing his usual combinations. De Bonte was covering up well, blocking most strikes and throwing counters which were landing, the first round was close but in my opinion De Bonte got it just for the cleaner strikes landed. Second round was all Bazooka Joe, he was throwing great combos, pushing the champion around and avoiding the few counters De Bonte threw this round. Third round Valtellini kept his momentum going with a beautiful hand combination consisting of both head and body punches which he followed by a quick head kick dropping De bonte flat on his back. De Bonte being the experienced fighter he is stayed down for the full eight count then stood up and amazingly seemed to have recovered to make it to the fourth round. Fourth round was big for the champion, it seemed like this was exactly what De Bonte had been waiting for the entire fight, he landed a perfect jumping switch left knee right on Valtellinis chin, he went down hard. Bazooka Joe doesn't have the experience De Bonte has so he tries to stand right away instead of taking his time and is still very wobbly on his feet while the ref gives him the eight count. De Bonte continued the onslaught and battered Valtellini around the ring for the rest of the round and the fifth and final round aswell, Valtellini stayed on his feet during the last round but he had zero offence as he was just barely surviving the whole round. If Glory judges were allowed give 10-8 rounds without a knockdown the fifth would have been one, but i do not think they are. Overall a very close fight, one knockdown and one dominant round for each fighter it all really depended on how the judges scored round 1 and all three judges saw it the same way 47-46 for the new welterweight champion "Bazooka" Joe Valltelini. Joe definitely has some serious work to do to keep the belt away from the man that knocked him out at Glory 13 in Tokyo, Nieky Holzken.

The Semi-finals of the tournament were much slower paced than the quarter finals, probably due to people being pretty beat up. Levin once again used his defense and slick style to not allow Verlinden to land anything while picking him off and winning a unanimous decision 30-27 on all cards. Joe Schilling met Wayne Barrett for a rematch and both fighters were a lot more cautious than they were in their first encounter. The fight was actually quite uneventful and close Joe Schilling won a split decision judges scores were 28-29 Schilling, 28-29 Barrett, and 30-27 Schilling, the last judge was out to lunch.

The heavyweight world title fight between Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita was far from exciting. It was much like their first encounter but with much less output from both fighters. To be honest I can barely remember anything significant from the fight, all that stuck in my mind was Ghita's Trainer Erik Van Warmerdam telling Daniel between rounds to keep waiting, or telling him that Rico was behind. It was very strange advice, something that I personally have never heard from a corner man. When the fight ended none of us watching could choose a winner, I would have hated to be a judge. Ghita did more visible damage with his body kicks, Rico's body looked all beat up and one of his ribs looked to be protruding, but Rico was busier and had much more output and looked to be controlling the pace for all five rounds. In the end the volume of strikes and ring generalship was more important to the judges and Rico Verhoeven kept his belt by unanimous decision, judges scores were 49-46, 49-46, 48-47.

The tournament final, another rematch for Joe schilling, he had already avenged his losses to Marcus and Barrett and now he had to beat Artem Levin to prove the first time wasn't luck. Schilling had been in two hard fights already and Levin was virtually untouched so this would not be an easy task. First round, once again Levin is controlling the fight by making Schilling miss, countering or smothering. Half way through the round Levin missed a right hook and came around with a perfect spinning back fist and dropped Schilling for a 10-8 round. The rest of the fight was just the Russian knowing he is the fresher fighter, ahead on the scorecards and the one with the superior defense. He won the next two rounds handily once again barely taking any damage and becoming the new Glory middleweight champion and $200,000 richer by unanimous decision, judges scores were 29-26, 29-26, 29-26.

Overall I enjoyed Glory 17 thoroughly, out of fifteen fights there was one lackluster bout. I'm really hoping that Glory continues with the PPVs and the under card on Spike TV so that fight fans can learn to appreciate kickboxing. As long as Glory fans keep supporting them, and Glory keeps putting on events like this I cannot see why it shouldn't become the next big thing in fight sports.

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Did Daniel Ghita Have A Plan?

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This morning Daniel Ghita wrote a very emotional message to his fans via Facebook (see below) regarding his old sparring partner Rico Verhoeven. We cannot comment about Rico's alleged racist remarks that Daniel writes about, but we can talk about the fight itself.

