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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]


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


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


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. 


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


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. 


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


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. 


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.


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.


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


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]


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



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.


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


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.


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.



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


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. 


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]


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. 


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. 


Glory 29 Taking Place in Copenhagen, Featuring Holzken vs. Kongolo

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Tonight at the GLORY 27 SuperFight Series the promotion announced that GLORY 29 will happen in Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday, April 16th. There is only one bout announced for it thus far and it's a pretty big one as GLORY Welterweight Champion Nieky "The Natural" Holzken is set to defend his championship against Yoann Kongolo. Kongolo is currently the fourth-ranked Welterweight on the GLORY roster, making for an interesting selection especially considering how close the Groenhart bout was in Amsterdam.

On top of that GLORY has announced that there will be a Heavyweight Contender tournament to see who will challenge the Heavyweight champion. One would think that Braddock Silva will be involved after his win tonight at GLORY 27.

Also, as an aside, GLORY announced that they signed Ismael Londt during the broadcast. Whoa. Hopefully he's in a tournament because that's a name I've wanted to see in the mix for years now.

They also announced that the ESPN deal is complete and is a multi-year deal, so GLORY officially has their home in the US set in stone.


Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus; or, the One Win That Eludes Levin

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When we talk about what GLORY calls their Middleweight division right now it’s hard not to recognize three names as the standard bearer for that division; Artem Levin, Simon Marcus and Joe Schilling. Artem Levin has been the man to beat for many years within the division, although he has been beaten. In fact, he’s only been beaten by Simon Marcus and Joe Schilling since his incredible run on top began back in 2011. Yet somehow Artem Levin always ends up back on top of the division, as the king.

That’s just what he brings to the table. 

Simon Marcus and Artem Levin are at an interesting point in their feud right now, where Simon Marcus holds a win over Levin from Lion Fight in 2013, but their last meeting at GLORY 21 ended in a controversial draw. I say controversial because many saw it as a cut-and-dry win for Simon Marcus, although the judges saw it as a draw. Perhaps if contested under muay thai rules the score cards would have leaned towards Simon and his aggressive, clinch-heavy style. Instead, fans were left wanting more after the five round war and had to wait over half a year for the resolution to that battle. 

Originally they were scheduled to meet at GLORY 24 in Denver, but an ankle injury forced Simon Marcus out of the fight, who was then replaced by Joe Schilling. Almost immediately after Schilling vs. Levin III was announced Levin pulled out of the fight with an elbow injury, which for Schilling brought back flashbacks to trying to get his first meeting with Levin arranged in the first place back in 2012 and 2013, with them scheduled to fight at Battle for the Belts only for Levin to pull out and Kaoklai to replace him. Schilling faced Jason Wilnis at GLORY 24 instead, with Schilling looking aggressive and hungry, Wilnis losing via TKO thanks to an injury and leaving Schilling as a contender for the belt, but Marcus/Levin as the fight that has to happen first. 

Crazily enough, on the undercard this weekend Joe Schilling will be fighting again, this time against American muay thai standout Mike Lemaire. If Schilling, who has one fight left under his GLORY contract after this one and has made it clear that he’ll be participating in Bellator’s Kickboxing league once that is up, gets his title shot is another question entirely. 

With Schilling waiting in the wings that leaves Artem Levin to do his best to pick up a win over a career adversary, the only one that he hasn’t been able to defeat and has hounded him for years. Their styles mesh together perfectly in a messy muay thai-mish-mash of clinching, slipped strikes, knees and punches. While both men are perhaps better suited for muay thai rules, Levin has adjusted the best to the rules while Marcus has had a few stumbling points, including losses to Fang Bian and Joe Schilling that have seen him down and out on the mat. Levin undoubtedly possesses power, but rarely does Levin finish opponents compared to out-techniquing them like he’s prone to doing and picking up a decision. 

As we saw in their last meeting, though, to decisively find himself the winner he’s going to have to do more than be slippery and to initiate and smother in the clinch. Judges and fans want to see more from both men and expect the very best of the best when they clash. Undoubtedly their last bout showed off their skill, but in the judges’ eyes they effectively canceled each other out. This is a big deal for both men, but for Levin this is the one, elusive win that he’s not been able to rack up in his decorated career. 


