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Where Does Glory Go From Here?

  • Published in News

I made a pretty big deal about PPV buyrates and their impact on the future direction of Glory, but in fact, I didn’t have lofty expectations as to how the Last Man Standing tournament would perform. Modest results were anticipated, although putting a number on that and interpreting its significance is hard to do. This event was a picture-perfect example of a combat sports PPV done right, but some might be wondering: in light of the projected numbers, where does Glory stand? I would argue that Glory stands on perfectly solid ground and in arguably a position better suited to take on the American combat sports market.

We’ve learned a number of important things from following the TV ratings and watching the fight cards themselves: 1) Glory is a consistent performer on SpikeTV, generating ratings on par with or slightly below Bellator and better than WSOF. 2) Glory has found a consistent formula for their 2-hour time slot, staging 4-man contender tournaments, co-main title fights, and a main event SuperFight--that’s a lot of quality kickboxing in one night. 3) Glory has developed a stable of marketable talent that could headline future events. Joe Schilling and Joseph Valtellini are superstars tailor made for SpikeTV with the skills to sell a fight and the exciting styles to deliver on fight night.

For the two and a half years that Glory has spent trying to establish an identity and a consistent product to deliver to American audiences, it seems like the end result has finally been achieved, and it is 100% solid. Each card features a couple of well-known headliners and a contender tournament with prospects who are still making their name. This keeps costs low by not breaking bank on a mega card full of 6-figure talent, and it allows Glory to book and sell-out smaller venues that it can continually revisit. This model has been successfully followed by Strikeforce, It’s Showtime, and now Lion Fight.

Does this mean that Glory won’t stage big PPV shows anymore? No, but it does mean that Glory will need to be strategic and creative in how it plans future events. The SpikeTV formula will work well in the United States when Glory must necessarily operate in 2,000 to 3,000 person venues, but if places like Istanbul can really put more than 10,000 butts in seats, then there are greater possibilities. Co-promotion with Bellator would also be a major boon to Glory. While Glory may not have the muscle right now to be a PPV success, it could easily enhance the marketability of a Bellator PPV. Bellator/Glory Dynamite 2014 on PPV, anyone? Bellator and Glory could not be in a better position to attempt something like this, especially with Scott Coker in the driver’s seat clearing the way to stable co-promotion. Having multiple smaller shows with only a couple of big shows per year is the right step to sustainability long-term.

Finally, let’s remind ourselves of where Glory truly stands. In terms of its success, Glory is nowhere close to being the UFC, and neither is it close to being Bellator. It is a big, international organization that does slightly better than or about the same as a regional fight promotion. It has shouldered substantial loss to get to where it is now. However, it is unequivocally gaining momentum. The combat sports community is interested in Glory and wants to see more, and every event is gaining more traction in the hearts of fight fans. The ratings, while not a skyrocketing success, are stable. The stage is set for Glory to have its breakthrough moment with the right talent, the right broadcast deals, and the right formula in place. Glory needs to keep putting itself on TV with more small shows while waiting for the right moment to bring out the big guns. It may not happen this year, but that moment will come eventually. Until then, it’s up to us to keep tuning in, to keep supporting the sport, and to keep spreading the word. Kickboxing is alive, and it is finally here.

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

  • Published in Glory

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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Glory 17 Featherweight Contender Tournament: Shane Oblonsky Hype Video

  • Published in Glory

Shane Oblonksy will be entering the Glory ring for the first time on June 21st to fight for the the featherweight contender belt. Not only will this be Oblonsky's first time in the Glory ring, but also his first tournament. He is coming into this four man tournament as one of the least experienced with 8 wins and 2 losses as a professional. He did beat Malaipet Sasiprapa who has over 179 fights in March of this year, which shows he can deal with crafty veterans. Oblonsky's first fight will be against the Brazilian Marcus Vinicius. Their professional records are almost identical but Vinicius has been on the Glory stage before against the very dangerous and #1 ranked Mosab Amrani where he lost by decision.

Oblonsky has shown he has big power for this weight class, so aslong as the Californian does not let the pressure of the big stage get to him and does not get too wild, i feel he can give any of Glory's featherweights a great fight.

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Last Man Standing Hype Videos for Joe Valtellini and Marc De Bonte

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st the GLORY Welterweight Championship will be on the line as Canada's Joe Valtellini will challenge the Champion, Marc de Bonte for the title. De Bonte recently won the title at GLORY 16 over friend and former training partner Karapet Karapetyan in a technical battle that left many fans wondering if de Bonte can hang with the likes of Valtellini and Holzken. This is definitely his chance to prove that he is a worthy champion (note: we already know that he is, or should know). 

Check out this interview package that GLORY put together for Joe Valtellini on his road to the GLORY Welterweight Championship, as well as Marc de Bonte talking about his huge win over Karapetyan.

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The Last Chance at Glory for Melvin Manhoef?