Now, before Ghita's fight with Rico we got to see a different side of him, we got to see him open up, talk, and tell us how he really felt about his opponent which is a rare thing for the typically quiet and stone-faced Romanian. It was great to see him fired up and giving his opinions on the mic, but part of me wondered if this was all for show considering they used to train together often, and seemed like friends during those times. There was no way to know for sure until the fight, especially considering he had a point to prove, that Verhoeven's first victory over him was a robbery.

On to the fight, there were a few strange things. First of all Ghita came out slowly in the first round, the exact same way he did during his last fight with Rico. If you saw Daniel's fight with Errol Zimmerman, then you know exactly the violence this Romanian is capable of when he is aggressive, this was totally what I was expecting from him. Round two, where once again Ghita waited for Rico and threw a very limited amount of strikes. Anyone watching as a Daniel Ghita fan, I can imagine was beginning to get frustrated. Second peculiar thing we noticed was Erik Van Warmerdam, Ghita's corner man between rounds. The only advice he seemed to give while the camera was on him was "keep waiting, your doing fine Daniel keep waiting for him." Then during the break leading into the fifth and final round we once again heard Warmerdam saying "Rico knows hes behind, keep waiting." The fight was so close, it didn't seem like anyone was really behind at any point, so we really couldn't understand why this advice was given. Not to mention waiting is rarely going to win a fight.

Ghita's opinion on Rico is that he is a fake champion and he does nothing and still wins fights. After reading Daniel's facebook post it got me thinking, Ghita waited for Rico the whole fight, his corner man was advising him to keep waiting and let Rico initiate, he fought nothing like his last fight, and He even wrote "You do NOTHING if your opponent does not start the fight." Was this Daniel Ghita's idea of proving a point? Did he deliberately do nothing to show that if an opponent doesn't initiate Verhoeven makes boring fights? Or is this all just part of the emotion of losing another very close decision to the Prince of kickboxing?

 

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Post-Glory 17 Matchmaking - Rematches galore

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As the dust settles after Glory's inaugural pay-per view event, I play role as matchmaker for the winners from this weekend’s epic night of fights.

Artem Levin vs. Joe Schilling III

Who honestly wouldn't want to see a third fight between these two? Levin was clearly the better man on Saturday however it was evident that Schilling was most definitely the most battle-worn going into the tournament final, after avenging previous losses over Wayne Barrett and Simon Marcus earlier in the night. A 5 round title fight later this year for the Glory Middleweight title seems like the perfect way to separate these two and would be a fitting end to a memorable trilogy for Glory. Expect to see it before the year is out.

Rico Verhoeven vs. Errol Zimmerman III

Verhoeven and Ghita’s rematch this weekend may not have been as exciting as the first meeting between the two, it finally cleared the air on who the number 1 heavyweight is as Verhoeven outpointed Ghita for a second time by Unanimous decision. Whilst many would argue that a third encounter between Verhoeven and Zimmerman would most likely play out similarly to their last fight, Zimmerman has since earned his right to fight for the belt by knocking out both Ben Edwards and Anderson Silva earlier this year to win the Glory Heavyweight contender tournament. It’s also worth noting that besides the champion Verhoeven and up and coming Romanian starlet Benjamin Adegbuyi, Zimmerman is the only other top 10 Heavyweight who is currently on a win streak. Zimmerman is owner of perhaps the most decisive loss of Verhoeven’s career, as he knocked out the champion in less than a minute back in 2012.

Joseph Valtellini vs. Nieky Holzken II

Whilst a few have disagreed with the decision, Joseph Valtellini became Glory's Welterweight champion this past Saturday with a split decision victory over now former champ Marc de Bonte. Valtellini controlled the first half of the fight by being the more active of the two fighters, with his best moment coming in the third as he sent De Bonte crashing to the mat courtesy of a right-high kick. De Bonte came alive after the knockdown though as the tide began to turn. De Bonte utilized his superb technical skills to pick away at Valtellini before an incredibly well timed step-in knee nearly separated Valtellini from consciousness. Although Valtellini recovered, it was clear he didn’t have much left in the tank, as de Bonte clearly won the last two rounds. Had it not been for Joe Schilling and Simon Marcus contributing a Fight of the Year candidate, the fight between De Bonte and Valtellini would probably have been most peoples pick for Fight of the Night. Although 'Bazooka' Joe will currently sit atop of Glory's stacked Welterweight division, most would argue that Dutchman Nieky Holzken is still guy to beat at 77kg. Holzken and Valtellini previously met last December, with Holzken finishing Valtellini with a crushing right-hook in the dying seconds of the fight.