GLORY 28 Card Complete and Stacked

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From my time covering MMA the term "stacked card" went from an actual card chock full of top names to a card with two fights you might want to see. In a way it completely devalued the term and made it a bit of an eye roller for myself and a lot of other people. GLORY has done something here, though, something that is quite different and actually lives up to the term "stacked" with GLORY 28. The GLORY 28 card is in a way a throwback to a forgotten era where hype was real and marketing terms weren't tossed around lightly to keep fans loyal.

The GLORY 28 card proper features Rico Verhoeven defending the GLORY Heavyweight Championship against Mladen Brestovac in what I'd consider a fresh match up in the heavyweight landscape. That's something to behold in the heavyweight division where the best usually fight each other half a dozen times or more, historically. Seriously, in Brestovac's 60 fights and Verhoeven's 58 fights they've never crossed paths. While Adegbuyi was able to stop Brestovac's crazy 12-fight win streak in a tournament in 2015 to challenge Verhoeven, styles make fights and as we've seen Verhoeven has the answer to Adegbuyi's formula. Brestovac doesn't rely on early stoppages as much and things might get interesting, but then again, Verhoeven has looked unstoppable of late.

Groenhart is in action, which will hopefully keep him warmed up for a potential rematch with Nieky Holzken in the future. With GLORY planning two excursions to the Netherlands this year that rematch seems like the perfect way to headline a big Dutch show, but Cedric Doumbe has nothing to lose here.

The Lightweights are back at in looking to contend for Robin van Roosmalen's Lightweight title and man is Sitthichai looking for blood here. Marat Grigorian has been a guy who has deserved a spot near the top of the division for a long time now, so hopefully things stay on path for him and he could give us all a huge surprise on March 12th.

As for the newly-acquired-by-Fight Pass SuperFight Series it perhaps surpasses the main card in a few ways. Saulo Cavalari defending the GLORY Light Heavyweight championship against the very tough Artem Vakhitov, Freddy Kemayo looking to provide one of Xavier Vigney's biggest challenges to date, Serhiy Adamchuk defending the GLORY Featherweight Championship against Mosab f'n Amrani, Jason Wilnis takes on Filip Verlinden, Josh Jauncey against the super tough Anatoly Moiseev and Maykol Yurk against Eddy Nait-Slimani.

If you are a kickboxing fan of any degree this card is insane.

GLORY 28 Paris
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

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. Anatoly Moiseev
Featherweight Bout: Maykol Yurk vs. Eddy Naït-Slimani


Glory 27: LiverKick Predictions

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Glory 27 is less than a week away so we have decided that its prediction time again here at Dave Walsh and I (Jay Jauncey) will predict the winner and how they will win for both the Glory 27 main card which will be on ESPN3 and the Glory 27 Superfight Series which will be on UFC Fight Pass. Make sure to leave us your predictions as well.

Main Card

Middleweight Title: Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus - JJ: Levin via Dec, DW: Levin via Dec.

Giga Chikadze vs. Kevin VanNostrand - JJ: Chikadze via Dec, DW: Chikadze via Dec.

Middleweight Tournament Finals - JJ: Roberson via Dec, DW: Roberson via Dec

Semifinal: Dustin Jacoby vs. Karl Roberson - JJ: Roberson via TKO, DW: Roberson via Dec

Semifinal: Wayne Barrett vs. Robert Thomas - JJ: Thomas via Dec, DW: Thomas via Dec

SuperFight Series

Middleweight: Joe Schilling vs. Mike Lemaire - JJ: Schilling via KO, DW: Schilling via Dec

Heavyweight: Anderson "Braddock" Silva vs. Maurice Greene - JJ: Braddock via KO, DW: Braddock via KO

Heavyweight: Demoreo Dennis vs. Guto Inocente - JJ: Dennis via TKO, DW: Dennis via Dec

Welterweight: Richard Abraham vs. Pawel Jedrzejczyk - JJ: Jedrzejczyk via Dec, DW: Pawel via Dec

Welterweight: Casey Greene vs. Daniel Morales - JJ: Greene via KO, DW: Greene via Dec


VIDEO: Robin van Roosmalen Successful in MMA Debut

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GLORY Lightweight Champion has been training in Mixed Martial Arts for a while now, that much has been widely reported throughout the MMA blogsphere as when it comes time to talk about an MMA fighter's credentials, saying stuff like "training with a killer kickboxing champion" makes for an interesting story (while actually covering kickboxing does not, apparently). So we've known for a while that van Roosmalen has been training in Florida with sights set on taking the journey that many other kickboxing champions have made by wading into the pool of Mixed Martial Arts.

