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GLORY 28 Lightweight Contender Tournament Names Revealed

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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GLORY Announces GLORY 28 with Three Title Bouts

Today GLORY announced that on March 12th in Paris they will be presenting GLORY 28. First thing to get out of the way here is that Gokhan Saki will not be fighting Saulo Cavalari on this card. That bout was scheduled to headline this show, but Saki pulled out of the fight due to an injury, the nature of that injury we've yet to hear anything about just yet. Instead there will be a whopping three world title fights to keep the fans happy. Those title fights are as follows;

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

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

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

Also on the card will be Cedric Doumbe vs. Murthel Groenhart as well as a Lightweight tournament featuring Sitthichai.

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GLORY 28 Clash Between Saki and Cavalari in Danger Due to Injury to Saki

In what the world thought would be one of Glory's best match-ups of 2016, the bout between Brazil's heavy hitter, Saulo Cavalari, and Gokhan Saki will most likely not be happening at Glory 28 in Paris.  Yesterday on social media it was reported that Saki is potentially out with an injury.

 

This leaves us with a veritable who's who in the list of opponents who can take Saki's place. Most formidable a among his contenders are Mourad Bouzidi, Danyo Ilunga, Zack Mwekassa and Artem Vakhitov.  Also within the same division are Filip Verlinden,  Brian Collette and Aleksandr  Stetcurenko.  How it will all hash out in Paris is any body's guess, but it will be an exciting ride.

We've reached out to GLORY for further comment.

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GLORY Announces Full Line-Up for GLORY 27

On February 26th at the Sears Center from Chicago GLORY will be presenting GLORY 27. The show, headlined by Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus, has a co-headliner in a Featherweight rematch between Giga Chikadze and Anvar Boynazarov. The two met at GLORY 23 in a bout that saw Boynazarov walk away with the decision, but both men are looking to climb the ladder in the Featherweight division and this is the place to do it. 

Also announced is the American Middleweight tournament. Dustin Jacoby vs. Mike Lemaire and Wayne Barrett vs. Robert Thomas is on tap, with the winner getting a shot at the winner of the headliner between Artem Levin and Simon Marcus. 

The show is set to air live at 10pm eastern on ESPN3 on the 26th and will replay on ESPN2 on Sunday, February 28th.

GLORY 27 CHICAGO

Middleweight Title Headline Bout: Artem Levin (c) vs. Simon Marcus

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

Featherweight Co-Headline Bout: Giga Chikadze vs. Anvar Boynazarov

Middleweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout B: Dustin Jacoby vs. Mike Lemaire

Middleweight Tournament Semi-Final Bout A: Wayne Barrett vs. Robert Thomas

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GLORY 27 Announced for Chicago on February 26: Levin vs. Marcus Rematch

Artem Levin and Simon Marcus have been locked into a battle for what seems like forever, two of the biggest names in their weight class, always vying for that top position. Their last meeting was a controversial draw at GLORY 21 San Diego, which left fans frothing over an immediate rematch. Joe Schilling was in that mix as well, initially getting a shot at Levin again, only for Levin to fall prey to an injury and for Schilling to close out his GLORY contract in a fight with Jason Wilnis before taking departing the company to focus on Bellator.

On top of this, GLORY has promised a one-night tournament at middleweight containing North American fighters, the winner gaining a shot at the champion in the future. No names have been announced yet, but a cursory glance at their rankings would hint at Dustin Jacoby, Wayne Barrett, Robert Thomas and, well, I don't know. This is, of course conjecture on our part, but logical conjecture at that.

The show will be at the Sears Centre, much like their last trip to Chicago, which means Hoffman Estates, and also note the ESPN logo in the corner. So never fear, it seems that GLORY and ESPN will continue their relationship moving forward. 

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CBS Sports Airing Six Hour GLORY SuperFight Series Marathon on New Year's

New Year's has a strong tradition of bringing fights to the world, letting us all say goodbye to the year with some violence while welcoming a new year. This year will be no different and while tonight may be Rizin FF's second show, plus there will be a KID vs. Masato exhibition in Japan as well, that doesn't mean that there won't be fights to watch in the US, either. CBS Sports Network will be airing a six hour marathon of GLORY starting at midnight Eastern (9pm Pacific) on January 1st.

CBS Sports will be airing the SuperFight Series from both GLORY 25 and GLORY 26 in succession, so if you haven't checked those shows out yet and aren't going to be standing out in the cold for New Year's this seems like a thing to do, doesn't it?

