Friday night is Glory 34 Denver, airing live this Friday, October 21 with a fight time of midnight ET for the main card on ESPN3 and 9:30 p.m. ET for the Superfight Series on UFC Fight Pass. Here’s a look at all the action you can expect this Friday.
C. NIEKY HOLZKEN (89-11 Overall; 11-0 Glory) vs. #2 MURTHEL GROENHART (60-20-3 Overall; 6-5 Glory) – Welterweight World Title
The main event is a great fight, and a rematch from arguably Glory’s 2016 fight of the year. Holzken won the Welterweight title in 2015, establishing himself as the undeniable king of the division. His first defense came against Groenhart, a man Holzken had defeated in 2010. Their Glory 26 rematch was a terrific fight and the best performance of the veteran Groenhart’s career. Many thought he won the title that night, but the judges did not, and Holzken retained. Since that fight, Holzken is 1-0, beating Groenhart’s teammate Yoann Kongolo. The highly busy Groenhart is 5-2 since, with good tournament wins in Glory and WFL, but a highly dissapointing loss to Cedric Doumbe too (his other loss was to Artur Kyshenko, which is nothing to be ashamed of). Groenhart has always been a very hot and cold, tough to predict fighter. I think he gave Holzken the best shot he has once and it didn’t work – I don’t feel confident his response to that loss will lead him to victory here.
Prediction: Nieky Holzken, decision
#1 SIMON MARCUS (44-3-2 Overall; 4-2-1 Glory) vs. #2 DUSTIN JACOBY (9-7 Overall; 6-7 Glory) – Middleweight
This marks the return of former Glory MW champion Marcus, fighting for the first time since dropping the title to Jason Wilnis in September. He’s rematching hometown fighter Jacoby here, a tough MMA and Glory veteran who has improved by leaps and bounds in his Glory career. Still, Jacoby was pretty easily outmatched when these two fought in May, and he hasn’t been in action since. Marcus has lost three times since making the transition to kickboxing and all have been via similar KOs. There’s a definite path to victory for Jacoby here, and while I must be honest and say that his chances are not great, I can’t help but believe in him.
Prediction: Dustin Jacoby, KO
Semifinal #1 pits Brazil’s Ariel Machado (43-7 Overall; 1-1 Glory) against the debuting #8 Yousri Belgaroui (18-1 Overall; Glory Debut). Machado had a terrific Glory debut earlier this year, taking out heavily favored veteran Pavel Zhuravlev at Light Heavyweight (where he is ranked #8) – he makes the drop down to Middleweight here. Machado hails from Curitiba (of course) and also has a 7-3 MMA record. Belgaroui trains at the formidable Mike’s Gym (home to Murthel Groenhart and Badr Hari among many others) and has some solid international experience. He’s a good pick up for Glory, and a live dog here. The other semifinal sees Canada’s #4 Robert Thomas (8-4 Overall; 2-3 Glory) back in Glory. Thomas is a good fighter who has been matched very tough in Glory against the likes of Joe Schilling and Artem Levin. He faces #6 Israel Adesanya (31-2 Overall, 0-1 Glory), who has a lone Glory fight way back at Glory 15. Adesanya is a great pick-up for Glory, with high level, brutal striking skills. He’s 6-0 in MMA, and has a number of good wins in kickboxing as well. He’s a real dark horse here, and I think has the skills to take it home, stopping Machado in the finals.
Finals Prediction: Israel Adesanya over Ariel Machado, KO
C. GABRIEL VARGA (27-3 Overall, 6-2 Glory) vs. ROBIN VAN ROOSMALEN (35-6 Overall; 11-3 Glory) – Featherweight World Title
The Superfight main event is a terrific fight that no Fight Pass subscriber should skip. Varga is a two time Glory Featherweight champion – the first fighter in Glory history to regain a belt after losing it. This is his first defense since taking the belt back from Serhiy Adamchuk in July. And he certainly has his work cut out for him, as he takes on former Lightweight champion Robin van Roosmalen, who makes his FW debut here. Van Roosmalen was a destructive force at LW with huge wins over Andy Ristie, Davit Kiria, and (very controversially) Sittichai. He lost the belt to Sittichai in June. Van Roosmalen has been trying his hand at MMA lately, where he is now 1-0. He’s an aggressive, all offense fighter, who Varga will have to disrupt and slow down if he wants to win. If van Roosmalen can handle the weight cut well (and his MMA experience suggests to me that he can), he could be a real force here.
Prediction: Robin van Roosmalen, KO
#3 SAULO CAVALARI (59-4 Overall; 6-2 Glory) vs. BRIAN DOUWES (41-19-2 Overall; 0-1 Glory) – Light Heavyweight
Former champion Cavalari takes his first fight here since losing the title in March. The hard-hitting and aggressive Brazilian has some scary KO highlights in his resume, and has shown himself to be one of the elite fighters at LHW. Douwes is a highly experienced fighters who has fought big names all over the world. But he’s also usually lost. He got the Glory call up thanks to a surprise 2015 win over Jamal Ben Saddik, but Douwes is 0-3 since, including a Glory loss in May. He’s a veteran who knows his way around the ring, so you can never rule him out entirely, but he seems like fodder for the returning ex-champ here.
Prediction: Saulo Cavalari, decision
#6 CASEY GREENE (5-6 Overall; 4-3 Glory) vs. #10 THONGCHAI SITSONGPEENONG (134-32 Overall; Glory debut) – Welterweight
Greene is an American fighter who, much like Dustin Jacoby, we have seen improve during his time in Glory, though he is yet to score any sort of signature win worth mention. And apologies to Greene, but the story of this fight is the debut of Thongchai. The Thai fighter is only 20 years old, and is a teammate of Glory Lightweight champion Sittichai. He is an accomplished and talented Muay Thai fighter, looking to follow in Sittichai’s footsteps and find success in Glory. That Muay Thai to kickboxing transition is tough, but the Sitsongpeenong gym has had more success here. Greene is not a softball debut, but if Thongchai is for real, he should be able to handle him.
Prediction: Thongchai, decision
#7 RICHARD ABRAHAM (10-3 Overall; 3-0 Glory) vs. MICHAEL MATHETHA (N/A Overall; Glory debut) – Welterweight
Abraham made his Glory debut early this year, and is a perfect 3-0 so far, including a tournament win at Glory 30. Abraham has flown under the radar outside of Glory, and he continues to do so, being placed in this lower tier fight after his tournament win. But his style is exciting, and he’s looked good in Glory so far – I expect him to keep moving up. This was originally Abraham vs. Greene, but when Greene stepped up to face Thongchai, Mathetha stepped in. Little is know about this South African fighter – Glory doesn’t even list a record for him. He fights out of New Zealand and has been working with Team Oyama. I anticipate he will put on a good showing, but look for Abraham to roll here.
Prediction: Richard Abraham, decision
JUSTIN HOUGHTON (N/A overall, 0-1 Glory) vs. JONATHON WYDERKO (N/A Overall; Glory debut) – Featherweight
Wyderko is a hometown fighter with a 2-1 MMA record, and an unknown kickboxing record. Houghton hails from Michigan and is perhaps best known for losing to Kevin Ross at Bellator’s Dynamite 2. He also has a Glory loss, which means the 1-1 record Glory lists for him does not add up. This is your typical Glory opener – I’ll go with Houghton simply because he had some moments of success against Ross.
Prediction: Justin Houghton, decision
Join us here at Bloody Elbow on Friday for live Glory 34 coverage.
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