  • Published in Glory

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 Last Man Standing: Alex "Po Atan" Pereira Hype Video

  • Published in Glory

Alex Pereira burst on to the kickboxing scene at Glory 14 in Zagreb, Croatia by first knocking out Dustin Jacoby in amazing fashion, then moving on to the finals against Sahak Parparyan and beating him by majority decision. He took the middleweight contender tournament belt back to Brazil and looked very impressive considering this was the first time most of us had seen him.

Now the question is, how will Pereira do with #1 ranked Artem Levin? This will no doubt be the biggest name, probably the best fighter he has ever fought, and tournament favourite. Levin has shown in some of his previous fights that his slippery style with his hands down by his waist can sometimes leave him vulnerable for long straight punches, and this is what Po Atan does best. There is also the factor of Levin looking past Pereira because he has unfinished business with others in the tournament. This would be dangerous for Levin as Pereira has very a long reach, with hard straight punches,if just one lands, it could make for a great night for the Brazilian.

 

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In the Gym with Wayne Barrett Video

  • Published in Glory

On June 21st Wayne Barrett will do battle in the GLORY Last Man Standing tournament live on PPV. Barrett will be fighting Romanian sensation Bogdan Stoica in the first round of the Last Man Standing tournament, taking on the winner of Joe Schilling vs. Simon Marcus later that evening. Needless to say, this is the biggest night of Wayne Barrett's Kickboxing career by a long stretch. Phoenix Carnevale of Everything Martial Arts hit the gym with Wayne Barrett where he gives some insight into his training and mindset.

Definitely worth the watch.

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Melvin Manhoef Pre-GLORY Last Man Standing Interview

  • Published in Interviews

(C) Esther Linn/MMAFighting.com

They call him “No Mercy” and that is exactly what you will get in the ring.  Melvin Manhoef, a man whose professional career has spanned nearly two decades takes the stage at Glory’s inaugural PPV event, The Last Man Standing on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at The Forum.  Since 1995, Melvin Manhoef has delivered brutal blows in both MMA and kickboxing also showing the world that he is dangerous in nearly every weight class.  Who has he fought? A better question probably would be who hasn’t he fought?  In the kickboxing ring he has faced the likes of Spong, Bonjasky, Leko, Karaev and Slowinksi.  Although in all of these match-ups he has not been the victor, one thing is certain, a match involving Melvin promises to bring heavy hits and hardcore action.  It is well and widely known that Manhoef is a knockout artist and does it very well.  For those who know Melvin Manhoef, they are well aware that he is dangerous from all angles, having brutalized his opponents with left hooks, right hooks and knees.  He is legend.  In anticipation of his debut with Glory I had the opportunity to talk to Melvin about his past, present and his vision for the future. 

SW: Melvin, you made it here to Glory and this very exciting event.  How do you feel?

MM: I think I am ready.  I had very good training and I am prepared.

SW: Is there anyone in particular that you would like to fight?

MM: No, I’m a fighter and I will fight whoever they put in front of me.  All of the guys are dangerous in the tournament but I feel prepared to fight any of them. 

SW: You are known for having a very aggressive style and have had some brutal knockouts in kickboxing and MMA. Do you have any prediction about how your fight with Verlindin will end?

MM: I like the knock out, but we will just see, but of course I like the knockout!  My goal is to be the champion. 

SW: For your training, you were training at Mike’s Gym or somewhere else?

MM: Well I train at Mike’s Gym sometimes but I also have my own gym.

SW: Many fighters have their own gym is this your eventual plan to do as maybe you move away from fighting in the ring, spending more time as a coach?

MM: Well I do that now in my gym and I won’t be fighting until the point that I can’t see.  Right now, I feel good and don’t think it’s any problem for me to fight. No injuries right now, so I’m ready. 

SW: Kickboxing or MMA, which do you prefer?

MM: I have a lot of experience in both.  With kickboxing, it’s very fast and there’s a lot of action.  I like MMA too, it’s just a different style of fighting.

SW: Glory is doing some very exciting things, revitalizing kickboxing in America. 

MM: Yes, and I am happy to be a part of this.  I thank Glory for having me at this event, it is very big.  June 21st will be very good for the fans.

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Marc De Bonte vs. Joseph Valtellini Added to Last Man Standing PPV

  • Published in Glory

Last Man Standing

We already knew that Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven would battle it out at GLORY 17's Last Man Standing PPV event for the GLORY Heavyweight Championship, but now it looks like there will be three titles decided on the Last Man Standing PPV. Sure, we'll have a Middleweight and a Heavyweight Champion crowned, but it looks like Marc De Bonte gets what he asked for in getting to defend his GLORY Welterweight Championship against Joseph Valtellini at the Last Man Standing PPV.

Add in a Featherweight Championship tournament on the GLORY 17 Spike TV card, as well as Andy Ristie vs. Ky Hollenbeck and Cro Cop on the card and you have a ton of reasons to be watching on June 21st.

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New Trailer for GLORY Last Man Standing on Spike TV

  • Published in Glory

We just don't want you to forget is all, neither does GLORY, but this Friday night GLORY's Last Man Standing event will be airing for free on Spike TV. Yes. Free. So you can relive (or see for the first time) the amazing event that was Last Man Standing. So check out the new trailer for it below.

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