GLORY 16 DENVER is in the books and as usual, there’s lots to talk about and a lot of questions and storylines emerging from the event.
We saw Marc De Bonte crowned as welterweight champion, Pat ‘HD’ Barry lose by way of crushing KO to Zack Mwekassa and a crazy set of fights in the heavyweight tournament which led to Errol Zimmerman walking out of the fray victorious.
Your expert panel of analysts here consists of yours truly, plus the veteran Dave Walsh of Liverkick.com, my esteemed Bloody Elbow colleague Fraser Coffeen and the MMA Mania heavyweight Michael ‘Stets’ Steczkowski.
Q: Errol Zimmerman won the tournament and earned a spot in the Heavyweight Championship Tournament which will take place later this year. That tournament will have the world title on the line and will likely feature names such as Rico Verhoeven and Daniel Ghita. Does Zimmerman have a chance to win?
Dave Walsh: “Errol has and always will be dangerous at heavyweight. Ben Edwards has improved a ton over the years and Errol made quick work of him, the same for Braddock.
“With Errol it always feels like he’s his own worst enemy. To be a serious contender he just needs to do serious work, but yes, he can hang.
Fraser Coffeen: “Zimmerman looked great at Glory 16, but that’s nothing new – Zimmerman is a fighter who always has the potential to look great. The key to his success is finding the consistently to always fight at his best. That’s something he has struggled with over the years.
“But GLORY 16 seemed different. Between his revelation that he would have retired had he lost the tournament, and his tearful dedication to Ramon Dekkers, it seems Zimmerman is fighting with a new sense of purpose and drive.
“So is a driven, highly motivated Errol Zimmerman a threat to the Heavyweight crown? You bet he is!”
Stets: “While winning a tournament is no small feat, and any fighter can win on any given night, I don’t think “The Bonecrusher” has a good chance at making through another tournament with the top dogs of the division.
“He is a savvy fighter who possesses great power and can certainly end any ones night, but unless he gets a little help like he got at GLORY 16 going against a clearly tired and worn down Anderson Silva – which in winning a tournament it is usually needed – he will most likely fall to an opponent like Ghita or Verhoeven.”
JJ O’Regan: “By his own admission, Zimmerman used to spend more time in the nightclubs than the gym and that meant he lost fights he should have won. Had he been a gym-rat, fully focused on training and competition, I think he could already have been talked of as one of the all-time greats.
“A fully fit Zimmerman is a scary thing. He had no problems with the altitude in Denver. Now that GLORY is making waves in the US, Zimmerman has refocused and is training harder than ever in his career.
“His stopping power is absolutely frightening and he has a solid chin, he’s dangerous for anyone – as long as he’s fit.”
Q: Marc De Bonte took the welterweight title in a fight with Karapet Karapetyan at GLORY 16 but no sooner was the belt around his waist than people were asking him when he would fight #1-ranked Nieky Holzken or #2-ranked Joe Valtellini. Is De Bonte going to hold onto the belt for long?
Dave Walsh: “I think De Bonte is vastly underrated at Welterweight. By no means is he a slouch or undeserving champion. I think he’ll have some serious struggles holding onto that Championship, but this is also his chance to prove himself, perhaps a little bit more then he did against Karapetyan.
Fraser Coffeen: “Wins over L’houcine Ouzgni and the #3 ranked Karapetyan – a man who himself was coming off a win over the great Artur Kyshenko – make it hard to argue that De Bonte is not a worthy champion.
“At the same time, there will be those doubters until he takes out Nieky Holzken. That’s the fight that has been waiting to happen, that’s the fight that must happen, and that’s the fight where everyone will acknowledge who is the true Glory Welterweight champion.
“Valtellini is a great talent himself, and will make for a dangerous challenger, but a win over Holzken is the crown jewel right now.”
Stets: “You have to give De Bonte credit for his victory over Karapetyan at GLORY 16. That said, whoever won that fight was immediately going to have an asterisk placed on their title because the No.1-ranked GLORY welterweight, Nieky Holzken is on the shelf with an injury.
