Tag Archive for Glory
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight title contender Antonio Silva didn’t fare too well in his first-ever professional kickboxing match, losing to current GLORY Kickboxing champion Rico Verhoeven in the second round yesterday (Sat., Oct. 14, 2017) at GLORY 46 from inside the Guangzhou Gymnasium in Guangzhou, China.
Of course, it was an outcome many expected — “Bigfoot” included — as Rico is one of the best standup specialists in the game today.
Now that Silva took a leap to step into the kickboxing world, his camp wants Rico to do the same, as Silva’s manager Alex Davis tells MMA Fighting he’d love to see Rico grant Silva a rematch under mixed martial arts (MMA) rules.
“So Antonio went out there and did his first kickboxing fight against the current Glory champ and legend Rico Verhoeven. And not even himself expected to win, but he fought like a lion! Nothing to be ashamed of! And nor was it the manslaughter everyone predicted. So now, Antonio thinks that it is Verhoeven’s turn to fight in MMA, and since he took the first challenge, now respectfully invites Rico to do the same in MMA. Bigfoot would be more then happy to welcome him!”
Rico does have some MMA experience, winning his lone fight via knockout in the very first round back in 2015, so it won’t be anything new for the towering striker. That said, Silva has lost his last five in a row and eight of nine overall.
While the fight isn’t exactly out of the realm of possibility, they would still have to find an MMA organization that is willing to sanction the fight.
Anyone think “Bigfoot” would do better against Rico in his own sport?
Glory 42 had one of the most bizarre — and scary — sequences in recent combat sports memory.
Welterweight fighter Murthel Groenhart won the co-main event bout in Paris against Harut Grigorian by savage knockout when Grigorian inexplicably turned his back to Groenhart in the middle of the round. Seconds after the finish, fans jumped into the ring and attacked Groenhart.
— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) June 10, 2017
The fans landed multiple punches on the Glory fighter, who said he might have had his jaw broken in the wild melee.
“Some guy caught me with a hook to my face,” Groenhart said on the broadcast. “I got my guard up. With those hands without gloves, it came through to my chin and my teeth. I think it’s broken [jaw], I don’t know. It hurts.”
Glory announcers explained on the broadcast that per the sanctioning body Groenhart didn’t break any rules by hitting Grigorian while his back was turned, because the referee did not step in to stop the action. It was a legal blow and knockout.
“When you are in the heat of the game, you just continue,” Groenhart said. “He turned away. I came after him and got him with the right hook that’s all. I did nothing wrong. It was all in the fight, all in the game. Everyone says in the rules to protect yourself at all times. The referee did not come in. I came in with the right hook. He fell down, and then I saw the referee come in. I did nothing wrong.”
Grigorian’s trainer Nicky Hemmers said on the broadcast that his fighter turned his back due to a cut — “which you never do in a fight,” he said — and he didn’t hold it against Groenhart for hitting him.
“It was not illegal,” Hemmers said. “It was not nice to do, but it was not illegal.”
Groenhart, 30, is one of Glory’s top welterweight fighters and the 2016 Glory welterweight tournament champion. This was his third straight win for the kickboxing promotion and very likely the strangest one, considering how everything unfolded.
“I was in the corner and I saw these guys coming out,” Groenhart said of the attackers. “I was like come on guys this is a sport. Things happen. Some people get emotional, too close. But this is a sport and little children are watching this sport at home. You can not come into a ring like this.”
One of the best strikers in the world is getting ready to make his MMA debut.
Saulo Cavalari, a former GLORY light heavyweight champion who holds an impressive 60-5 record with 49 knockouts in kickboxing, told MMA Fighting this week that he has started his transition to mixed martial arts.
Cavalari moved to Curitiba, Brazil to train at the Gile Ribeiro gym, and he now is eyeing a late-2017 debut in the sport. But that doesn’t mean he’s done competing in kickboxing.
“I’m thinking about making my debut by the end of the year,” Cavalari told MMA Fighting. “Until then, I still have a contract with GLORY and I’ll fight to become champion again.”
