Aftermath: Panel breakdown of the GLORY 26 AMSTERDAM fallout

Nieky Holzken and Murthel Groenhart went the distance in their bad-blood rematch. The fight ended in a split-decision win for Holzken but it has…

By: John Joe O'Regan | 8 years ago
Aftermath: Panel breakdown of the GLORY 26 AMSTERDAM fallout
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Nieky Holzken and Murthel Groenhart went the distance in their bad-blood rematch. The fight ended in a split-decision win for Holzken but it has sparked furious debate, because a sizeable amount of fans think the decision should have Groenhart’s way. A poll on GLORY’s twitter feed had it at about 60/40 in Holzken’s favor.

Dave Walsh “It was wrong, but at the same time, it didn’t stick out in my mind quite as poorly as Sitthichai/Robin did. I’ll say this, GLORY events in the US have seemingly had a lot less controversial decisions, which is leading me to believe that there is a problem with European judges – c’mon, a judge gave Errol three rounds. We need consistent, logical judging.

Only thing that I was upset with was that they couldn’t fight in an extension round, honestly. Watching a lot of K-1 meant being used to that – “Oh, they fought a close fight? Just call it a draw and give them another round.”

Stets It sure looked like we were going to have a new welterweight champion didn’t it? Holzken came alive late, but I didn’t think that trumped what Groenhart had done for at least the first three rounds. Groenhart fought a great fight, and it’s a shame the judges didn’t see it that way. I agree with Dave, in that it wasn’t as egregious as Sittichai getting duped in Italy, but it was the wrong decision in my opinion. And as Andreas said, having a 49-46 score for both fighters tells you all you need to know about the judging/scoring of that fight.

Andreas Georgiou I don’t have a problem with Nieky Holzken winning the fight, my issue was with the scorecards and how effectively all three judges saw equally different fights. Judging was consistently inconsistent all night and the fact you could have 49-46 split two ways is almost inconceivable.

One thing I would agree with how impressive Groenhart was. His illusiveness and ability to avoid being pressured into the corner by Holzken, as he has done many of his previous opponents, was brilliant. I think Holzken just edged it. Right decision but wrong score(s).

Fraser I had it 48-47 Groenhart. While I don’t think Holzken won, I also don’t think it was a massive robbery. Still, not a great decision, and it sucks that two fantastic shows to end the year have both ended with these questionable decisions.

What do you see next for Holzken and Groenhart?

Dave Walsh I’m heartbroken for Murthel. We’ve all been following his career and know that he’s had ups and downs, he’s tried out a lot of things and not all of them have worked. Nieky Holzken is one of the most amazing talents that I’ve ever seen in this sport but my god, Murthel had the answer for him. He had the answer and the judges didn’t get it.

I sincerely hope that Murthel doesn’t go back to the drawing board. That was an incredible performance and he knew exactly what he should be doing. I’d love to see him get a rematch, but I know that GLORY rarely works like that. If not, I want him to keep dismantling the division until he gets there.

As for Holzken, I honestly don’t know. He needs to fight Murthel again, but that isn’t up to him. Other than that I’m not sure who else is left for him to fight. I’d love to see Chad Sugden maybe get a shot after a few more fights in the division, but no one else sticks out to me. If Valtelini gets cleared I’d obviously love to see that, but there isn’t much left for Nieky right now.

Andreas Georgiou Holzken straight up shot down the chance of a re-rematch in the post fight presser. So as much as many would love to see Holzken-Groenhart III, it won’t be happening any time soon. No doubt, one would have to put young Chad Sugden in the fold for a future title shot having beaten Groenhart in Las Vegas. As for Murthel, a fight with Raymond Daniels sounds pretty appealing to me.

Stets That was a career best performance from Murthel. I’d love to see them fight for a third time, but I don’t think GLORY goes that route. But, it goes without saying Groenhart deserves a rematch. I don’t think Sugden is ready for Holzken yet, so I’m not sure who they put against the champion next. Uh oh, that means there will be another welterweight “Contender” tournament. As for Groenhart, how about he takes on Raymond Daniels and the winner of that bout gets Holzken next? I could get behind that as well.

Fraser Like Dave said, Groenhart fought the single best fight of his career by a mile. What does he need to do differently? Nothing at all. This reminds me a lot of Shogun/Lyoto, where Shogun looked great, lost, then just came back and did it again with more emphasis. I’d like to see an immediate rematch honestly, but I’m not sure that happens. So what next? Honestly, I don’t know. Until one or both of ‘Bazooka’ Joe Valtellini and Marc de Bonte come back, the top of this division will be a little hollow.

Rico Verhoeven finally ascended to that complete level in Amsterdam and is now the undisputed king of the heavyweights. Where does he go next?

Fraser My God what a great showing from Rico. He is absolutely the man right now, there can be no question. But yes, he has somewhat cleared things out, leaving little in the way of viable challenger. If you want to get him back in there soon, Jamal Ben Saddik would be fine. But at the same time, that feels like a Verhoeven fight we’ve seen before – hard-hitting giant with no cardio, although Ben Saddik does have that win over him from a few years ago .

