Davit Kiria vs. Robin van Roosmalen
Fraser: I quite like Kiria, and his win over Ristie is an amazing moment. But he’s already 2-0 against Roosmalen, and for good reason. The way these two match up just does not play to his advantages. Roosmalen has a wider range of attacks and he throws more into his combos. Kiria is tough as nails, so he’s unlikely to go down, but I see Roosmalen outworking him consistently. Robin van Roosmalen by decision
Zane: This is reminding me exactly of why I stick to MMA for fight picks and commentary. Watching Kiria against Ristie I feel like his counter heavy game is made to take on more aggressive, more bullish strikers, which van Roosmalen definitely is. But, he’s beat Kiria twice already and watching those fights, he’s done so by going to a tighter, more technical game plan, of trading combos. From there, he’s the more powerful, and more diverse striker. Robin van Roosmalen FTW.
Michael Stets (MMA Mania): I expect this fight to be action packed. Both fighters have power and both are technical. Kiria can get a little crazy at times with his Ashihara background and start throwing rolling thunder kicks and spinning back kicks to try and catch his opponent by surprise. van Roosmalen looked excellent in his victory over Marat Grigorian at GLORY 15 and has now won eight fights in GLORY. This fight is unique in that van Roosmalen has two career wins over Kiria, yet Kiria is the lightweight champion. Both fighters are pretty evenly matched, but unlike the previous two fights, this one will be five rounds. We saw Kiria clearly losing to Andy Ristie before turning it on in the final two rounds to win the title at GLORY 14. I think the same thing happens here minus the knockout. van Roosmalen’s aggression will start to wane as the fight progresses and Kiria will take advantage and earn the decision victory. Davit Kiria, unanimous decision
Staff picking Kiria: Stets
Staff picking Roosmalen: Fraser, Stephie, Zane
Wayne Barrett vs. Jason Wilnis
Fraser: Wilnis is a solid journeyman from the Dutch scene, and he brings good technical skills to the table. But Barrett is truly something special. He fights with a confidence that is shocking given his minimal experience as a pro, and his combination of Muay Thai, boxing, and karate is a great mix that he uses very effectively. Look for him to stay outside, jump in to attack, and land the clean shots to consistently hurt Wilnis. Wayne Barrett by decision
Zane: Wilnis seems like a really patient, effective basics kind of fighter. He presses the opportunity when it’s there, but he doesn’t seem to create a lot of his own openings and seems comfortable to work straightforward punch kick combos on the outside until the opportunity comes to him. Barrett is much more fluid, much more dynamic, much more creative and will probably keep Wilnis a bit flumoxed. Wayne Barrett FTW.
Michael Stets: While Wilnis is a savvy veteran and should not be underestimated, Barrett’s skill level seems to be growing exponentially with each fight. The Queens-based fighter has won four of his six career fights by knockout and I feel he will get back in the win column after dropping his semi-final fight to Joe Schilling at “Last Man Standing.” Wilnis hasn’t won in GLORY since GLORY 4 and needs one if he wants to stay relevant in the division. Barrett mixes up his boxing and Muay Thai for a very unique and at times unorthodox style that has proved difficult for his opponents to figure out. Wilnis will land some combos, rip a few nasty low kicks, avoid any fatal blows, and make it interesting, but Barrett’s athleticism will prove to be too much for the Dutch fighter. He won’t hand Wilnis his first knockout loss of his career, but he will earn the judges decision. Wayne Barrett, unanimous decision
Staff picking Barrett: Fraser, Stephie, Zane, Stets
Staff picking Wilnis:
Semifinal: Zack Mwekassa vs. Brian Collette
Fraser: Power, power, power. That’s the name of the game here. Both men have KO power, but Mwekassa’s is a step above. He showed off his heavy hands against Pat Barry, and unless the cut down to Light Heavyweight is surprisingly rough, he should be able to put his hands on Collette and hurt him. Zack Mwekassa by KO
Zane: Okay, simple stuff here. I want Mwekassa to win. I’ve seen him fight, he seems like an awesome dude, I hope he finds success. Zack Mwekassa FTW.
