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
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