A tournament makes sense – how about Vigney, Wilnis, Vanneste, and Gerasimchuk? But honestly, the Rico fight I most want is to see GLORY bring in Zabit Samedov to challenge. His technical game would be a change of pace or for the champ, which makes it interesting.

Dave Walsh I wish I knew what was next for him. Sadly, I feel that he may have cleaned out the division. That Errol Zimmerman that we saw in Amsterdam was not the same one as February, he looks at least a year away from being back into shape and motivated, if he ever is again. Barring the return of Daniel Ghita for their billionth meeting I’m not sure who challenges Verhoeven right now. He’s just so good, so technical and if he’s knocking people out now? Look out.

Maybe bring in Andrei Gerasmichuk for Rico to get his revenge? Then again, that would be admitting that they let their world champion fight in China a month before defending against Zimmerman, which would be weird, especially with the way that Rico lost. Maybe Wilnis would be a challenge? I don’t think that he’d win, but I think that he’d put up a fight, at least. Maybe Braddock? I don’t know, I don’t see anyone having the tools to touch Rico, sadly.

Andreas Georgiou No one in the GLORY Heavyweight division; as it stands, should cause Verhoeven any issues. There’s the case that a fresh Jafhar Wilnis could posses some trouble for the champion, but a part from that, besides rematching Rico with his former foes, GLORY may have to look further afield.

Stets Just a truly masterful performance by Verhoeven. While I always think a KO is a possibility in a heavyweight contest, I thought it was a forgone conclusion this one was going five rounds like the last one, but man Verhoeven just walked through Adegbuyi. One of the champion’s finest performances and he is only 26! I can watch that right straight/inside low kick combination on a loop for hours.

I’m not sure who they put him up against, but there aren’t many that can touch him at this point. Zimmerman looked awful in his loss to Vanneste and I’m not sure who they’d match him up against. Jahfarr Wilnis seems a likely candidate because he’s ranked No.2 and his fight vs. Adegbuyi in the G24 tournament final really could’ve gone either way. I’d bet on that happening before Anderson Silva or anyone else, but they definitely need to import some heavyweight talent because the division is pretty thin.

Mosab Amrani body-shot executed two opponents to win the Featherweight Contender Tournament and go forward to a fight with Serhiy Adamchuk for the title. Does he win that fight or does Adamchuk retain the title?

JJ Amrani is one of my favorite fighters and has been for years. I love his all-out, all-action style. He always comes to finish the fight and he wants to spend minimum ring time doing it. Amrani is a killer and he showed that on Friday night with two of his trademark body shot finishes (see also his finish of Liam Harrison at GLORY 5 LONDON). I think Amrani takes the featherweight belt off Adamchuk and I am very interested in the subsequent Varga rematch.

Dave Walsh I’m not sure how this goes. Adamchuk is a very technical guy and I’m afraid of what his title reign might look like. Mosab shines when his opponent likes to engage and that clearly isn’t Adamchuk right now.

Andreas Georgiou That’s a fantastic fight in my opinion. Training out of Mike’s Gym, Adamchuk possess that very awkward and technical ability to give anyone problems over five rounds. However, if Amrani performs as he did in Amsterdam, it could be a pretty clinical win for The Jaguar. Then onto the Gabriel Varga rematch too.

Stets Amrani looked awesome. He is so smooth and powerful. I love how fluently he switches stances in the middle of an offensive attack and how vicious his body attacks are. We could be getting a fun rematch with Amrani and Varga – which was a great contest the first time – but the judges scored that ugly mess in favor of Adamchuk instead.

I think Amrani is smart enough to not get caught up in that clinching game of Adamchuk and will keep it at range and punish the body of the Ukrainian and win the title. So, we will get the Varga/Amrani rematch, we will just have to wait one fight to get it.

Fraser After that terrible Adamchuk/Varga fight, I am not looking forward to anything Adamchuk. Hopefully Amrani can finally reach his much hyped peak and bring some excitement to that belt.

Gokhan Saki’s return was announced during the broadcast. Are you excited to see him return to the light-heavyweight division?

Dave Walsh GLORY made fans happy, that is what matters here. They said that they were trying and fans didn’t believe them, but now that he’s back I think that it’s clear that the promotion has indeed been trying to give fans the best that they can.

As much as Saki’s cockiness can be obnoxious at times, he has a pretty solid point that I’m not sure that anyone can touch him right now. Even with a bit of a layoff I see him coming back looking strong. Now if only Spong could come back, because that is the fight that everyone wants to see.

Andreas Georgiou The news of Saki’s return to the promotion came as somewhat a bit of a shock, but conclusively a pleasant one. Saki vs. Sailors Cavalari is a great match-up, and the Brazilian defiantly possesses the knockout power and leg kicks to give Saki issues. But a dominant Saki performance sounds a good choice here.