Mirko Filipovic vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Kharitonov is still somewhat finding his feet in the Glory ring and has done relatively well in his short-stint thus far. Whilst a win over a 2014 Cro Cop doesn't do as much for Kharitonov's career as much as it would have a decade ago, Cro Cop is still 7-1 since returning to kickboxing in 2012 with the only loss coming consequence of controversial decision to the recently retired Remy Bonjasky. A victory for either guy will not likely propel them into title contention, it still allows to veterans of combat sports to finally do battle after years of competing on the same cards as each other.

Andy Ristie vs. Davit Kiria II

Like the other rematches I've listed above, this bout seems like a given. Ristie was cruising in their first bout before Kiria pulled off one of the upsets of 2014 with an incredible come from behind KO in the final round of their fight for the inaugural Glory Lightweight championship. Ristie put away No. 4 ranked Ky Hollenbeck, whom many thought would provide Ristie with one of the toughest tests of his career. Ristie passed the test with flying colors, destroying the American with a devastating left-hook a mere 30 seconds into the bout. Ristie seems as motivated as ever and will likely go into his rematch with Kiria as a substantial favorite.

Gabriel Varga vs. Mosab Amrani

Top Canadian featherweight Gabriel Varga cruised through his tournament field on Saturday night by handily beating Californian Shane Oblonsky and 19 year-old Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai, both by clear-cut Unanimous decision. Varga seemed to be in a league of his own at Glory 17, only losing a single round on one of the judge’s scorecards. Despite only being 5-5 in his last 10 kickboxing bouts, Moroccan Mosab Amrani has impressed greatly since signing with Glory last year, picking up victories over notables Liam Harrison, Marcos Vinicius and Yuta Kubo with his lone lose coming via a close decision to Masaaki Noiri in Tokyo last year. Not only does this bout make sense in terms of ranking and form, but also stylistically this bout would be a treat for the fans, as Varga would aim to utilize his speed and high output attack vs. Amrani's heavy-handed Muay Thai. This would be the ideal fight to crown Glory’s first ever Featherweight champion.

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Glory 17 and Last Man Standing: A Night to Remember (Part 1)

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June 21st, 2014 is a night that kickboxing fans will be talking about for quite some time. Glory 17, even though it ended up being a 6 hour event, at no point did I feel this was too much. They did a great job of making us look forward to the next fight even more than the last. Now, I am going to be brutally honest and give my opinions on all the things I enjoyed, and things I didn't on one of the most exciting 6 hours in combat sports.

So, the show started with the analyst desk consisting of Michael "The Voice" Schiavello, Stepen Quadros, and Remy Bonjasky. This is a very knowledgeable group of people but we barely heard from them, instead we had to listen to Duke Roufus and Ron Kruck constantly talk about either previous fights, history, or themselves. For some reason they always seem to ignore the fight that is happening and talk about the fighters past fights, or trainers and so on. I mean that is fine to do when there is a lull in the action to keep the viewers informed and educated, but when action is happening i would like the commentators to talk about the fight. I feel that if they could have maybe used the analyst desk as the commentators this event could have been pretty much perfect. I always favor Shiavello when it comes to kickboxing commentary, being that he is a true fan, knows all the fighters inside and out, talks accurately about what is happening in the fight, and he knows how to excite us and make us laugh. As for Remy Bonjasky this would have been the first time I've heard him commentate, but he is intelligent and well spoken, not to mention one of the best heavyweight kickboxers ever and usually its great when real fighters commentate, for example Roy Jones Jr. on HBO.

Enough about Kruck and Roufus, and more about the people that matter, the fighters. Everyone fought their heart out for Glory last night. The first fight on Spike TV was Canadian Gabriel Varga Vs. Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai from Thailand. Varga has been training with us in Surrey, B.C a little bit for the last few weeks so I know how good he is, and what he is capable of. When the fight started and Sitmonchai instantly interrupted Varga's combos with his own punches and Varga kept throwing very slow telegraphed spinning back fists, and back kicks, I began to get worried. But Varga did what Varga does best and kept grinding Sitmonchai down, until it seemed like the Thai was either tired or just lazy, he just stopped throwing anything even tho he had Varga's leg purple and swollen, thus earning Varga the win and moving onto the Finals of the Featherweight Contender Tournament.

