Glory 23 is done and we have a new Glory Welterweight champion. Nieky Holzken has finally made the move from “uncrowned” champion to just plain champion. He took a 3rd round TKO stoppage win over Raymond Daniels to keep his Glory undefeated run alive and claim the title. But it wasn’t as easy as many expected, as Daniels likely won both rounds 1 and 2, using his karate skills to avoid Holzken’s attack and land some nice shots. In the 3rd, Holzken stepped it up and opened a huge, nasty cut on Daniels’ eyelid that forced the fight to be stopped, claiming the world title.
Post-fight, he wished Joseph Valtellini a speedy recovery so that they could rematch. I think we can all agree with that.
- Is Nieky Holzken the #1 pound for pound kickboxer in the world? I certainly think so.
- There will be many who are let down by that ending, but that’s a pretty common ending in kickboxing and Muay Thai. Cutting your opponent is a strategy people use to win, and Holzken won, plain and simple.
- Daniels has nothing to be ashamed of here. He made some great adjustments from their first fight and looked like a more complete fighter than we have yet seen in his Glory career. He’s often been criticized for not being able to smoothly transition his karate game to Glory rules, but hopefully this will silence some of those complaints, as he absolutely looked like a man who deserved to be in there fighting for the world title. That said, I don’t need to see Holzken vs. Daniels III for now. Sorry.
- Dustin Jacoby won the Middleweight tournament, finally scoring a very hard fought and hard earned win in Glory. Jacoby has been thrown in with the sharks from day one in Glory, always going against fighters with way more experience. Here, he was against fighters at a similar level of experience, and he dominated. Nice hooks, good killer instincts, good knees – this was a pair of impressive performances from Jacoby, knocking out both of his opponents. It earns him a shot in a Middleweight contender tournament, where he’ll be back at that high level of opponent – will be interesting to see how the positives of this experience help him there.
- In the co-main event, Xavier Vigney continued his rise up the Heavyweight ranks with a decision win over veteran Daniel Sam. Sam was in there as a test for Vigney, and both men did their jobs as planned. Sam stayed in the fight, winning the last round with some aggressive leg kicks and pushing Vigney. But the younger, less experienced fighter dug deep, stayed in it, and got the win. It’s still not entirely clear just how high an upside Vigney has, but I continue to enjoy watching him rise. Would love to see him against Anderson Silva next.
- 29-28 Sam on one scorecard? Uh, no. Tons of split decisions tonight – some understandable, some not. This one was not. Just a reminder that terrible judging is not exclusive to MMA (or boxing).
- The main event of the Superfights was a dramatic one as Jamal Ben Saddik scored a crazy comeback 3rd round KO win. For two rounds, Ben Saddik, who holds wins over Rico Verhoeven and Remy Bonjasky, looked pretty terrible, coming in with a massive gut and seeming very gun shy and unwilling to throw his hands. Meanwhile, Braddock Silva fought like a man making his case for a title shot, looking very good. And then in round 3, one Ben Saddik punch turns it all around, dropping Silva. Silva made it to his feet and almost got through the round, but he was never fully back in it, and Ben Saddik dropped him again to get the win. That’s what happens when a 300 pound kickboxer punches you in the head. Crazy fight, as is pretty much always the case with Ben Saddik. Not a fight where either guy comes out looking good though.
- Matt Baker vs. Edward Hyman was a fight between two MMA fighters/kickboxers, both making their Glory debut, neither having ever fought anyone of note. Really not much to report here. It was a fight, it happened, on we go. UPDATE: Spoke to Baker’s coach Dan Black who clarified that Baker does not have MMA experience (my error there, apologies!) and that despite Glory listing him as 19-5 as a kickboxer, this was his pro debut. That changes things. Still not a terrific fight, but for a debut, this was a solid performance from Baker, and makes him someone to keep an eye on. Hope he does not get the Jacoby treatment and find himself against a long time veteran next time out.
- Chad Sugden picked up a split decision win over Murthel Groenhart in a fight that never really got started. Hopes were high for this one, but the two skilled, technical fighters pretty much just cancelled each other out. The end result was a very start and stop kind of fight that didn’t show any fireworks until the closing seconds. Super, super hard to score, but in the end, it’s a huge win for Sugden and should keep his rise going.
- The show opener between Giga Chikadze and Ansar Boynazarov was a good one. Fun opening round from Chikadze with lots of Nick Diaz’s favorite kind of spinning… stuff. His crazy arsenal of kicks earned him the first round, but he gassed and Boynazarov came back to take the split decision win. I had it for Chikadze, but it was a close fight – no robbery either way. Both men have a solid future in Glory.
Next up for Glory is Dynamite on September 19, followed by Glory 24 in Denver October 9.
GLORY 23 RESULTS:
Welterweight Title: Nieky Holzken def. Raymond Daniels via KO (cut) Round 3 1:36
Middleweight Finals: Dustin Jacoby def. Casey Greene via KO Round 2 1:19
Xavier Vigney def. Daniel Sam via Split Dec (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Semifinal: Casey Greene def. Quinton O’Brien via Un Dec (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Semifinal: Dustin Jacoby def. Ariel Sepulveda via KO Round 1 2:59
GLORY SUPERFIGHT SERIES RESULTS:
Jamal Ben Saddik def. Anderson Silva via KO Round 3 2:55
Matt Baker def. Edward Hyman via Un. Dec (30-27 x 3)
Chad Sugden def. Murthel Groenhart via Split Dec (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Anvar Boynazarov def. Giga Chikadze via Split Dec (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
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