“I believe Holzken is on another level and would dispatch de Bonte if they fight. Valtellini, although a step lower in skill than Holzken, is also one of the division’s finest and should also be favored to win against De Bonte should they fight.”
JJ O’Regan: “De Bonte says he has actually been chasing Holzken for a fight since at least 2010 so you’re certainly not going to find him trying to swerve it. On the contrary, at the post-fight press conference he said of both Holzken and Valtellini, ‘Bring it on’.
“Holzken looked a lot better against Karapetyan than De Bonte did though; he was able to totally dominate and batter Karapetyan whereas De Bonte was just outscoring him. Karapetyan is a very hard guy to look against though and De Bonte and Karapetyan trained together for years and knew each other very well.”
Q: There were some amazing moments and great fights on that card. What was the highlight for you?
Dave Walsh: “Highlight of the night was probably Mwekassa knocking out Barry. Crowd went insane for it, as everyone thought Pat would walk through him.”
Fraser Coffeen: “Can it be anything other than the Raymond Daniels KO? Never in my years of covering this sport have I seen anything like that, and I don’t know if I ever will again. What can top a moment like that?”
Stets: “The highlight of the night and perhaps the single most memorable highlight in GLORY’s history belongs to Raymond ‘Real Deal’ Daniels. I have seen a lot covering combat sports, but I have never witnessed anything like that.”
JJ O’Regan: “That kick from Raymond Daniels was just absolute martial arts perfection, a movie kick. I was also thrilled for Zimmerman winning the tournament, due to its connection with his late coach Ramon Dekkers. He was very emotional about winning that trophy.
“But my overall highlight I think was the fight between Anderson ‘Braddock’ Silva and Sergey Kharitonov. I was absolutely losing my mind during that one. Kharitonov is one of the hardest men in the world. To nearly come back and win from what he suffered in the first round one was amazing.
Q: Pat Barry suffered a first-round KO loss to Zack Mwekassa in their fight, which marked the GLORY debut of both men. Does Barry have a future in the GLORY heavyweight division or should he call time on an accomplished career and move forward into a new phase?
Dave Walsh: “Pat’s kickboxing career previously wasn’t that great, to be brutally honest. Then he left the UFC after being knocked out by two guys that he should have easily handled.
“Is Pat’s chin gone? Maybe. Does that mean he’s done? He can always adjust his style to protect himself a bit better, but do I think Pat will ever be a serious contender? No. Saturday night was not a shock at all, though.”
Fraser Coffeen: “It’s so hard to say what the future holds for Pat Barry. This was a bad loss, and one that has to bring questions in about his future.
“At the same time, people who are saying Mwekassa was just brought in as a can for Barry are wrong – he trained under Mike Bernardo, and he showed that he’s a powerful puncher who can close the show.
“So I think one more fight from Barry makes sense, but if he gets KO’d, and badly, again? Then it will start to become tough to watch a great guy like him keep on taking that kind of punishment.”
Stets: “We obviously have to have the discussion as to exactly how much Barry has left in the tank, or if he has reached his finite number of blows to the head after witnessing Zack Mwekessa take his head off in the first round at GLORY 16.
“I’m willing to give “Hype of Die” a pass on this one, not because it was his first GLORY fight but because I feel that there aren’t many men on earth that could’ve eaten the shots that Mwekessa was serving up last Saturday night.
“Barry goes out in his next fight and turns in a stinker and then we can start talking hanging the gloves up for fear of his safety. Until then I’m willing to give him another shot and see what he can do.”
JJ O’Regan: “Barry was having success with the leg-kick strategy in the early part of the fight but then he got drawn into short-range exchanges and that was the beginning of the end. I don’t know whether he consciously abandoned that route or just took a blow and instinct took over.
“Either way, it’s another KO loss and the obvious health concerns are raised. Do I see Barry being competitive in the GLORY heavyweight division? Not against the top ten, on this showing. Maybe someone like Ewerton Teixeira, also recently returned after a long layoff, would be good for his next outing.”
About the author