Next fight put American Shane Oblonsky against Brazilian Marcus Vinicius, this was a strange fight because Vinicius actually threw zero kicks. He just tried to box Oblonsky's face off with big looping punches considering he was 7 inches shorter, he landed quite a few big punches, but Oblonsky's chin held up and he was constantly landing his big right hand leading to two knockdowns which moved him on to the Finals to face Varga.

Andy Ristie made short work of Ky Hollenbeck and honestly didn't even look like he was trying yet. He landed his signature step in right hand, then followed it with a stiff left jab/hook type punch then just watched as Hollenbeck wobbled and dropped his right hand, and landed a big left hook on the chin to end the fight in the first round. It was nice to see Ristie actually calm down and watch to land that last punch, he does hit ridiculously hard though, even without effort.

Now onto the Final of the Glory 4 man featherweight contender tournament and this fight was a war. Once again Varga came out with his tight defense and started wearing out Oblonsky, but Shane's technique was much tighter and cleaner in this fight than his last. Varga carried on pressing forward, keeping a high pace but he would sometimes break up the rhythm by throwing a spinning technique which really never landed, they were much too slow, every time he tried one I found myself hoping it was the last, and that he would use his energy into just beating on Oblonsky with leg kicks. In the last round both fighter's had very sore left legs, but neither of them decided to kick it nearly enough until Gabriel started smashing it in the last 30 seconds, which gave Gabriel Varga the hard earned unanimous decision victory, the Glory featherweight contender belt, and secured himself a spot in the Glory featherweight world title tournament.

Last fight on the Spike TV portion of the card was the 39 year old legend Mirko CroCop against the 274lbs, 24 year old Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller. I had high hopes for Miller in this fight, he has looked amazing in his last few professional boxing fights and I figured his hands would just be too good for CroCop. Truth is Millers hands very well may have been too good for the Croatian, if he actually threw them. Big baby decided he was going to kick, clinch, and knee the entire fight, which is basically CroCop's specialty. At one point Miller did land one knee that looked like it hurt CroCop but referee Big John McCarthy called it a low blow, replays showed otherwise in my eyes. It wasn't the most exciting fight, but still entertaining with the chance that Mirko could land his trademark left high kick at any point, and a few came very close to knocking Miller's head into the crowd. Mirko CroCop got the deserving unanimous decision putting an end to the controversy of his last fight with Big Baby.

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Glory 17 and Last Man Standing Live Results

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Glory 17 Feather weight tournament Live on Spike

Gabriel Varga Vs. Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai - Gabriel Varga Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27 all 3 judges) 

Shane Oblonsky Vs. Marcus Vinicius - Shane Oblonsky Wins by Unanimous Decision (Shane scored 2 knockdowns throughout the fight)

Andy Ristie Vs. Ky Hollenbeck - Andy Ristie Wins by KO 35 seconds into Round 1 (He landed 1 left hand, wobbled Ky then finished with another left hook)

Featherweight Tournament Final - Gabriel Varga Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the Featherweight Tournament Champion (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Mirko Crocop Vs. Jarrel Miller - Mirko CroCop Wins by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Last Man Standing PPV card

Artem Levin Vs. Alex Pereira - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Melvin Manhoef Vs. Filip Verlinden - Filip Verlinden Wins by Majority Decision (28-28, 30-27, 30-27. Filip scores a head kick knockdown in Rd 1)

Joe Schilling Vs. Simon Marcus - Joe Schilling Wins by KO in the last 20 seconds of the EXTRA round (Right hook CRAZZZZY FIGHT!!)

Wayne Barrett Vs. Bogdan Stoica - Wayne Barrett Wins by KO 58 seconds into Round 3 (Left hook counter while Stoica came in with a flying knee)

Marc De Bonte Vs. Joseph Valtellini - Joseph Valtellini Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Welterweight World Champ. (47-46, 47-46, 47-46)

Semifinal #1 - Levin Vs. Verlinden - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Semifinal #2 - Schilling Vs. Barrett - Joe Schilling Wins by Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)  

Daniel Ghita Vs. Rico Verhoeven - Rico Verhoeven Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Heavyweight Champ (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)

Final - Schilling Vs. Levin - Artem Levin Wins by Unanimous Decision and is the new Glory Middleweight Tournament and World champion (29-26, 29-26, 29-26)