Michael Stets: Collette has won his last two fights in GLORY and made it to the final of the “Road to GLORY” tournament before beginning to fight for the promotion. He is the lone American in the tournament at GLORY 18 and has a solid skill set and good power, but unfortunately for him, he will be running into a hornet’s nest in Oklahoma. Mwekessa is a scary, scary dude with freakish punching power. The South African fighter showcased that skill when he ended Pat Barry’s night at GLORY 16 with a vicious uppercut to earn the knockout victory. Mwekessa actually began his career as a kickboxer before embarking on a successful career as a boxer, but it is mostly a boxing style that he will utilize. He can kick if needed, but he will be looking to unleash the two cinder blocks he has for hands. He will catch Collette early on in the fight and get the KO to advance to the tournament final. Zack Mwekassa, KO, R1
Staff picking Mwekassa: Fraser, Stephie, Zane, Stets
Staff picking Collette:
Semifinal: Danyo Ilunga vs. Saulo Cavalari
Fraser: Ilunga is one of the very best in the world at this weight, with technical skills that significantly surpass Cavalari. There’s a chance the Brazilian lands a heavy punch on the sometimes hittable Ilunga, but I suspect Ilunga comes in with a fury and get the job done. Danyo Ilunga by KO
Zane: Cavalari seems like a wild, active striker who looks to come in with constant offense, no matter what his opponent is showing him. Illunga is a more patient, in and out, rhythm striker who seems to really pick his moment to throw dynamic and unpredictable combinations. Seems tailor made for Ilunga to win. Danyo Ilunga FTW.
Michael Stets: This was the toughest fight for me to predict and I went back and forth on it quite a bit. The Brazilian is currently ranked third in the division and has already stood in with some of the best in the GLORY ranks, losing his last time out to Tyrone Spong in the GLORY 15 tournament where he fought valiantly. He has fast combinations and knockout power and throws a nasty overhand right. That very punch sent Mourad Bouzidi out on a stretcher at GLORY 12 New York. Ilunga has sneaky power to go along with his flashy flying knee attacks and excellent knees from the clinch. The Congolese-German fighter is the No.1-ranked light heavyweight in GLORY and training under Remy Bonjasky has been a great benefit to him. He was a finalist in the GLORY 9 tournament and is highly motivated due to being passed over in the last light heavyweight tournament. Ilunga is far more experienced than Cavalari, but the Brazilian will keep it more than interesting. In the end Ilunga may eat a few big punches, but he will find the openings he needs to land just enough and make it to the final in what could be the fight of the night. Danyo Ilunga, split decision
Staff picking Ilunga: Fraser, Stephie, Zane, Stets
Staff picking Cavalari:
Fraser: I have this as Zack Mwekassa vs. Danyo Ilunga, in what should be a fantastic fight. This is technique vs. power, with Mwekassa’s raw aggression and heavy hands against Ilunga’s more precise attack. That Mwekassa power can change things at any moment, but it’s hard to pick against the significant edge in experience and overall kickboxing game that Ilunga holds. Danyo Ilunga by decision
Zane: Not just because I’ve got my fan goggles firmly in place, but because I do think that Ilunga comes in a bit dangerously when he’s not got a combination set up, I’m taking Mwekassa to win this. Ilunga seems to either throw one striker or five, and when he’s throwing one, he can be a bit hittable. I think he’ll do that one too many times against Mwekassa and get hurt, maybe not KOd, but badly enough to change the fight. Also, I’m a fanboy for this one, so Zack Mwekassa FTW.
Michael Stets: There are always different variables in tournament finals: injuries, stamina and fatigue all play a role. According to my semi-final predictions, Mwekessa will be the fresher fighter. Ilunga possesses the smarts and savvy to stay away from the heavy offense of Mwekessa. He will escape some trouble in the first round, but in the end he will be forced to stand in front of Mwekessa and he will get caught in the wood chipper. Mwekessa will connect with some overwhelming punches in the second and finish him off for good to win the GLORY 18 light heavyweight tournament. Zack Mwekassa, KO, R2
Staff picking Mwekassa: Stephie, Zane, Stets
Staff picking Collette:
Staff picking Ilunga: Fraser
Staff picking Cavalari:
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