Cavalari won the GLORY light heavyweight title with a win over Zack Mwekassa at Dynamite 1, a co-promotion between Bellator and GLORY, in Sept. 2015. After losing the belt to Artem Vakhitov six months later, the Brazilian earned another shot at the gold, but lost via second-round TKO.
“I always had this dream of becoming a two-time world champion,” Cavalari said. “I lost this fight now and thought maybe it’s time to take risks in a different sport, become world champion in kickboxing and MMA. That motivated me to train MMA and compete in this new sport.”
The Brazilian striker, who will compete at 205 pounds in MMA, considered making a transition to the cages in 2013, but had to postpone his plans to take care of his family.
“I’ve competed in some jiu-jitsu tournaments here in Curitiba three years ago, won some and lost some,” Cavalari said. “I was starting this MMA project in 2013, but my mother passed away. I was coming off a loss in Japan, in kickboxing, and thought about starting in MMA, but I had to step away to take care of my mother. When I came back, GLORY was interested in signing me, so I signed with them and became champion. I lost the belt now, unfortunately, but that gave me this desire and motivation to start in a new sport.
“When I started training kickboxing, most of my friends moved to MMA, started training jiu-jitsu, but I stayed in kickboxing and became a world champion. I love kickboxing, but I always wanted more challenges. I’m a fighter and I want to challenge myself in different areas.”
It will be no surprise for Cavalari that anyone he faces in mixed martial arts will avoid trading punches and kicks with him, and that’s why he wants to be ready.
“Whoever I face, they will know I’m a striker and will go for takedowns,” Cavalari said, “so that’s why I’m working hard to be ready for this when I fight. I’m 27 years old and I’m as hungry as a kid, but mature as a grown man. I want to fight the best in MMA, but I have to be humble and know that I have to be ready for it. Step by step.”
Cavalari still wants to regain the GLORY light heavyweight championship, but will do it while he prepares for his transition.
“You don’t win a belt overnight,” the Brazilian said. “I’m still training kickboxing, but I already started training to fight MMA in the near future. I always wanted to compete in MMA, but never had time to dedicate to a new sport, train jiu-jitsu. I can do that now, make this transition.”
Cavalari’s MMA debut is still up in the air, but his manager Stefano Sartori is already “flirting” with some promotions in Brazil. And as he prepares for his first bout, Cavalari looks up to two fellow strikers who had huge success in MMA rings and cages.
“I’m inspired by two athletes,” Cavalari said. “The first is Mirko Cro Cop, who was a great fighter, and (Alistair) Overeem. He was a great kickboxer, but stepped away from the sport to compete in MMA. I see how happy he is in MMA, and I want that for me as well. I had the opportunity to fight in the biggest promotions in kickboxing, and I want the same in MMA. I want to be like Overeem. But he didn’t win the UFC belt, and I want that. I want to become the UFC champion.”
Yodsanan Sityodtong has already reached the pinnacle of one sport. He was a boxing world champion who fought at famous venues such as Madison Square Garden and competed on cards alongside the likes of James Toney and Diego Corrales.
At 42 years of age he could be happy to sit back and reflect on past glories, but the Thai boxer still has a burning desire to compete. He’s going to be on the card at ONE: “Kingdom of Warriors” which is set for Bangkok this Saturday night (local time) and has no intention of hanging up his gloves just yet.
“Even at 42, my body is still strong and I’m still fast. The main difference now is my body aches a little more than it did when I was younger, and I do get more fatigued after an intense training session.”
Yodsanan was one of the first Thai coaches to join the training team at Evolve MMA in Singapore. He’s still very much in demand as a pad holder but says combining his fight preparation with his other work commitments is just a matter of time management,
“It’s not too hard. I just have to be disciplined, manage my time well and have a good routine.”
Yodsanan fought on ONE Championship’s first ever event in Bangkok last year and scored an emphatic first-round stoppage win. It was his first fight in Thailand since 2009 and he was pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd at the Impact Arena that night.
“So many people that I know were watching and supporting me. I knew that the Thai people love Muay Thai, but I didn’t expect that many people to show up for MMA. It’s really a sign that the sport is becoming hugely popular in Thailand.”
Yodsanan fought on ONE Championship’s first ever card back in 2011. He appeared on the promotion’s third event as well, but it would be four years until the big-hitting boxer returned to the cage and he says the opportunity to compete in Thailand was simply too exciting to turn down.
