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Joe Schilling Hit With 90 Day Suspension After Bellator Loss

If you were looking forward to seeing Joe Schilling in the ring wearing bigger gloves at the Bellator/GLORY Dynamite event in September it looks like you are out of luck. On Friday evening he competed within the Bellator cage against a Japanese karateka Hisaki Kato. Kato, who was a virtual unknown to most was thought to be simply a guy being fed to Schilling but he has an extensive history of competing within the world of karate and had racked up four knockouts for four wins in his MMA career prior in Japan. Needless to say the guy is no can and Schilling found out the hard way just how good he was, Kato scoring a brutal knockout over Schilling in the second round.

Schilling was originally scheduled for the September 19th Dynamite event on Spike TV but it came out today that the Kansas commission has handed out a 90-day medical suspension for Schilling, which takes him to the end of September before he's allowed contact. Clearly that means he won't be able to compete on the Dynamite card, which is a bummer. For now we still know that Paul Daley is scheduled to participate on the Dynamite card and he's been calling out recent-Bellator signee Josh Koscheck. I'm not sure that I want to see Kos's brain get scrambled in a kickboxing ring, but that could be interesting. 

Scott Coker also made mention of wanting to have a GLORY title fight on the card, so there is hope yet. 


GLORY Announces Hayabusa as Official Glove Provider

There has been a lot of movement on the sports apparel and gear front over the last few months in the world of combat sports after the UFC struck an exclusive arrangement with Reebok that prevented other companies from having their usual pull inside of the octagon. From there we saw TapouT get partially bought out by the WWE and will be launching a co-branded initiative in 2016, Venum is sponsoring a kickboxing series in Europe called Venum World Series and now gear company Hayabusa will be providing GLORY with gloves for the next three years.

This is a switch from Leone, which provided gloves in the past for GLORY. Starting at GLORY 23 on August 7th Hayabusa's new World Class Competition Gloves will be used by GLORY competitors. The gloves are set to be unveiled during GLORY 23's fight week.


GLORY 23 Card Details Begin to Emerge

GLORY 23 Las Vegas is GLORY's next big event happening on Spike TV and we'll see a new Welterweight Champion crowned on this night. Unfortunately due to ongoing effects from a concussion the champion Joseph Valtellini was forced to vacate the title and now Nieky Holzken will get his chance at the title against a man that he defeated just a few months prior in the ever-evolving Raymond Daniels. Daniels holds a rare knockdown over Holzken from their last fight and has been evolving and growing as a fighter steadily, making the rematch between the two in a five-round affair an interesting spectacle for both old and new fans.

The co-main event of the show has been announced as American Heavyweight hopeful Xavier Vigney taking on one of his biggest challenges to date in the UK's Daniel Sam. Sam serves as a gatekeeper to the realm of the international elite for Vigney and while a win over Sam won't thrust him into the top ten, it will help to legitimize his ascending the ranks and prove that he's ready to take a big step up in competition. 

The show will also feature a Middleweight Qualifying tournament and thus far we only have two names associated with it, which are Casey Greene on one side of the bracket and Dustin Jacoby on the other. We aren't exactly holding out hope for this tournament involving many bigger names, but it should serve the same purpose that the recent Heavyweight Qualifying tournament did, at least.

Perhaps one of the best fights on the card is on the SuperFight Series right now, which is Murthel Groenhart vs. Chad Sugden. 


Bellator Announces Dynamite!! September 19th in San Jose with GLORY Participation

Yesterday there was a spark of this potentially huge event happening in September featuring Spike TV's premier combat sports brands of Bellator and GLORY. While there was some trepidation throughout the industry everything fell into place and today Bellator announced that Dynamite!! will happen on September 19th in San Jose at the SAP Center. GLORY's participation in the event will be a three-fight offering featuring fights from Joe Schilling, Paul Daley and more to be announced.

It will be interesting to have the Bellator cage set up in the arena as well as an area for a kickboxing ring as well, with Spike TV looking to present what should be their biggest combat sports card to date. In addition to the three-fight GLORY card there will be a lot of big stuff from Bellator, including a Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship bout between champion Liam McGeary and UFC legend Tito Ortiz. In addition there will be a one-night tournament at Light Heavyweight featuring King Mo Lawal, Phil Davis, Linton Vassal and Emanuel Newton, the winner challenging the winner of McGeary and Ortiz at a later event.