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Glory 17: Filip Verlinden Knows The Fight Life

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Filip Verlinden knows the fight life. Growing up as the son of a champion kickboxer, it’s second nature to him. While some might think professionally he entered the game late, whether fighting as an amateur or a professional, he been at it as long as he can remember. It was at age twenty-six that he decided to fully commit to kickboxing as a career and it’s been nothing but up for “The Belgian Bull”. Training with his father, Wim, as well as at Hemmers Gym, Filip has captured the IFMA Muay Thai Heavyweight World Champion title in 2010 and racked up countless other wins.Now ranked at #4, Saturday, June 21, 2014, he will be a participant at Glory’s inaugural PPV event, The Last Man Standing where he will face Melvin Manhoef in the first round.

They say, “It’s the quiet ones you have to watch”, this is definitely the case with Filip. He’s not the loud guy or the trash talker, he simply comes to the ring to do his job. His strengths include strong boxing skills and speed but these are just two of the tools that he uses to help him accomplish his goal. In The Last Man Standing tournament he will enter the ring coming off a win against Israel Adesanya at Glory 15 in Istanbul and he feels optimistic. He is a renewed man, now fighting at middleweight Filip feels he has found his niche. Maintaining his weight, he states has been no problem and actually that he feels more comfortable at 185. Whether he remains in the fight world steadily climbing the ranks at Glory, he states there is nothing else he would rather do. Even if he were not fighting professionally, Filip states that he’s sure his job would be something related if nothing more than fighting at an amateur level or being a trainer. Focused is the zone he is currently in.

Both he and his trainer, Nick Hemmers state he has worked very hard to prepare for this fight and his mind is honed strictly on Manhoef, his first opponent. His plans for any of the other fighters will be based solely on how the other matches develop. Like most fighters, Filip states that he has no particular opponent that he would like to face and will do his best to prepare for whoever he is matched up with. Filip shares the enthusiasm of all the fighters and staff at Glory regarding this PPV event as well as Glory’s goal to make kickboxing as popular in America as it is in Holland and Japan.

To his fans around the world, Filip expresses extreme gratitude for their support and that he will continue to put his best foot forward both inside the ring and outside as an ambassador for the sport. If you are ever looking to meet Filip, you might catch him watching a musical which he states he enjoys immensely! 

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Glory 17: Last Man Standing Open Workouts and Press Conference Highlights

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With only one more sleep remaining until the biggest kickboxing card since the K-1 WGP days, I find myself looking for every hype video I can possibly find to kill time until Glory 17.

This video shows us some short clips of some of the fighters doing an open workout and the best parts of the press conference. Seeing the different ways and contrast between the way fighters train is always interesting to watch (especially for me considering sometimes i can use some of their tricks). For example watching Simon Marcus, a more Thai style fighter hit pads is very different from watching Jarrell Miller, more of a boxer, or even Rico Verhoeven who is a Dutch kickboxer. Each fighter's skills are looking world class and they are looking in top condition.

Now on to the press conference, I'd just like to say how happy I am to finally see Daniel Ghita come out of his shell and and say more than two words. Its great to see how bitter he is about his last fight with Rico and we will see tomorrow how hard he has trained to show us that he believes he is the real champion. Its also nice to see no matter how confident they are everyone is still respectful and realizes how dangerous every other fighter is.

As if I wasn't excited enough, this video really pumped me up. I have really missed 8 man kickboxing tournaments and I feel that most of the new American kickboxing fans are going to watch this and realize what a real fight card is.

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The Last Chance at Glory for Melvin Manhoef?

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Knockout artist and perennial fan favourite Melvin Manhoef makes his long-awaited Glory debut this Saturday in Los Angeles, but is this weekend’s tournament the last straw for the Dutchman?

Melvin Manhoef has been competing in professional combat sports for nearly as long as I have been alive. At 38 years of age and with nearly 90 professional bouts to his name, Manhoef is no spring chicken. He enters this Saturday’s Glory event as the oldest competitor in the tournament field; coincidently the next oldest competitor is his quarterfinal opponent, the 31-year-old Belgian Filip Verlinden.  