“I was very excited for my last fight because I wanted to compete so badly at that point and especially in Thailand.”
Yodsanan initially started out as a Muay Thai fighter before being persuaded to switch codes and take up boxing. With MMA camps springing up all over the country, Thai fighters now have even more options and he has no idea which path he would chose if he was a young boy looking to forge a career in combat sport today.
“It’s all down to the opportunity you get or which sport you come across first. Love for the sport is very important, it’s very hard to say which one I would choose now.”
He’s won two out of his three MMA fights to date and Yodsanan will be hoping for a second successive victory when he faces Malaysia’s Kelvin Ong at the Impact Arena. The Thai might have only fought three times in the past five years but with ONE Championship in his homeland, he’s hoping to be much busier in 2017.
“I hope to fight about four times, especially if I continue to be healthy.”
GLORY: COLLISION ‘Verhoeven vs. Hari’ and GLORY 36 ‘Sittichai vs. Grigorian’ Preview and predictions
GLORY returns to Europe later today (Sat. December 10, 2016) at Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, with a full slate of fights over two separate fight cards. The 14-fight afternoon will culminate with the promotion’s return to pay-per-view for GLORY: COLLISION and the highly-anticipated Heavyweight showdown between GLORY Heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven (49-10) and Badr Hari (106-12).
In the co-main event, GLORY Welterweight champion, Nieky Holzken (90-11) will defend his title against No.4-ranked contender, Cedric Doumbe (56-4-1). Ismael Londt (38-6-1) takes on Jamal Ben Saddik (27-4) in another Heavyweight tilt. And kicking off the card will be the final of the Women’s Super Bantamweight tournament final. The semi-final matchups between Tiffany van Soest (15-2-1) and Jessica Gladstone (6-6) and Isis Verbeek (8-2) and Amel Dehby (28-0) are taking place on the GLORY 36 Superfight Series.
First up will be GLORY 36, which will feature a Lightweight main event between current GLORY champion, Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (108-29-5) and No.1-ranked challenger, Marat Grigorian (46-9-2). Also on that card is a featherweight battle between Mosab Amrani (55-11-4) and Fabio Pinca (88-20-3).
In addition to those two fights, there will be a four-man, one-night Lightweight tournament. The semi-final matchups are Anatoly Moiseev (16-1) vs. Dylan Salvador and Antonio Gomez (50-6-2)vs. Hysni Beqiri (48-1).
The four-fight main card for GLORY: COLLISION airs live via pay-per-view on UFC.tv for $ 29.95 beginning at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. ET. The GLORY 36 Superfight Series, which also airs on UFC.tv (available free and without the need of a Fight Pass subscription) begins at 1:30 p.m. ET / 10:30 a.m. ET. GLORY 36 airs live on ESPN3 starting at 11 a.m. ET / 8 p.m PT.
Let’s take a closer look at the matchups:
Rico Verhoeven (49-10) vs. Badr Hari (106-12)
It’s finally here. After all the talk and hype since it was announced back in July, the heavyweight bout that the sport has been longing for is now upon us and it is a great one. Verhoeven hasn’t had a tough challenge in quite some time, but with Hari, he is going to get it. It’s a challenge that he needs and one I believe he will conquer. We are talking about heavyweights here, so, of course, there is always a change of a knockout, but I would be surprised to see Hari take out the GLORY champion. He will come in and look to overwhelm Verhoeven with big punches, but it’s more than likely that the champ will not be engaging in a dangerous fire fight and will do what he does best, which is utilize his technical acumen, and use accurate striking while controlling the distance.
Look for Verhoeven to use his jab, array of low kicks as well as his teep to keep Hari at bay early on in the fight. This should frustrate Hari and the longer the fight goes, the more Verhoeven will capitalize on his mistakes. Yes, Hari is in great shape for this fight and has been training hard for this bout with longtime coach, “Big Mike” Passenier. But a long layoff before facing the best heavyweight in the sport, is, in my opinion, just simply a bridge too far. Hari has knockout power and if he connects it’s a big problem, but I just don’t see it happening. This is a three-round fight, so while I’m inclined to say Verhoeven wins by decision, I do think a KO isn’t out of the question. If Hari forces the issue and continues to press, I think Verhoeven could end up putting him down. That is a very strong possibility, so keep that in mind.
