Van Roosmalen and Ristie have met once before. It in the four-man lightweight tournament at GLORY 12 NEW YORK in November 2013. That was Ristie’s breakout night; he started as the underdog but then stopped Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin van Roosmalen to win the competition.
Ristie then narrowly missed out winning the vacant lightweight title at GLORY 14 ZAGREB after gassing out following heartfelt attempts to erase Davit Kiria from the face of the earth. Kiria survived several knockdowns and absorbed an insane amount of punishment before mounting a counterattack in the final round and stopping Ristie.
Kiria took the belt back to Georgia in the former USSR while Ristie went to work on earning another title shot. He stopped Ky Hollenbeck at GLORY 17 LOS ANGELES in June and then Steve Moxon at GLORY 19 last week to put himself back into the title conversation.
In the meantime Kiria met Van Roosmalen at GLORY 18 OKLAHOMA in November and lost the belt after being outworked and outlanded over five rounds (all five of which went at a crazy pace, by the way – Van Roosmalen’s conditioning is always beyond question).
The lightweight (154lbs/70kgs) division has always been one of kickboxing’s flagship weight classes – K-1 only ever operated a heavyweight class and a lightweight one – but even by the standards of the sport’s history, the GLORY lightweight division has been a dogfight since its inception.
Kiria, Ristie, Van Roosmalen and Petrosyan have all been the frontrunner at one point but have also lost to one or more of the others as well, making the division’s top four possibly the closest-matched in any of GLORY’s weight classes.
What’s particularly interesting about this rematch is that the first fight came in the final of a tournament. Van Roosmalen beat Kiria in the semi-finals of that one (just to complete the incestuous nature of the lightweight title picture) and had some damage whereas Ristie dispatched Petrosyan early.
Whether that made any difference is debatable but this time they are both going into the fight fresh and so the fight should hopefully be definitive. Based on recent results Ristie will probably go in as the favorite but Van Roosmalen has been on peak form since the loss at GLORY 12 and he will be hanging on to that belt with pitbull-like determination.
It has all the makings of a great fight and its placement in the main event slot means that the previous main event, Gabriel Varga and Mosab Amrani fighting for the vacant World Featherweight Championship, now moves to the headline slot of the GLORY Superfight Series 19 card, which airs via tape-delay on CBS Sports a week later.
Pat ‘HD’ Barry is also on the GLORY 20 DUBAI card. He faces Mourad Bouzidi in the co-main event. It’s a hard fight for Barry; Bouzidi was Peter Aerts’ sparring partner for around a decade and has also faced all the top names in the sport. Barry lost his GLORY 16 debut against Zack Mwekassa last May.
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