The result was a positive one for van Roosmalen, although it's fair to note that he did look a bit rough in the grappling department as many high level kickboxers tend to look when they work their way into MMA. Unlike someone like Verhoeven who fights in the less talent-rich heavyweight division and could have a greater deal of success with less refinement, van Roosmalen chose to cut weight down to Featherweight for his MMA debut. Featherweight and Lightweight, the two divisions that he'd be competing in, tend to be more talent rich and full of talent all throughout the world and the grappling of a 6-5 fighter in Anthinodoros Michailidis gave him some serious trouble in the opening round. 

That doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement, but it's difficult to see such a talented champion like him struggle like that, especially with kickboxing's at times tenuous grasp on convincing hardcore fans that this current crop of fighters is as elite as the previous generation. 


VIDEO: GLORY Countdown Special

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GLORY 27 is rapidly approaching and GLORY has put together a bang-up line-up for their 2016 return with the rubber match between Artem Levin and Simon Marcus. Also on the card is a North American middleweight tournament, the winner getting a shot at whomever the champion is come the end of the night in a future event. Here's the countdown special for the event, which will be airing live on ESPN3, the prelims live on UFC Fight Pass.


Joe Schilling vs. Mike Lemaire Added to GLORY 27 SuperFight Series

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GLORY 27's SuperFight Series will be the first live event that GLORY will host on UFC's streaming Fight Pass platform and they've decided to put their best foot forward with one of their biggest stars headlining the GLORY 27 SuperFight Series in Joe Schilling. Schilling, who has been rather outspoken about his on-again, off-again relationship with GLORY is seemingly back into the fold taking a fight against Mike Lemaire on two weeks notice, but the added starpower will be a great thing indeed.

Here's a look at the updated card.

GLORY SuperFight Series Chicago

Middleweight Headline Bout: Joe Schilling vs. Mike Lemaire

Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Anderson Silva vs. Maurice Greene

Heavyweight Bout: Demoreo Dennis vs. Guto Inocente

Welterweight Bout: Richard Abraham vs. Pawel Jedrzejczyk

Welterweight Bout: Casey Greene vs. Daniel Morales


GLORY SuperFight Series Moving to UFC Fight Pass

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If you are a fan of kickboxing and also really into MMA and were looking for everything to be in one place then today might be your day. Today it was announced that starting with GLORY 27, the GLORY SuperFight Series will be airing on UFC Fight Pass. On top of that, the GLORY tape library will be available as on demand content on Fight Pass as well. 

According to UFC, that means every GLORY event up until now is available immediately on UFC Fight Pass, a handful of It's Showtime events and over 100 K-1 events. That's a lot of kickboxing, apparently over 2,000 hours of kickboxing available right now. If you are like me that means you have to grumble about everything being removed from YouTube and you have to buy a subscription to something you thought you'd never have to use, but this also means added exposure for GLORY towards the hardcore MMA fan base.'


GLORY 28 Lightweight Contender Tournament Names Revealed

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One of the more exciting parts of the announcement of the GLORY 28 card was the Lightweight Contender's Tournament. GLORY's Lightweight division is perhaps the most stacked division on their entire roster at the moment, with Robin van Roosmalmen running roughshod over that division. Many have been calling for a rematch between van Roosmalen and Sitthichai after the controversial decision in their last fight, but the announcement of this tournament proved that Sitthichai will have to win another tournament to get there. 

According to a press release from Glory's French partner, Team 21, the GLORY Lightweight tournament will feature Sitthichai, Davit Kiria, Marat Grigorian and Djime Coulibaly. The match ups have yet to be announced and yes, Djime Coulibaly sort of feels like the obligatory French guy in that tournament, especially after losing in the last Lightweight tournament to Josh Jauncey. From what we understand Jauncey could be fighting on this card as well, although that hasn't been announced yet, either. 

Also notably absent is Giorgio Petrosyan, whom is fighting on the Oktagon/Bellator/Venum event in Italy in early April.


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