This Saturday, Glory puts on their latest show – Glory 29 Copenhagen. Glory 29 airs live Saturday, April 16 with a fight time of 4:00 p.m. ET for the main card on ESPN3 and 1:30 p.m. ET for the Glory Superfight Series on UFC Fight Pass. Check out our Superfight Series preview – here, we break down the complete Glory 29 main card.
C. NIEKY HOLZKEN (88-11 Overall; 10-0 Glory) vs. #3 YOANN KONGOLO (61-6 Overall; 2-1 Glory) – Welterweight Title
The main event at Glory 29 is the second Welterweight title defense for Nieky Holzken. Holzken may only officially be Glory champion since last year, but he’s been the clear king of the division for much longer. After starting his career at 70kg and doing well but not spectacularly, Holzken found a home at Welterweight, where he is currently on a 15-1 run dating back 5 years. Holzken is everything you want in a kickboxer – crisp, beautiful technique; excellent strategic mind; brutal power in his body shots. For my money, he’s the sport’s #1 pound for pound fighter today. That said, he comes in here off a very tough fight against Murthel Groenhart that many felt Groenhart won. I don’t mark that as a demerit to Holzken though, I mark it as a testament to Groenhart, who fought the fight of his career that night.
Challenger Kongolo came to Glory last year. He’s a strong, physical type fighter, which is typical of those who train out of Mike’s Gym (notably, that’s also the gym of Groenhart). Kongolo loves to get aggressive, get in an opponent’s face, and get the KO, and he also brings in some more traditional martial arts elements to his game. He’s done well with that strategy so far, with a good win over Karapet Karapetyan last time out at Glory 26. Before that, he did lose to Karim Ghajji though. Kongolo is a good fighter, and one who I am excited to see in here, but this feels like too deep waters for him – he’ll make it a good fight, but not enough to topple the king.
Prediction: Nieky Holzken, KO
SERHIY ADAMCHUK (32-5 Overall; 4-0 Glory) vs. MOHAMMED EL-MIR (113-21 Overall; 0-1 Glory) – Lightweight
Just yesterday, this fight changed, as original opponent Niclas Larsen was forced out. Stepping in is an interesting replacement fighter indeed – Glory Featherweight champion Serhiy Adamchuk. Because it’s short notice, Adamchuk (who formerly fought at Lightweight) will be at Lightweight here, and so of course the title is not on the line. For El-Mir, that switch is both bad luck and a golden opportunity. There’s no denying that Adamchuk is a massive step up from Larsen. He’s world champion for a reason, as he has a great ability to stifle his opponent’s offense and shut them down. It doesn’t always make for the most crowd-pleasing fights, but it is undeniably effective. El-Mir made his lone Glory appearance all the way back at Glory 1, losing to Albert Kraus. He has good Muay Thai experience, and is highly regarded in Denmark. His fight with Larsen was something of a grudge match that local fans had long anticipated – switching from that to Adamchuk is not going to be easy, but if El-Mir can pull it off, it will be a huge launching pad for him.
Prediction: Serhiy Adamchuk, Dec
SEMIFINAL: #4 ANDERSON SILVA (39-13-1 Overall; 5-5 Glory) vs. ISMAEL LONDT (36-6-1 Overall; Glory Debut) – Heavyweight
This half of the Heavyweight tournament semifinals sees one of the most exciting Heavyweight debuts in Glory history. “Mr. Pain” Ismael Londt gets his long overdue shot at Glory here, and there’s good reason to be excited about that. Londt is a veteran of the European scene, competing extensively for Superkombat. He has wins over Mladen Brestovac, Hesdy Gerges, Mourad Bouzidi, and a host of other very strong fighters. In 2012, he made it to the K-1 GP finals, losing to Mirko Cro Cop. Londt is a very heavy hitting power striker, with KO power in his hands and a vicious assault. Check out this list of stoppages from his wikipedia page: TKO (Broken Rib), TKO (Broken Nose), TKO (Eye Injury), TKO (Flying Knee). He’s a big Heavyweight, and he hurts people – if that doesn’t make you want to watch, I don’t know what to tell you. He faces a stiff, but perfect test here in Anderson Silva, a veteran of the sport who is a perfect gatekeeper. Silva has the technical skill to make you pay if you get too reckless, and he will always be in the fight. He comes in off a very good performance at Glory 27, but had been on a 3 fight skid before that. I like Silva as a test here, but I also like Londt’s ability to get past that test in exciting fashion.
Prediction: Ismael Londt, KO
SEMIFINAL: #2 JAHFARR WILNIS (28-6-1 Overall, 4-2 Glory) vs. KIRILL KORNILOV (7-1 Overall; Glory Debut) – Heavyweight
Wilnis had a mostly forgettable 3-1 run in Glory a few years ago, but came back strong last year to cap off a great 2015 for the Dutch fighter. That year saw him win a stacked Kunlun tournament, then make the finals of the Glory 26 Heavyweight tournament, losing a razor close decision to Benjamin Adegbuyi. That fight was a great example of Heavyweights throwing down, and a ridiculously entertaining fight. Like his brother Jason, Wilnis has transformed himself in the past year from solid journeyman to title contender, and comes in to this fight having recently won the Enfusion HW title. Debuting Russian fighter Kornilov was a late addition to this tournament, and frankly is a bit out of place here (it feels as if Glory was holding the spot for someone else who fell through, so Kornilov got the back-up call). He’s the least experienced in this tournament, and he fights that way – green, somewhat tentative, and leaving himself far too open for counters. He’s taking a massive step up in competition here, and I just don’t see it going well for him.
Prediction: Jahfarr Wilnis, KO
I have this as Londt vs. Wilnis, and I certainly hope I am right, because that is just a fantastic fight. It’s also a very tough fight to call. Wilnis has been KO’d in the past, and he’s shown a willingness to engage in a firefight – if he does that against Mr. Pain, it could go poorly for him. But at this moment in their careers, I like Wilnis’s experience to carry him through in an excellent final.
Prediction: Jahfarr Wilnis, Decision
Join us here at Bloody Elbow on Saturday for live Glory 29 coverage.
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