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.