Today, Friday, June 5, Glory is live from Lille, France with Glory 22. Glory 22 airs live on Spike TV with a special afternoon fight time of 4:00 p.m. ET. Here’s a look at the Spike card and what you can expect to see Friday afternoon.
Rico Verhoeven vs. Benjamin Adegbuyi (Heavyweight Title)
The main event is a great fight as Rico Verhoeven looks to make his 2nd Heavyweight title defense as he takes on Benjamin Adegbuyi. In many ways, Verhoeven has been the poster fighter for Glory during the Spike era, as the Spike debut saw his incredible performance at Glory 11, defeating Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita in a single night. Since then he’s been flawless in Glory, beating Peter Aerts, Ghita again, and Errol Zimmerman, claiming the Glory Heavyweight title along the way. But he’s also fought outside of Glory, and that didn’t go so well, as Verhoeven lost to unknown Andrei Herasimchuk in China earlier this year. He rebounded with the Zimmerman victory, but the ghost of that loss hangs heavy here.
Adegbuyi is a Romanian fighter who got his start in the Superkombat organization where he holds impressive wins over Pavel Zhuravlev and the late Sergei Lascenko. He debuted for Glory last year, and is a perfect 3-0 in the company, with his last Glory win coming over Hesdy Gerges at Glory 18. A big fighter, Adegbuyi comes in here on a 9 fight win streak.
Verhoeven is an easy pick here thanks to his higher profile, technical skills, and experience edge. But like I said above, there’s that Herasimchuk fight… In that match-up, the tall Herasimchuk pressured Verhoeven, and the champion did not like it. There is a lot Adegbuyi can take from that fight, as he also brings that size and forward pressure. This is a close, tough fight, but I like Adegbuyi to exploit that hole in Verhoeven’s game and become the new champion.
Prediction: Benjamin Adegbuyi by decision
Zack Mwekassa vs. Carlos Brooks
In the night’s other featured fight, the popular Zack Mwekassa is back in action as he takes on Carlos Brooks. Mwekassa broke onto the Glory scene last year with his huge KO of Pat Barry. He was back at Glory 18, making it to the finals with a brutal KO of Brian Collette before losing to Saulo Cavalari. With his fascinating life story (that involves running from a volcano, being shot, and so much more), winning personality, and terrifying KO power, Mwekassa has quickly become a major player in Glory.
Here, he gets something of a gimme. Brooks is primarily an MMA fighter with a 4-3 record coming in off a 2 year layoff. He claims a 9-1 kickboxing record, but those records are often a but questionable. Really, he is not much of a factor here – this is an opportunity to watch Mwekassa smash. Enjoy it.
Prediction: Zack Mwekassa by KO
Glory 22 also features a great Lightweight tournament with the winner moving on to challenge champion Robin van Roosmalen.
In one semi-final, former champion Davit Kiria faces Sittichai Sitsongpeenong in a tremendous fight. Kiria is an incredibly tough fighter who won the Glory belt last year before losing it to van Roosmalen. He’s had one tune up fight since outside of Glory. Kiria is a world class fighter who just keeps coming, and it was that determination that scored him the upset win over Andy Ristie last year. He’ll need that determination here as he takes on Muay Thai fighter Sittichai. A decent enough fighter in pure Muay Thai, Sittichai has found a lot of success translating his skills over to Glory style kickboxing. Earlier this year he defeated Murthel Groenhart and Andy Souwer in one night to win a Kunlun Fights tournament. His skills make this an incredibly hard fight to call. I’ve been back and forth on it again and again – right now, I’ll go with Kiria, but I may waffle again by fight time.
On the other side, you have Josh Jauncey vs. Djime Coulibaly. Jauncey is a great prospect out of Canada who has been red hot in Glory. Those who follow the sport have been calling for him to get his shot on the main show – now he does, and in a big way. Coulibaly is a late replacement (as in, 24 hour replacement) for Crice Boussoukou, who was himself a replacement for Niclas Larsen. Coulibaly has some big fight experience, including tangling with Buakaw, and will have the home court advantage in France, but this would be a tough fight for him under the best of circumstances, and with the late switch, I don’t see it going his way.
For the finals then, I have it as Jauncey vs. Kiria, and while I like Jauncey, I’m not sure he’s ready for that just yet. The big X factor though is that the Kiria/Sittichai winner will likely have come through a war. Will that be enough to allow the up and coming fighter to pull off the biggest win of his career? We’ll see tonight.
Join us here at Bloody Elbow for Glory 22 live coverage starting today at 4:00 p.m. ET.
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