Despite having a highly successful career in both kickboxing and mixed martial arts, Manhoef has never won a ‘major’ title. I use that term loosely, as Manhoef has held belts in both kickboxing and in MMA. Manhoef was at one time the light-heavyweight champion of former British MMA promotion Cage Rage; he recently won the Gringo Super Fight welterweight championship after finishing long time rival Evangelista Santos in less than a minute and once held the Showtime 85kg title back in 2009. Whilst these achievements should not be undermined, Manhoef has yet to taste gold in the upper echelons of both kickboxing and MMA. 

Manhoef’s best opportunities have come primarily within the sport of MMA. He was a finalist in the former Japanese promotion Hero’s light-heavyweight tournament and was also a semi-finalist in DREAM’s middleweight tournament, losing by submission in both instances to Yoshihiro Akiyama and Gegard Mousasi respectively. He unfortunately hasn’t been quite as lucky in kickboxing, as after having successful quarterfinals in both the 2006 K-1 Grand Prix in Amsterdam and the 2008 K-1 Grand Prix in Tokyo, he had to bow out early due to injury, however his tournament experience could definitely play a factor come Saturday night.

Manhoef enters this Saturday’s Glory middleweight tournament in a somewhat difficult position. Manhoef has lost his last four in kickboxing (albeit against Samedov, Spong, Saki and Bonjasky) and his hopes of finally earning a UFC contract went out the window with his losses to Brock Larson and Mamed Khalidov last year, meaning Glory 17 this weekend might provide the last chance Manhoef will ever have at winning a major title. It may also be the most ideal stage in which to do it on; Glory’s middleweight tournament presents a unique challenge in his more natural weight class of 185lbs and on fast-rising Glory’s biggest event to date, which will also be the first time the promotion has ventured into the PPV market. 

Whilst the challenge is most certainly enticing and one that I’m sure Manhoef is incredibly excited to start, it is also highly formidable, even for someone like Manhoef who has fought a who’s who of fighters throughout his career. Glory have forged a tournament that features arguably the eight best middleweight kickboxers on the planet and if Manhoef wants the gold at the end of the rainbow, he’s going to have to beat at least three of them all within the space of a few hours.  

Whilst a devastating loss this weekend might signal the end for Manhoef’s hopes of becoming a champion and perhaps one of the last times we see him step in to battle with the elite of either sport, it most certainly will not tarnish his legacy. From his electrifying walk-outs to his apocalyptic punching and devastating leg-kicks, Melvin Manhoef has wow’d endless audiences for nearly 20 years and even as he enters into the twilight stage of his career, he is still one of the most terrifying fighters on this planet and will without a doubt go down in kickboxing and MMA history as one of the most exciting fighters of our generation.

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Glory 17: CroCop Vs Jarrell Miller Pre Fight Interviews

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st at Glory 17 Live on Spike TV Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller will get his chance to avenge his loss against Mirko CroCop. Their first fight was in CroCop's hometown of Zagreb, Croatia, March of 2013 and lets say he had a bit of a hometown advantage.

Jarrell Miller has not had any kickboxing fights since his loss to Crocop but has been knocking out a steady string of opponents in his boxing career, so he is by no means rusty and wants revenge. Miller without a doubt will be looking for the knockout this time because he does not want to go to the judges and risk what happened last time. He has very heavy hands, pretty slick boxing defense, and also blocks kicks well for a boxer.

During CroCop's interview he calls Miller a Big mouth, which i'm sure most people would agree with, but its nice to hear CroCop talk a bit of smack as well, it shows he has some fire towards this fight. CroCop will not be able to clinch and smother as much as he did during the first fight with the Glory rules being a lot more strict when it comes to clinching. It would be nice to see CroCop not only go for the high kick but also try and break down the legs of miller as most boxers are very susceptible to leg kicks. 

Miller wants to knock out Crocop, avenge his loss, and then return to his boxing career. That won't be an easy task considering he has a kickboxing veteran known for his  powerful kicks with a plan to beat "Big Baby" for the second time. It only takes one punch or kick from either of these men to end anyone's night early.

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Join the LiverKick and Can't Stop Crazy GLORY 17/Last Man Standing Kountermove Tournament

  • Published in Glory

That title is crazy long, isn't it? Well, there is a saying out there, it's; You Can't Stop Crazy. So if we were going to have a crazy long Kountermove title, why wouldn't we team up with our friends at Can't Stop Crazy to present the GLORY 17/Last Man Standing Kountermove tournament that we were going to do anyway? Just like last time this bad boy is a freeroll, meaning that you can sign up for a fresh, new account if you don't have one already, put no money in and enter the tournament. You can walk away with money from that. 