Stets What a pleasant surprise this was. I was definitely excited to hear he was coming back. It’s an unequivocal win for the promotion. Like Dave said, they made the fans happy here and since it took this long, I’d venture Saki let go of some of his salary demands so they could come to an agreement that is beneficial to both sides. Having “The Rebel” back in the fold is great for the division is fantastic. I favor Saki over Cavalari, but it should be a good fight. Also, I’m salivating at the idea of Saki vs. Mwekassa in a firefight until someone collapses.

Fraser Saki coming back is huge, just huge. That division was in danger of getting a bit stagnant, but with him in the mix, there is so much to offer: Saki vs. Cavalari, Saki vs. Mwekassa, Saki vs. Vakhitov, Vakhitov vs. Mwekassa, Bouzidi is also now in the mix… Amazing how one inclusion blows the doors open on the division and makes it a place where I am excited for so many fights. As to how he does? I still think he’s just a significant step above Cavalari, and by extension the entire division. But I’m excited to find out.

GLORY 26 AMSTERDAM was expected to be a great event and it was, it turned out to be a triumph for the brand. After a long period out in the cold it seems that kickboxing now has the chance to flourish in the Netherlands once more, under the GLORY banner.

Andreas Georgiou Five years without a major show in Amsterdam and the fans were as hungry as ever. The atmosphere was electric. Especially for the two title fights. Very impressed and excited for their 2016 return.

Stets I thought the event was great, even with the questionable decision in main event. The fight was competitive and highly compelling. Four KOs in five fights is never a bad thing either. Since going to ESPN platforms both G25 and G26 have been exciting and fun cards and that is a great sign for GLORY going forward into 2016. The crowd was at a fever pitch at times and it definitely was the biggest crowd for a GLORY event in a very long time.

Fraser Overall, just a terrific show – my favorite Glory event of 2015. Jon Franklin says it won’t be so tough to get back in Amsterdam after having gone through all this hassle, so let’s hope they return in 2016.

Dave Walsh GLORY 26 turned out to be one of the best GLORY events of the year, easily. There were a lot of people there, I believe the largest crowd for a GLORY event since GLORY 15. The only thing was that the ultra-nationalistic Dutch crowd wasn’t super into everything. They were only into their local guys or favorites, and that felt like it was only Nieky at some points. I was really expecting the crowd to be more electric. Maybe it was live?

The main thing that GLORY has been lacking has been a “home,” so-to-speak. If they can make Amsterdam that home it’ll be fitting and make a lot of people happy.

Miscellaneous thoughts…

Dave Walsh #FireValenti. Seriously, he’s not a good referee. The main point of referees and judges are to ensure that the fight happens safely and is judged accurately, in respect to both athletes. That point deduction against Bouzidi was weird, especially considering Valenti’s track record, but hey, who cares, right? Either get everyone on a same page or look elsewhere, the last thing a fledgling sport and organization need is crappy oversight.

Stets He should’ve taken a point vs. Adamchuk at G25, possibly more than one. He did take one away from Bouzidi, which goes against what he usually does. Also, the 10 count on Yurk in the tournament final, but Yurk did get up at 9 so I can’t go crazy. The second knockdown in Yurk/Oblonsky fight was questionable too as it looked like Oblonsky was shoved to the ground. European cards have some head-scratching moments – I mean, there was a 30-27 score card for Zimmerman. That’s just blasphemy. It needs to be rectified.

JJ Officiating is an extremely tough, high-pressure role and I am always loath to criticize any official based on one or two performances. However, I have watched Valenti in action for a while and for me he is my least favorite type of referee: he simultaneously manages to constantly insert himself into the fight, yet the insertions are of no consequence and do nothing except disrupt the flow of the fight.

It was mind-blowing to me that he managed to warn Adamchuk more than twenty times about clinching in the course of a five-round fight back at GLORY 25, yet did not deduct a point. That said, his stoppage in Yurk/Amrani was spot on. Fighters who want to continue are up at eight and you can see the fire in them. That wasn’t Yurk. He was done. Notice how little he protested after it was waved off. Enough to save face, but not the kind of protest a genuinely slighted fighter makes.

Andreas Errol Zimmerman looked a shadow of the man he was before the injury. Stefano Valenti’s officiating was awful and rightfully saw backlash across social media.

Stets Zimmerman looked awful against Thomas Vanneste. It seems he rushed back from his knee injury from G19 too soon. GLORY needs him to be healthy and competitive in the heavyweight division. There was no reason to rush him back here. That being said, I think Vanneste could be a fun entry into the division. Not saying he’s a future world beater or anything, but he has a chin and fought well. He could make for some fun and entertaining fights.

Fraser Only thought from the Superfight is a nod of the hat to Thomas Vanneste. It would be easy to write off that fight as Errol coming in heavy and off a long layoff, and while that’s true, it also does Vanneste a disservice. He came in with the perfect gameplan for this opponent, and he executed it exactly as needed. Terrific performance from the debuting fighter.

Stets Oblonsky has gone through a horrible few months since his sister passed after taking her own life. That can only have compounded the physical issues he has with his weight cut. He is six feet tall and very big for the 143lb/65kg weight class. He looked winded and sapped of energy pretty early on in the fight vs. Yurk. He is definitely way better than he showed.

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John Joe O'Regan
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