This Saturday, December 10 is one of the biggest, most stacked events in Glory history. Glory 36 / Glory Collision is headlined by the huge Rico vs. Badr fight and will feature 3 additional title fights. The action starts at 11:00 a.m. ET with Glory 36 on ESPN3, followed by the Glory Superfight Series at 1:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass and finally the Glory Collision PPV at 4:00 p.m. ET through UFC.tv. The day’s full fight card is available here.
RICO VERHOEVEN (49-10 Overall; 12-1 Glory) vs. BADR HARI (106-12 Overall; Glory Debut) – Heavyweight
Here it is – the generation vs. generation fight that brought Glory back to PPV and led to this stacked event. Hari vs. Verhoeven is a kickboxing dream fight and an absolute must watch for fans of the sport. Glory Heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven has been on a rampage in Glory for the past 3 years. He’s made 5 defenses of the title (though it is not on the line here) and shows no signs of slowing down. In this run, Verhoeven has established himself as a Heavyweight who could have held his own in the glory days of K-1. But against Badr Hari, he faces a man who actually did hold his own in those glory days. Hari came to K-1 in 2005, making it to the GP finals in 2008 and 2009. His list of highlights is extensive with all time great KO’s over Stefan Leko, Peter Graham, and Semmy Schilt among many, many others. But his list of lowlights is large too, with two separate high profile DQ losses. Legal troubles have kept him on kickboxing’s margins for years now, but he remains a unique figure in the mold of the Diaz Brothers or Kimbo Slice – that kind of electric, anything-can-happen, must-watch fighter. So what happens here? It’s Badr Hari, so who knows? Most likely outcome is Verhoeven firmly showing just why he is #1 – but there’s pretty much no result at all that would shock me.
Prediction: Rico Verhoeven, KO
C. NIEKY HOLZKEN (90-11 Overall; 12-0 Glory) vs. #4 CEDRIC DOUMBE (56-4-1 Overall; 1-1 Glory) – Welterweight World Title
It’s not easy to pin down one consensus pound for pound king in kickboxing right now, but if I were to cast a vote, it would be for Nieky Holzken. The Natural is undefeated in 11 fights and makes his 4th title defense here. He’s a fighter with high level technical skills, superb game-planning, and nasty and deceptive power, particularly when he loads up with his trademark liver shot. Doumbe is a French fighter last seen in Glory scoring a major win over Murthel Groenhart in March. A ridiculously busy fighter, Doumbe is an astonishing 10-1 in 2016 alone, though Groenhart is the only name win of note in there. He’s a good fighter, but he’s typically struggled against the highest level, and given Groenhart’s historical inconsistency, I have a tough time weighing that win enough to favor him here.
Prediction: Nieky Holzken, decision
#2 ISMAEL LONDT (38-6-1 Overall; 3-0 Glory) vs. #12 JAMAL BEN SADDIK (27-4 Overall; 5-4 Glory) – Heavyweight
This is just a straight-forward Heavyweight slugfest. Here you have two big power punchers and two men not known for their stunning defense. Ben Saddik has been in some crazy wars in his career against the likes of Peter Aerts and Ben Edwards. Londt has had a great year in Glory and should be next in line for Verhoeven. Both are big men, both hit very hard, and both have a wealth of massive KOs to their resume. But Londt has the edge in technique, and is on the rise where Ben Saddik is fading, and that’s the difference maker.
Prediction: Ismael Londt, decision
WOMEN’S GRAND PRIX TOURNAMENT
Over the course of the day, we will see the conclusion of the ongoing Glory Women’s Super Bantamweight Grand Prix, with the winner becoming the division’s inaugural champion. The finals are on the Collision PPV, while the semi-finals take place on the Superfight Series and feature #1 Tiffany van Soest (15-2-1 Overall; 1-0 Glory) vs. #9 Jessica Gladstone (6-6 Overall; 1-0 Glory) and #3 Isis Verbeek (8-2 Overall; 1-0 Glory) vs. #2 Amel Dehby (28-0 Overall; 1-0 Glory).
Tiffany van Soest is the fighter with the highest profile here, and has been the easy tournament favorite right from the start. She is a Muay Thai fighter with strong experience in Lion Fight and an amateur background in karate. She’s also been flirting with an MMA career for some time, losing in Invicta earlier this year. She’s an easy pick for the finals. Verbeek vs. Dehby is a close, tough fight to call. Dehby has the experience edge and overall looked better in the quarterfinals, but Verbeek has that training edge from her time in The Netherlands. I like her for the mild upset. Overall though, it is van Soest’s tournament to lose, but there’s certainly a lot of potential for different outcomes here.
Finals Prediction: Tiffany van Soest over Isis Verbeek, decision
SUPERFIGHT SERIES ON FIGHT PASS
Headlining the Superfight Seires is #8 Danyo Ilunga (57-10 Overall; 6-4 Glory) vs. #11 Michael Duut (38-6 Overall; 2-3 Glory) in a Light Heavyweight rematch from Glory 10. It’s kind of an odd main event as Ilunga won that fight pretty definitively via first round injury stoppage (though Duut was doing OK until that point). Duut has not been very active since. Ilunga was once seen as a top 3 Light Heavyweight, but he has faded significantly lately and is now on a 1-6 skid dating back over two years. Both need this win badly. I like Ilunga in this match-up, but don’t see him being able to make a real mark in the division at this point.
Also on the Superfight Series is the return of #6 Harut Grigorian (42-9; 1-1). The veteran Grigorian looked terrific in his Glory debut in April, then fought top contender Yoann Kongolo to a split decision loss in June. He’s a fighter on the rise and one to watch. Grigorian takes on the debuting Danijel Solaja (61-9-1; Debut), a local fighter unlikely to provide a big challenge. There’s also Russia’s Andrej Bruhl (42-5; 1-0), fighting in Glory for the first time since Glory 8, vs. Tyjani Beztati (10-1; Debut) plus the Women’s GP semifinals outlined above.
GLORY 36 ON ESPN3
An excellent main event here sees new Glory Lightweight champion Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (108-29-5; 5-1) take on #1 Marat Grigorian (46-9-2; 3-3-1). Sittichai has been pretty amazing in Glory, losing just once in a very controversial decision to Robin van Roosmalen, only to avenge that loss and claim the belt. The 2015 Fighter of the Year, Sittichai makes his first title defense here. Interestingly, he’s coming off a loss outside of Glory. His opponent is the underrated Grigorian, a veteran with great experience. This is actually the third meeting between these two – Sittichai is up 2-0, but neither win has come easy.
The Glory 36 tournament takes place in the Lightweight division, and features mostly names with less familiarity for Glory fans. On one side of the bracket #13 Hysni Beqiri (48-1; Debut) faces Antonio Gomez (NA), a late replacement for Yodkhunpon – that’s a shame as Beqiri vs. Yodkhunpon was a very interesting fight. The other half sees #5 Dylan Salvador (NA) vs. #2 Anatoly Moiseev (16-1; 3-1). Moiseev vs. Beqiri looks like the obvious final, in what should be a good fight, and a Moiseev win. Rounding out this portion of the card is a Featherweight battle between two highly decorated veterans as #2 Mosab Amrani (55-11-4; 5-3) faces Fabio Pinca (88-20-3; 0-2) – my pick for sleeper fight of the night.
Join us here at Bloody Elbow on Saturday for live Glory coverage.
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