This should be a big deal for both MMA fans and kickboxing fans alike and is a very good thing for GLORY to be associated with Bellator like this. While Dynamite!! was a Japanese tradition that blended together DREAM and K-1, it will be interesting to see what a night of "Dynamite" featuring Bellator and GLORY can be.


Possibility of a Co-Branded GLORY/Bellator Event under Dynamite!! Banner on Spike TV

In what I'd consider an interesting turn of events, there is a possibility of seeing the Dynamite!! brand revived yet again, only instead of being on New Year's Eve in Japan, in the United States in September on Spike TV. While Dynamite!! was synonymous with DREAM and K-1, this would be a co-branded event featuring Bellator and GLORY.

According to Ariel Helwani this is exactly the case and it will be announced tomorrow. What's interesting to note is that GLORY is reaching the end of their Spike TV deal which has some insiders a bit antsy, but cooperation on this level would mean a continued future with Spike TV and finally making use of the resources at Spike TV to help to push the GLORY brand front and center. More when we have it.


Catch Full GLORY 22 Fight Videos Here

We are just a week past GLORY 22 but it is still fresh in our minds. A lot went down at GLORY 22 and if you somehow missed it, well, you are in luck. As GLORY is prone to doing, they released the entirety of the show on YouTube for the world to watch and you can catch it here. The playlist below features all of the fights in their entirety. So check it.


GLORY 22 Ratings Take a Hit From Afternoon Airtime

By just about any metric GLORY 22 was a great event, both on paper and in execution. The Lightweight tournament featured some of the best and brightest in the Lightweight division and we walked away with Josh Jauncey looking like he's going to be a major player in the division for years and Sitthichai looking like he's marching to becoming a long-reigning champion. We also got some patented Zack Mwekassa violence and then we got to see Rico Verhoeven and Benjamin Adegbuyi stand toe-to-toe with Verhoeven walking away as champion still.

The issue, of course, came with GLORY 22 taking place in France. GLORY's main television contract is with Spike TV in the United States and while GLORY 22 did air on Spike UK, it aired on Saturday, when more people could be watching. One of the big complaints about past GLORY events emenating from Europe have been that Spike TV airs them on tape delay, which in a modern, internet-feuled age is liken to a form of self-sabotage. Spoilers are real and sporting events that you can DVR through the slower parts tend to lose the level of excitement that they bring when airing live. So Spike TV was going to make the "right" decision by airing GLORY 22 live. The problem here is that Spike TV opted not to air a replay of the event later on in the evening. 

The number being reported by SportsTVRatings is 152,000 viewers. This is of course excluding any possible DVR viewers that came afterwards, but is the raw, live number from Friday afternoon. It is, without a doubt, the lowest number that we've seen for GLORY programming on Spike TV. We spoke to GLORY officials who confirmed that while choosing France as the venue was their decision, when it aired on Spike TV was not under their control. GLORY was thrilled at the idea of airing the event live, but had begged for a replay later on in the evening due to 4pm Eastern and live at 1pm Pacific on a Friday seeming like suicide. 

One has to wonder why a network with the experience that Spike TV has with live combat sports and who seems dedicated to their Friday block of combat sports programming would make such an odd error. Spike TV has experience with the UFC, Bellator, professional boxing and now kickboxing to know how a show will fare at certain times and even the uninitiated saw 4pm Eastern as a bad time on a Friday. I have some serious questions here that there don't seem to be answers for as of press time and am starting to wonder if Spike has soured on the idea of partnering with GLORY or they are perhaps even looking to purchase the brand and "rehabilitate it" much like they did with Bellator years ago. 

GLORY 22 was a very, very good show that any combat sports fan should go out of their way to see. It's starting to look like Spike might not be overly enthralled with the brand that is still in its embryonic stages and if that is so, let's hope that GLORY does find a more commited partner in the future. 


