This Saturday is the seriously stacked Glory 28 Paris airing live Saturday, March 12 with a fight time of 4:00 p.m. ET for the main card on ESPN3 and 1:00 p.m. ET for the Superfight Series live on UFC Fight Pass. We’ve already taken a look at the Superfight Series featuring two world title fights. Here, we break down the complete Glory 28 Paris main card.
C. RICO VERHOEVEN (47-10 Overall; 10-1 Glory) vs. #4 MLADEN BRESTOVAC (49-10-1 Overall; 1-1 Glory) -Heavyweight Title
If you wanted to make a case that Rico Verhoeven was the current #1 fighter in all of kickboxing, you certainly would have a strong argument. The Glory Heavyweight king has been absolutely on fire for the past few years, starting with his epic Glory 11 tournament win over Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita and culminating in his Glory 26 KO of Benjamin Adegbuyi. In his Glory run, we’ve seen Verhoeven mature into the best Heavyweight of this era, and a true successor to the former K-1 greats. He feels virtually untouchable right now, except that it’s important to remember we are only a year removed from his upset loss outside of Glory to Andrey Gerasimchuk – a fight to remind you that there are no sure things in combat sports. Still, Verhoeven is a big favorite here in this, his 4th Glory title defense. Challenger Brestovac is a veteran of the Eastern European scene and has great experience over there. He came into the Glory 24 tournament on a 3 year undefeated streak that included a great head kick KO win over Jahfarr Wilnis at Glory 14, but he lost in that tournament to Benjamin Adegbuyi via leg kick stoppage. Brestovac is a very good, tough fighter, but this one is all about the champ. Look for Verhoeven to use his excellent push kicks and body kicks to dictate the pace and range, plus his hard hands to get the job done.
Prediction: Rico Verhoeven, KO
#1 MURTHEL GROENHART (58-19-3 Overall; 4-4 Glory) vs. CEDRIC DOUMBE (55-4-1 Overall; 0-1 Glory) – Welterweight
Ask any Glory fan about Murthel Groenhart’s last fight and chances are good you’ll hear the same response: “Groenhart should be the champ.” At Glory 26, the veteran Groenhart challenged Nieky Holzken for the Glory Welterweight title. In arguably the performance of his career, Groenhart took the fight to Holzken, winning the fight in the eyes of most analysts, but not in the eyes of the judges, who gave Holzken the win. This is his first fight back. A product of Mike’s Gym, Groenhart is an explosive fighter who is very dangerous in the early stages of a fight, but against Holzken, he kept the pressure up over 5 full rounds in a more technical performance than what we have typically seen from him lately. Doumbe has just one Glory fight, a loss to Yoann Kongolo at Glory 22. He also made his pro boxing debut last year. Doumbe is pretty clearly a sacrificial lamb to Groenhart here, who will undoubtedly come out fast and furious looking to use his powerful hands and vicious knees to score the early KO. And he’ll probably get it. But fair warning: prior to the Holzken fight, when Groenhart failed to get that early stoppage, he often struggled. I don’t see Doumbe posing a big issue for him, but am never positive when it comes to Murthel.
Prediction: Murthel Groenhart, KO
Semifinal: #1 SITTICHAI SITSONGPEENONG (106-29-5 Overall; 2-1 Glory) vs. #2 DAVIT KIRIA (23-11 Overall; 5-5 Glory) – Lightweight
Everything I said about Groenhart being considered the true Welterweight champ is equally true about Sittichai. The Thai fighter had an incredible 2015, winning Fighter of the Year honors, debuting spectacularly at Glory, and then fighting champion Robin van Roosmalen in a fight where everyone except the judges saw Sittichai as the victor. The insanely busy fighter is 3-0 since that fight, winning the first Kunlun MAX championship and defeating fellow Glory 28 tournament participant Marat Grigorian. A more traditional Thai fighter, Sittichai has crisp and perfect technique, vicious kicks, and nasty knees. He also uses his hands well, which has helped him make the transition to Glory rules. Sittichai is one of the best strikers in the world, period – he takes a big step towards making his crown official here. Kiria is a former Glory champion known for his tough as nails style. He’s the kind of fighter who most enjoys a fight where he and his opponent stand dead center and trade bombs. He’s a very durable fighter, but he’s been very much a .500 fighter in his recent career. Last year, he was stopped for the first time in his career by Sittichai – a painful knee shot to the body at Glory 22. Kiria is 1-1 since; Sittichai is 8-1. This is a weird rematch, as the first was pretty definitive, and I see no reason to anticipate a different outcome this time, except for perhaps Kiria being able to last a bit longer.
Prediction: Sittichai, decision
Semifinal: #5 MARAT GRIGORIAN (41-7-2 Overall, 1-2-1 Glory) vs. #9 ANATOLY MOISEEV (16-0 Overall; 2-0 Glory) – Lightweight
This is a late change, as Grigorian was originally slated to face Djime Coulibaly, but an injury forced him out and Moiseev moved up from the Superfight Series to the tournament. That’s bad luck for Grigorian, as this is a much tougher fight. Moiseev is a very good pressure fighter who will look to land a lot of heavy shots and beat down the more technical Grigorian. Moiseev has had two good wins in Glory so far and has a big opportunity to turn some heads here. Grigorian is a veteran with a ton of big fight experience in It’s Showtime, Glory, Kunlun, and K-1, where he is their reigning 70kg champion. He is a serious talent who I think has been historically underrated, but at the same time, I don’t think he’s at his best. 2015 losses to Yodsaenklai, Sittichai, and Serhiy Adamchuk showed some weaknesses, with the Adamchuk loss in particular being a bad defeat. It’s possible Grigorian comes in here and uses crisp technique to take out his far less experienced opponent quickly, but I don’t think he’ll deal well with Moiseev’s pressure, and I’m going with the upset.
Prediction: Anatoly Moiseev, Decision
I have this as Sittichai vs. Moiseev, and while I like Moiseev’s future in the sport, this seems like far too big a mountain for him right now. I also anticipate that Sittichai will take less damage in his semifnal, which will help him out here. Regardless of the Grigorian vs. Moiseev outcome, you have to take Sittichai here – he holds wins over both Kiria and Grigorian, and he shows no signs of slowing down. Give him the tournament crown, and bring on the rematch with van Roosmalen!
Prediction: Sittichai, KO
Join us here at Bloody Elbow on Saturday for live Glory 28 coverage.
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