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GLORY 26 on Sunday Night Ratings Hurt by the NFL

GLORY 26 was perhaps one of the best combat sports shows of the year, that much shouldn't be surprising, just like the GLORY 26 replay having a tough time going against the NFL. Everything has a tough time going against the NFL these days. ESPN currently doesn't release any numbers outside of quarterly accumulations of viewers for their web-based ESPN3 platform, so it's nearly impossible to know how many people in the US were watching GLORY 26 live.

According to the numbers, GLORY 26's replay at 8pm on ESPN2 this Sunday pulled in 168,000 viewers, which isn't counting DVR numbers. That's a bit of a drop off from GLORY 25, which aired in a late night time slot almost 12 hours later. To contrast, GLORY 26 aired a full two days later and was competing against the NFL, which drew a monstrous 20 million viewers on Sunday night at the same time. 

It should be noted that MMAPayout has the number at 184,000, although it's not clear where this came from.

Once again, it's hard to really gauge these numbers right now, especially considering there wasn't much lead time for promoting the event. Hopefully ESPN and GLORY come to a longer term agreement for 2016 and get a time slot nailed down so that we can really see where the promotion stands on the network. Until then it is very gracious of ESPN to find a spot for the promotion while they negotiate. 

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Rico Verhoeven is no Longer the Prince, But the King of Kickboxing

James Law/GLORY

The career trajectory of Rico Verhoeven has been nothing but up, but for many years there were detractors who saw the young Dutch fighter as a mere shadow of the past Dutch champions that ruled the sport for years. Names like Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts and Ramon Dekkers all stood out as all-time greats that created such a huge legacy for a champion like Rico to live up to. Verhoeven has not always been the most confident fighter, which has led to a lot of narrow decision victories and a lot of criticism from both past opponents and fans alike. 

There was never any point in denying Verhoeven's talent, though. Verhoeven got into the game at a young age and turned a lot of heads quickly. Rico is tall, muscular, quick and skilled. Knocking out opponents never seemed to be something in Rico's repertoire, though. He'd win most of his fights, but he was never doing so in a fashion that felt dominating or exciting. The thing is, he was always evolving and growing as a fighter and tonight at GLORY 26 we saw the culmination of the years of hard work against Benjamin Adegbuyi.

Adegbuyi was able to control the early rounds in their first meeting before Rico's technical skills and Adegbuyi's fatigue were too much for him to handle. This was the Verhoeven that we all had grown to know and love. Without a doubt Rico was a great fighter, but many wanted to see more from him, that wanted to see those flashes of brilliance turn into tangible, epic moments that would go down in history.

That is exactly what they got when Rico's right hand landed flush on Adegbuyi's jaw and flattened him to the mat. This was the full realization of Rico Verhoeven, this was the man that was going to help bring the heavyweight division in kickboxing into the next generation with style. What a knockout.

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GLORY Announces Return of Gokhan Saki to Challenge Saulo Cavalari in 2016

During the live broadcast for the GLORY SuperFight Series at GLORY 26 GLORY made a huge announcement that in 2016 we'll see the return of the Rebel when Gokhan Saki returns to the GLORY ring in hopes of regaining his GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship. There was no specific date given, but we do know that GLORY's projected return in 2016 is for February, although it's unclear which event this will be on.

GLORY also announced that in 2016 we can look forward to the rematch between Artem Levin and Simon Marcus after their draw at GLORY 20. Those are two big fights and GLORY is looking to show the world that they plan to deliver in 2016. The return of Saki is huge, just huge.

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Danyo Ilunga's Eyes are on the Prize at GLORY 26

The terms humble and ferocious are difficult to equate, however, they are two of two of the first words that come to mind when describing Danyo Ilunga. Although still quite young by industry standards,  Ilunga has already fought the best of the best in his weight class and strives to, in the end be the best. Conversations with Ilunga are philosophical,  at times existential, but very well grounded, shaped largely by his past trials and the visions he intends to mold into future realities.  

His current reality is a rematch with Mourad Bouzidi who he is scheduled to face at Glory 26 in Amsterdam at the RAI arena on Friday, December 4th.   2015 has been filled with triumphs and losses for Ilunga,  but he plans to end the Glory combat sports year on a high note.  Improvements in his overall skill levels are what Ilunga states will make the difference in his match with Bouzidi and in 2016. At this moment the light heavyweight belt is in Brazil,  in 2016, who knows. Ilunga's eye is on the prize. 

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