Storylines: A breakdown of Glory 22

Glory 22 in Lille, France was a fantastic event that showcased top-tier kickboxing action before an enthusiastic and receptive audience of fight fans. Featuring a 4-man lightweight contender tournament as well as a heavyweight title fight between champion Rico Verhoeven and top contender Benjamin Adegbuyi, this fight card delivered on stoppages as well as tense technical battles which had fans on the edge of their seats. New chapters were written in the storylines for many fighters which will have a big impact on their future trajectories. In this article, I’ll break down some of these emerging developments:

1. A star is born: Josh Jauncey establishes himself as a top-10 fighter.

Josh Jauncey has been putting on impressive displays of kickboxing technique in each of his Glory fights, but he is very much an emerging talent on the scene who is relatively new to the professional tier of competition. I first became aware of him after his brother, our very own Jay Jauncey, uploaded videos of Josh’s amateur fights onto Youtube a few years ago. His skill was immediately apparent and he seemed destined for great things, exhibiting a style and proficiency that closely resembled that of his idol Andy Souwer. It subsequently came as no surprise to learn that Josh was going to Holland to train with Team Souwer, and he has only improved since then. Yet, Jauncey has been brought along slowly by Glory, and for all of the growing hype, he had yet to draw a top-10 opponent. That changed at Glory 22 as Josh deftly handled the veteran Djime Coulibaly and went three hard rounds with Thai phenom Sitthichai, who months ago bested Souwer and Murthel Groenhart in one night and who finished former champion Davit Kiria inside one round in the tournament semi-final. To say that Josh has arrived is a massive understatement. I believe his performance places him firmly in the top-10, and I believe his style and personality will make him a crowd favorite in the future. If you don’t believe me, then listen to that French audience chant his name again.

2. Sitthichai finally has the platform he’s needed.

Sitthichai is a top-2 lightweight. When he chooses to come out aggressively, there is very little that his opponents seem capable of doing to stop his onslaught of kicks and knees. Davit Kiria is one of the toughest, most durable lightweights in the world, and Sitthichai’s knees put Kiria in a world of pain that left the former champion unable to continue. Despite the variety of Josh Jauncey’s techniques and his craftiness in evading the full power and aggression of the Thai, Sitthichai thoroughly handled the Canadian, relentlessly chopping away with his tree trunk-sized legs. Mauro Ranallo aptly compared Sitthichai to fellow Thai kickboxing legend Buakaw Banchamek, and much like Buakaw, Sitthichai’s flaws mainly stem from pacing issues and an occasional lack of aggression. However, when Sitthichai is on point, he is an unstoppable force and a clear-cut world-beater, and Glory has finally given him the chance to face the world’s best lightweights. His coming title fight against Robin van Rosmalen will be the caliber of fight that Sitthichai has deserved for years as well as one of the toughest fights of Robin’s career.

3. Rico Verhoeven proves the doubters wrong.

If beating Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita (twice) isn’t enough to prove that Rico is a top heavyweight, than a completely dominating performance against Benjamin Adegbuyi should hopefully silence the critics. It has been a tough road for Verhoeven, who has been around the scene for years but who has always stood in the shadow of fighters like Saki, Ghita, Badr Hari, and Errol Zimmerman. He has demonstrated great ability but has also suffered from consistency issues, dropping a decision to Andrei Gerasimchuk in a fight that as the world champion he really shouldn’t have lost. Indeed, his performance during the opening round of this championship fight was similarly troubling with Verhoeven letting Adegbuyi control the round with his stiff jab. He came alive as the fight went on, putting on the performance that a champion should—using his low kick to punish Benny’s boxing and dominating the Romanian in the championship rounds. Rico described his performance as “okay,” and his perception is understandable—he is arriving at his best years but has by no means reached his peak.

4. Mourad Bouzidi belongs at light heavyweight.

Mourad Bouzidi could be one of the most overlooked fighters in kickboxing, and it’s easy to see why: for years Mourad competed as an undersized heavyweight who was bullied by the likes of Daniel Ghita and other giants. In spite of this, he holds wins against the likes of Anderson “Braddock” Silva and Hesdy Gerges. His victory over Filip Verlinden firmly establishes the weight class he needs to compete in; it is one of the biggest wins of his career, and for the first time, it puts him in a serious title conversation.

5. Other stories.

Zack Mwekassa picked up another KO win here, but this match-up really did nothing to further his place in the division. I think his place as #4 on the Glory rankings is completely absurd (#3 is Brian Collette—even more so). Zack is a nice guy with a great story who has awesome KO power, but we really need to see what Zack can do as a kickboxer. Drawing any of the guys who rank below him on the Glory rankings (c’mon!) will be a good test for him, but in particular, I would like to see him face Michael Duut, a Dutch kickboxer in need of a comeback fight.