So yeah, it's free. If you already have an account you should enter as well, because, well, you should. 

The official odds for GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing aren't live yet, but I expect to see them soon on MMAOddsBreaker.

There is zero reason for you not to enter this Kountermove free roll tournament for GLORY 17/Last Man Standing, so go do it now. Now, let's talk about what you should (and should NOT) be betting on.

  • Easy Money
  • Jarrell Miller ($4500) - Sure, there were some out there that felt in their first meeting that Cro Cop might have somehow won that fight. I wasn't one of them and if we are real, you shouldn't be either. Jarrell controlled where the fight took place, was landing cleaner strikes and that was the biggest fight of his career at that point. Since then he's had experience -- lots of experience -- and been scouted by some of the biggest names in Boxing. Cro Cop's dirty boxing-centric style is not going to cut it against Jarrell this time and Jarrell knows better than to get in range for that and eat headbutts. Without Croatian judges and referees this is an even playing field and that favors the man who calls himself Big Baby.
  • The Underdog
  • Joseph Valtellini ($4600) - Marc de Bonte is the defending champion, which gives him an advantage, as does his long career. But you know what? There is a tidal wave forming right now and it's forming behind Joseph Valtellini. Styles make fights and de Bonte's style is more conservative compared to Valtellini's, which is usually fine, except for one thing. Valtellini held his own against Nieky Holzken and was able to not only defend, but break through Holzken's defenses. Holzken is just about untouchable at this weight and is able to sneak by strikes through the best defenses. Holzken had problems with Valtellini. I think that de Bonte is an incredible fighter, but I'm not sure his defenses are as tight as Holzken's and he's gonna play the counter-puncher game, which means Joe will pick him apart. 
  • Too Close to Call
  • Daniel Ghita ($4700) vs. Rico Verhoeven ($4900) - Perhaps the most exciting single fight on paper for Last Man Standing, it is also really tough to call. Verhoeven absolutely has a win over Daniel Ghita, but this is both men, fresh, against the best version of each other. Verhoeven reminds me of Daniel Ghita back in 2012, when Ghita was just getting comfortable in the ring and broadening his horizons. Verhoeven used to be stiff and gunshy, now he's confident and using all of his tools in a fluid manner, which is great, but Daniel Ghita has been through it all now; wins, losses, a trip to the top only to get shot back down. There's a good chance that Verhoeven looks the best he's ever looked and wins a close fight, there is also a chance that Daniel Ghita pummels Verhoeven enough to take the win. 
  • The Long Shot
  • Alex Pereira ($4300) - If you look at the odds, Alex Pereira is the man least likely to win the tournament, when, in fact, for being relatively inexpensive in this Kountermove tournament, he's a tremendous value. He's shown us a ton in his past few fights and we all already know what Artem Levin brings to the table. That being said, knowing what Artem brings to the table, it means that he's going to be himself. He's going to be slipping strikes, working the clinch a ton and maybe even losing a point for it. Moving in close on Alex Pereira is a suicidal move and one that someone as confident as Levin might not be afraid of trying. There's a chance that Pereira even wins this whole damned tournament. You can quote me on that, because I said chance, not will, okay?
  • Stay Away From
  • The entire GLORY 17 Featherweight tournament - This is beyond too close to call, this is insanity. If you are into taking risks then go for it, I'd say your best bets are Shane Oblonsky ($4800) or Gabriel Varga ($4800), but that being said, daaaamn. That is a great, great tournament and some stellar matchmaking by Cor Hemmers. 
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Melvin Manhoef Talks Glory Last Man Standing PPV, UFC, Retirement on the MMA Hour

  • Published in Glory

Six days before his quarter final round fight against Filip Verlinden at the Glory Last Man Standing PPV, the #8 ranked Glory middleweight, Melvin Manhoef, was a guest on the MMA Hour Monday afternoon. 

Over the twelve minute conversation with MMA Hour host, Ariel Helwani, Manhoef discussed the differences between training for kickboxing and for mma, plus possibly cornering Lyoto Machida against Chris Weidman at UFC 175, rematching Robbie Lawler, and whether retirement is in his near or distant plans. 

To listen to the interview, you can watch the MMA Hour at www.mmafighting.com. Manhoef starts at the 1:37:53 mark. 

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