Friday night is Glory 33 New Jersey, airing live this Friday, September 9 with a fight time of 11:00 p.m. ET for the main card on ESPN2 and 8:30 p.m. ET for the Superfight Series on UFC Fight Pass. We already took a look at the complete Superfight card – here we break down the main card.
C. RICO VERHOEVEN (48-10 Overall; 11-1 Glory) vs. #4 ANDERSON SILVA (40-14-1 Overall; 6-6 Glory) – Heavyweight World Title
Rico Verhoeven is the most dominant champion in the sport today, making his 5th defense of the Glory Heavyweight title here. The Dutch veteran has been on a terrific run ever since his 2013 wins over Gokhan Saki and Daniel Ghita on the first Glory Spike show. He’s also a very active champion, which means he has somewhat cleaned out the division. The big fight for him is not this one, but his massive showdown with Badr Hari in December. That fight is a tremendous match-up – maybe the best available in kickboxing today. This one is a bit of a stop-gap. That’s no offense to Silva. The Brazilian challenger is a road-tested veteran with good technique, great leg kicks, and major wins over fighters like Remy Bonjasky and Hesdy Gerges. He’s been in the game for a long time, and it’s good to see him finally get his shot. But he doesn’t seem to be a real threat to the cerebral and increasingly powerful champion here.
Prediction: Rico Verhoeven, decision
#5 HESDY GERGES (49-16-1 Overall; 2-3 Glory) vs. #15 GUTO INOCENTE (31-7 Overall; 2-0 Glory) – Heavyweight
This is a fantastic Heavyweight fight and a chance for a new player to emerge as a true championship contender. MMA veteran Inocente had a highlight reel Glory debut in February with a spectacular KO win. He followed that up by taking out veteran Brian Douwes. Now, he takes a big step up against the former It’s Showtime champion. Gerges has some huge wins in his career, but he’s never managed to quite find his groove in Glory, and comes in here off a loss to Ismael Londt. Gerges has the experience to make every fight a tough out, and with his experience edge he’s the easy pick here. But I can’t help thinking momentum is on Inocente’s side. I’m going with the upset.
Prediction: Guto Inocente, Decision
#2 SERHIY ADAMCHUK (33-6 Overall; 5-1 Glory) vs. GIGA CHIKADZE (35-4 Overall; 3-1 Glory) – Featherweight Semifinal
This should probably be the rightful final, as it is a very well matched fight between two legitimate world title contenders. Adamchuk is the former champion who lost that title to Gabriel Varga at Glory 32. Adamchuk is a bit of an ugly fighter at times, using various techniques to disrupt his opponent’s rhythm and point his way to a win. It’s not always the most beautiful style, but it’s clearly effective. Chikadze makes his Featherweight debut here, dropping down from Lightweight. He trains at King’s MMA, and under their tutelage, has grown as a fighter in the past year (I anticipate that MMA experience will also help him with the weight cut here). Chikadze is a very unorthodox fighter, using a range of kicks and spinning attacks to overwhelm his opponents. This is a very close fight, and has the potential to be a bit of a herky-jerky affair. If so, it favors Adamchuk, but I like Chikadze’s size advantage, and his ability to land the flashier, more effective shots, which score higher in Glory.
Prediction: Giga Chikadze, decision
#8 CHI BIN LIM (69-18 Overall, 0-2 Glory) vs. MATT EMBREE (37-7 Overall; Glory Debut) – Featherweight Semifinal
Korea’s Lim is a long time veteran fighter. For years, he was the main Korean representative in K-1 MAX. Lim was once a solid veteran, but he’s semi-retired now. His last win was in 2011 – since then he’s only fought 3 times, all 3 resulting in a round 1 or 2 KO loss, and looking worse each time out. Lim is deserving of respect for his career, but he’s way past his prime. Embree is a Muay Thai fighter with experience in Lion Fight making the transition to Glory here. Embree has solid experience, including losses to Kevin Ross. It’s never easy to make the switch to kickboxing rules from Muay Thai, but I imagine he has the skills to handle the faded Lim.
Prediction: Matt Embree, KO
I have this as Chikadze vs. Embree, but not matter how the semifinals shake out, the Adamchuk vs. Chikadze winner takes this barring something really weird happening. There’s just a huge discrepancy in talent between the two semifinals, making this final a bit anti-climatic, no matter who’s in there.
Prediction: Giga Chikadze, KO
Join us here at Bloody Elbow on Friday for live Glory 33 coverage.
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