This Friday, Glory wraps up 2015 with Glory 26 Amsterdam. Glory 26 airs live on ESPN3 this Friday, December 4.
The main card has a fight time of 4:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. PT and will be available live on ESPN3, but prior to that, the event kicks off with the Glory Superfight Series. Those fights will be available in a live stream here at Bloody Elbow starting at 1:30 p.m. ET, and will replay over the weekend on CBS Sports Network. Here, take a look at what you can expect on the Superfight Series, then join us tomorrow for a preview of the Glory 26 main card.
#5 Errol Zimmerman (103-12-1; 4-5 Glory) vs. #11 Thomas Vanneste (22-8; 1-0 Glory) – Heavyweight
This Superfight main event features one of Glory’s most popular and exciting fighters making his much anticipated return to the ring. Errol Zimmerman has been a fixture of Glory since the company’s earliest days, headlining Glory 1 against Semmy Schilt. His all action style, big personality, and heavy hands make him a crowd favorite – the kind of fighter who draws you in to the action even if you’ve never seen him before. Zimmerman has had big ups and downs over his 100+ fight career, but a year ago, he was looking to be at an all time high point, as he looked great in a tournament win at Glory 16, then was gearing up for a huge Heavyweight title fight rubber match with Rico Verhoeven this past February. That fight was short and exciting, but ended poorly for Zimmerman, as he blew out his knee. He’s been on the sidelines ever since, and finally makes his return here.
His opponent is Thomas Vanneste, who has fought on the local undercard before, but makes his proper Glory debut here. Vanneste is a solid fighter, and a good addition to the Glory Heavyweight roster, as he’s been in there with some high level opposition. At the same time, he’s clearly being brought in to give Errol a return win. This is Heavyweight, and Zimmerman absolutely can get reckless, so the possibility for an upset is there, but expect this to be a fast and furious, guns blazing kind of fight – exactly what you expect from the Bonecrusher.
Prediction: Errol Zimmerman, KO
#2 Danyo Ilunga (57-9; 6-3 Glory) vs. #5 Mourad Bouzidi (78-22-2; 5-4 Glory) – Light Heavyweight
Interesting Light Heavyweight fight between two very well traveled veterans of the game. Ilunga was, at one time, seen by some as the uncrowned king of this division. Until recently, his only Glory loss was a very sketchy early stoppage against Tyrone Spong. Trained by the great Remy Bonjasky, Ilunga is a technically superb fighter who always felt just one win away from being a world champion. But recent fights have not been kind to him. After a 17-1 run (the 1 loss being the Spong fight), he’s now gone a rather terrible 1-4 in his last 5, and comes in here off a loss to Artem Vakhitov at Glory 25. Ilunga’s not getting destroyed in these fights by any means, so you would be hard pressed to say he is finished or anything like that, but he is getting consistently just a little but outworked, which is clearly a concern.
Bouzidi is a near 15 year veteran of the sport who has competed against a who’s who of kickboxing. Bouzidi has always struggled at the highest levels of the sport, but he’s found more consistency as of late, going 3-0 in Glory since suffering a brutal and scary KO defeat at the hands of Saulo Cavalari back at Glory 12. For years, Bouzidi fought at Heavyweight, giving up significant size to his opponent. Now, he’s been trying both Light Heavyweight and Middleweight, and has had better success. A longtime student and friend of Peter Aerts, Bouzidi knows the sport, and knows it well.
This is a very hard fight to call between two closely matched opponents. Ilunga is the higher ranked fighter, and has the better overall career, but he’s on the downside lately, while Bouzidi is swinging up. Is it enough? I’m not sure, but I tend to think so. One thing is for sure – you can expect solid technical kickboxing in this one.
Prediction: Mourad Bouzidi, decision
#9 Zinedine Hameur-Lain (53-12; Glory Debut) vs. #13 Fred Sikking (46-22-1; Glory Debut) – Light Heavyweight
Here you have two fighters both making their Glory debuts. But as their records (and rankings) indicate, they are far from novices. Hameur-Lain fights out of France and is a near 10 year veteran. The 29 year old has been in the ring with many big names, and like Bouzidi in the previous fight, he’s often done so at Heavyweight, fighting as the smaller man. While he doesn’t hold any particularly huge wins, he has held an assortment of smaller, regional titles, many of them in different forms of stand-up fighting such as karate, as is often the case with French fighters. Sikking has good experience in Muay Thai in the Heavyweight division (which, it must be noted, is not exactly Muay Thai’s strongest division). He’s competed in Superkombat recently, suffering a KO loss to Andrei Stoica in August. Both of these men are good signings for Glory, particularly in their rather shallow Light Heavyweight division, and a big win here for either one will make for a strong debut. I expect them to come out looking to make that immediate splash, and like the power of Sikking to make a difference.
Prediction: Fred Sikking, KO
#4 Yoann Kongolo (60-6; 1-1 Glory) vs. #6 Karapet Karapetyan (43-11-2; 3-2 Glory) – Welterweight
If you’re looking for a sleeper pick for fight of the night, this is the one for you. Here you have two legit top 10 talents in a really interesting stylistic match-up. One one side: Yoann Kongolo, the powerful and explosive fighter who looked great when he made his Glory debut at Glory 22. He’s coming in off a tough loss to Karim Ghajji at Glory 25, but remains a dynamic, highly entertaining fighter with a world of potential. On the other side: veteran Karapet Karapetyan. Karapetyan has been in the game for a long time, and holds wins over major names like Artur Kyshenko and Alexander Stetcurenko. He last fought for Glory over a year ago at Glory 16, losing to Marc De Bonte in a fight for the inaugural Glory Welterweight title. Where Kongolo is the aggressive powerhouse, Karapetyan is the fast striking technical fighter. He’s not a high KO ratio kind of fighter, instead choosing to overwhelm opponents with a non-stop barrage of strikes and wear them down. That’s what makes this such a fascinating fight. Undoubtedly, Karapetyan will throw more and look to control the fight from the outside, particularly with his great leg kicks. The question is, can Kongolo solve the technical riddle, get inside, and explode on Karaptyan to get the stoppage? It will be a fascinating chess match to watch unfold.
Prediction: Karapet Karapetyan, decision
Perviz Abdullayev (40-4; Glory debut) vs. Aziz Kallah (10-3; Glory debut) – Lightweight
Opening the Superfight Series is a battle between two fighters looking to start building their careers in Glory. Abdullayev, who fights our of Azerbaijan, is an overwhelming fighter who likes to push his opponents. He also does a great job closing the show when his opponent is hurt. He’s had success in Kunlun Fights in China among other international organizations, and looks to make a big step forward on the international scene here. Kallah hails from Morocco, and will be giving up a big experience advantage here. This past May, he defeated the skilled veteran Fatih Ozkan in Enfusion – a very solid scalp for someone with less than 15 fights. He has a fair amount of Muay Thai experience in the Dutch amateur scene, which shouldn’t be overlooked. These kinds of fights often deliver real fireworks, as both men are very hungry for the win, and while you likely aren’t going to be familiar with either man, this is absolutely a fight to watch.
Prediction: Aziz Kallah, decision
Join us here at Bloody Elbow this Friday for live coverage of Glory 26.
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