Jamal Ben Saddik: what can I say, the heavyweight division is going to need more fighters for Rico Verhoeven to face, especially if Rico beats Braddock Silva. But is Ben Saddik really the right guy? After unceremoniously dismissing him following his disqualifying ground attack against Hesdy Gerges, Glory has taken him back, giving him an opponent to KO for his trouble. I don’t think that Glory should give unsportsmanlike conduct a bye. We’ve been down that road before with FEG rewarding Badr Hari’s repeated misconduct with the lightest of wrist slaps. I think Glory is far better off giving Ben Edwards a call next time.

Overall, it’s good to feel engaged with kickboxing again. Glory is producing events consistently now, and the narrative momentum is very palpable. The anticipation over Nieky Holzken’s return at Glory 23 is already building—as it should. The Hard Rock in Las Vegas is a tested venue for combat sports entertainment and is the home of Lion Fight, which regularly draws enthusiastic supporters to its Muay Thai events. Glory is putting together events which feature the right fighters in the right setting, and I look forward to Glory 23 with great anticipation.


Rico Verhoeven Retains GLORY Heavyweight Championship at GLORY 22

It was a monumental event for Heavyweight kickboxing at GLORY 22 when Rico Verhoeven defended his GLORY Heavyweight Championship against Benjamin Adegbuyi. It was the first real Heavyweight title bout for the new generation of heavyweights, accentuated by Semmy Schilt, Ernesto Hoost and Remy Bonjasky in attendance and presenting the winner with the belt. It was the battle of the knockout artist against the cardio and combination machine and it cemented Verhoeven's spot at the top of the food chain.

Many have been critical of Verhoeven in the past and he was looking to prove that he wouldn't be satisfied squeaking out a win, but instead wanted to dominate. Early on Adegbuyi came at him with everything that he had and most men would have fallen to those blows, but Verhoeven held steady. The Verhoeven that came back at Benny in rounds two and three was an angry one, highly motivated to not just let Adegbuyi tire out. Instead Verhoeven came at Adegbuyi with his fists flying and we had a war on our hands for a while.

Benny began to tire, though, and as the fight moved into the deep waters it was clear that Verhoeven was in the better condition and that his combinations were flowing just as easily as they were in the early rounds. It became a thing of beauty to watch Verhoeven slip strikes and land eloquent combinations against the Romanian slugger. Adegbuyi came back in the fifth round but it simply was too little, too late against the technical brilliance of Rico Verhoeven.

Verhoeven retains but Adegbuyi put on a valiant performance and shows that he belongs in the pantheon of top heavyweights right now.


Rico Verhoeven Looks to Impress at GLORY 22

At twenty-six he's on top of the world and not looking to step down soon. He didn't arrive there overnight, this achievement is the culmination of twenty years of hard work and dedication, not to mention the fact that it's in his blood. Rico Verhoeven, GLORY's current heavyweight champion is the son, of a black belt in karate, and no stranger to training and hard work. Today he reaps the benefits of those seeds that were sown so early in his life, but if you think that is all there is to Rico, that's where you're wrong. Besides maintaining his heavyweight champion status with GLORY, Rico is a father and a man who aspires to much more.

Currently Rico is set to face the Romanian Benny Adegbuyi at GLORY 22 in Lille, France. During the course of his career, however, he has faced a veritable who's who in kickboxing world among those names Aerts, Zimmerman, Ghita, Saki and Schilt are representative of the high level of competition he's faced. His career and rise to the top has not come without criticism. He has been criticized by people who say that his fights are not exciting and that the level of respect he brings to his opponents has also been lacking. This accusation has been especially prominent in his most recent fights with Daniel Ghita and Errol Zimmerman. Regardless, Rico has chosen to fight this battle in the ring by showing improvement in every aspect of his game and verbally with a maturity of man who truly embraces the term, 'sportsmanship'.

In his last bout at GLORY 19: Virginia, Verhoeven had less of an opportunity to showcase any improvements to his game. In this match, facing Errol Zimmerman a second round TKO stopped the match., the result of Zimmerman tearing his patellar tendon. In the ring, Verhoeven is best known as a highly technical fighter with strong boxing skills and a solid defense. In order to continue his eight fight winning streak in the face off against Adegbuyi, he will need those skills as Adegbuyi is well known for his aggression and heavy hands.

Whatever the outcome, the heavyweight championship at GLORY 22: Lille, promises to bring excitement with a clash of two titans.

If you're wondering about Verhoeven's other aspirations, I'll give you a clue... lights, camera, action, and I don't mean just inside the ring.

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