Prediction: Verhoeven by unanimous decision
Nieky Holzken (90-11) vs. Cedric Doumbe (56-4-1)
There has been plenty of talk before this one and Holzken asked for this fight. Doumbe, who upset Murthel Groenhart earlier in the year at GLORY 28, has been chirping at the welterweight champion for quite some time now. Doumbe could be a good challenge for the champion with his long reach,quickness and knee attacks, but I still favor the champion in a five-round battle. He will figure out Doumbe and start landing in volume later on in the bout and showcase is supreme skill set en route to what should be his fourth-straight title defense and 13th consecutive GLORY victory.
Prediction: Holzken by unanimous decision
Ismael Londt (38-6-1) vs. Jamal Ben Saddik (27-4)
Don’t get up to get for a bathroom break during this one. I don’t see this making it to round two. Both fighters fight aggressively, so “Rock ‘em Sock ‘em” robots is a likely scenario. Saddik can be super sloppy at times, and leaves many an opening, but when he connects with a clean one it’s usually a fight ender. This fight is a coin flip, but I’ll side with “Mr. Pain” here.
Prediction: Londt by TKO in Round one
Women’s Super Bantamweight tournament final: Tiffany van Soest (15-2-1) vs. Amel Dehby (28-0) (predicted matchup)
This is a prediction of what I think the final matchup will be as the two semi-final matchups are both taking place on the GLORY 36 Superfight Series. Van Soest takes on Jessica Gladstone and Dehby fights Isis Verbeek.
I think van Soest and Dehby both pick up unanimous decision victories to advance to the final. This will be an exciting matchup for certain. Dehby has an excellent overall game and has never been defeated. She is very accurate puncher and is also excellent in making her opponents miss while landing counter strikes. Dehby will cut angles and land nasty low kicks on the exit and can catch her opponents sleeping with a spinning-back fist too. She is as sound as they come. Van Soest has excellent movement and footwork and possesses solid power. She can be fearless in her attacks and will be creative with superman punches and a variety of kicking attacks. I think the clash of styles makes for one hell of a chess match. I’ll take van Soest to hand Dehby her first career loss and win the inaugural GLORY women’s title in a super close affair.
Prediction: van Soest by split decision
Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (108-29-5) vs. Marat Grigorian (46-9-2)
This will be the third meeting between these two lightweights. Sittichai holds a 2-0 record over the No.1-ranked contender. The last time they met was in the “Contender” tournament final at GLORY 28. The GLORY Lightweight champion used his go-to left round kick to go along with accurate punches and a good lead uppercut for his path to victory that evening. I think he does the same this time too. Grigorian will be fresher than last time, but I just don’t see him getting past the champion. Sittichai will likely never let him get into a groove and should earn a unanimous decision win in his first title defense.
Prediction: Sitsongpeenong by unanimous decision
Mosab Amrani (55-11-4) vs. Fabio Pinca (88-20-3)
Pinca returns to GLORY after a five-year absence where he went 0-2. The Frenchman is predominantly a muay thai fighter, but he has fought in kickboxing throughout his career and against some of the very best. He also holds a win over Amrani in fight that took place back in 2011. That being said, I favor Amrani in this one. I like his ability to switch stances, find openings and land punches. I think he does so on a consistent basis in this one. Pinca will keep it interesting, but Amrani gets his hand raised after three.
Prediction: Amrani by unanimous decision
Lightweight tournament semi-final: Antonio Gomez (50-6-2) vs. Hysni Beqiri (48-1)
Gomez is a last-minute replacement for Yodkhunpon. The only footage I found on him was that of him as a boxer. His hands looked ok. That doesn’t bode well for him against Beqiri, who should advance to the tournament final rather easily.
Prediction: Beqiri by TKO Round one
Lightweight tournament semi-final: Anatoly Moiseev (16-1) vs. Dylan Salvador (45-11-1)
This should be the fight of the tournament. Moiseev is an explosive striker with very fast hands, who will throw some unpredictable kicks at times.Salvador, who comes from a muay thai background, can throw down with the best of them, will stand and trade in the pocket, and holds a win over the current GLORY lightweight champion. Expect some fireworks in this one. I’ll take the Frenchman in a close battle.
Prediction: Salvador by split decision
Lightweight tournament final: Hynsi Beqiri vs. Dylan Salvador
Beqiri will likely be the fresher man in the final, but I think Salvador takes home the Ramon Dekkers memorial trophy when all is said and done.
Prediction: Salvador by unanimous decision
GLORY fighters hit the scale earlier today at Hotel Campanile Nice Aeroport in Nice, France, for the GLORY 35 card, which takes place on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 at Palais Nikaia.
The five-fight main card will be headlined by a light heavyweight title unification bout as current champion, Artem Vakhitov (16-5) faces interim champion, Zack Mwekassa (14-3). In the co-main event, Pavel Zhuravlev (69-11) takes on Zinedine Hameur Lain (56-13).
The one-night, four-man tournament will take place in the heavyweight division. In the semi-final matchups, Benjamin Adegbuyi (22-4) faces Hedsy Gerges (49-17-1) and Jafarr Wilnis (29-7-1) takes on Mladen Brestovac (49-11-1).
GLORY 35 will air live tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT on ESPN3, with a replay broadcast this Sunday at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT on ESPN2. The GLORY 35 SuperFight Series streams live on UFC Fight Pass at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m.
The weigh results can be viewed below:
GLORY 35 WEIGH-IN RESULTS
Light Heavyweight Title Headline Bout:
Artem Vakhitov (207.5 lb / 94.1 kg) vs. Zack Mwekassa (205.7 lb / 93.3 kg)
Light Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout:
Zinedine Hameur-Lain (208.3 lb / 94.5 kg) vs. Pavel Zhuravlev (205.9 lb / 93.4 kg)
Heavyweight Contender Tournament Bout:
Jahfarr Wilnis (250 lb / 113.4 kg) vs. Mladen Brestovac (253.8 lb / 115.1 kg)
Heavyweight Contender Tournament Bout:
Benjamin Adegbuyi (257.5 lb / 116.8 kg) vs. Hesdy Gerges (240.1 lb / 108.9 kg)
GLORY 35 SUPERFIGHT SERIES WEIGH-IN RESULTS
Nicolas Wamba (240.1 lb / 108.9 kg) vs. Nordine Mahieddine (235.2 lb / 106.7 kg)
Karim Benmansour (169.3 lb / 76.8 kg) vs. Eyevan Danenberg (168.9 lb / 76.6 kg)
Super Bantamweight Bout:
Amel Dehby (122.1 lb / 55.4 kg) vs. Jiwaen Lee (120.2 lb / 54.5 kg)
Josh Jauncey (153.9 lb / 69.8 kg) vs. Christian Baya (153.7 lb / 69.7 kg)
Petpanomrung Kiatmoo9 (141.1 lb / 64 kg) vs. Stanislav Renita (142.4 lb / 64.6 kg)
Cedric Castaigna (142.6 lb / 64.7 kg) vs. Vang Moua (140.9 lb / 63.9 kg)
Badr Hari refuses to square off with Rico Verhoeven, storms out of GLORY: ‘COLLISION’ press conference
As of Tuesday, the head games between GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari are now officially underway.
Hari, 31, whose had a reputation for being kickboxing’s bad boy for the majority of his career, stared long and hard at the champion throughout the GLORY: COLLISION press conference at Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Meanwhile, Verhoeven — like usual — remained his calm and collected self.
The fight, which takes place on Dec. 10, 2016, at Konig-Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, was announced this past July and is being billed as the biggest heavyweight kickboxing match of all time. It will be shown on UFC.TV via pay-per-view for an expected price of $ 29.95.
Verhoeven, 27, was asked how it felt now that he and Hari were finally in the same room with one another.
“For me it feels good,” he said. “I’m excited. Like I said, I never get out of the way of a good challenge. I always try to challenge myself to the max, and I think I’m doing it this time again. So, yeah, I’ve been performing on a top level now for several years. And to jump into what I mean with the ‘new school vs. old school,’ he said he was fighting in Japan when I was still fighting with shin guards, so he’s putting himself on the pedestal that he is older.”
“I’m coming up, I think I’ve fought some old school guys as well. I think he’s an old school guy because he’s from the K-1 days. He was in the top eight in the finals of K-1. He did very well. I miss those days. That’s what I meant with the old school vs. new school. Now we have the new school rules and if you want to go for the title you have to go for five rounds. Well, he didn’t want to go five rounds because back in the day they only fought three rounds. But, like I said it’s new school now. It’s old school vs. new school time.”
“The Golden Boy” then gave his reasoning for the fight not being a five-round affair.
“It’s a challenge,” said Hari, who last fought in August of 2015, a technical knockout win over Ismael Londt. “He’s the GLORY champion. I don’t want to restrict the GLORY brand, so I will say that he is a champion. Whether or not he thinks the title holds any value is completely up to him. And then he claims that I don’t want to fight five rounds for the title. Let me … I will also address those rumors, to my best abilities. It’s not that I don’t want to fight for the title, but I am thinking about long-term possibilities. Where he thinks this will be a ‘fun’ affair for honor and other things.”
“I think about the pay because I’m a real prize fighter. Money gets me in that ring and when it’s challenging that helps too. The problem is when I KO Rico in the first round, I will also direct this to Cor Hemmers, so he’s prepared for 2017 and the rest of GLORY. When I KO Rico in the first round, the title won’t be worth jack shit. Not a damn Euro. So, what will be the next match? That we’ll be the battle for the title of course, for real this time. That’ll be a double payday for me this year and next year if I read Cor correctly (looking at Hemmers on the dais). That’s the whole reason of that title. Where he thinks I don’t want to fight five rounds. I am thinking about two great paydays.”
*Dutch translation into English and transcription via Fight Pirate
Verhoeven, who clarified he said it would be a “fan” fight and not a “fun” fight, said he thinks it will end quick, but it will be him who is the victor in Oberhausen, Germany in December.
“I definitely think it will be over quick, but it will go my way,” Verhoeven said. “I am in top shape. You cant prepare for a top guy like me in just four months.”
“I feel good,” the champion added. “I am ready for this fight. I was ready a few months ago, I am ready now. For me the fight could be next week. He is getting ready, I was already ready. I was born ready!”
As the two combatants were called up to square off for the fans in attendance, Hari stormed off the dais and left the press conference.
“That’s the kind of character you’re looking at, that’s him right there,” Verhoeven told Todd Grisham immediately afterward.
— GLORY Kickboxing (@GLORY_WS) November 1, 2016
Earlier in the press conference, GLORY CEO Jon J. Franklin announced a new television deal with Ziggo Sport, an Amsterdam station. In addition to that news, the three remaining fights for GLORY: COLLISION were revealed. Nieky Holzken vs. Cedric Doumbe for the Welterweight title, Ismael Londt vs. Jamal Ben Saddik in a heavyweight clash, and the women’s Superbantamweight tournament final.
The lineup for GLORY: COLLISION was finalized on Tuesday (Nov. 1, 2016) as three new fights were announced at the GLORY: COLLISION press conference, which took place at Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The four-fight kickboxing card, which is slated for Dec. 10, 2016 at König-Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, is headlined by the highly-anticipated heavyweight main event between GLORY champion, Rico Verhoeven (48-10) and Badr Hari (106-12).
The main event, which is being billed as the biggest heavyweight kickboxing match of all time, was announced back in July and will be a three-round fight.
GLORY welterweight champion, Nieky Holzken will defend his title against Cedric Doumbe. No. 1-ranked heavyweight, Ismael Londt (39-6-1) will take on Jamal Ben Saddik (27-4-0). And the women’s Super-bantamweight tournament final will complete the card.
GLORY: COLLISION will be available via pay-per-view (PPV) and will also broadcast on UFC.TV. Sources close to the promotion informed MMAmania.com that the expected price of the event will be $ 29.95. GLORY 36 and the GLORY 36 Superfight Series will also be taking place on the same day.
GLORY 36 is expected to be headlined by a lightweight title fight between champion, Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (108-29-5) and No. 1-ranked challenger, Marat Grigorian (46-9-2).