In less than a year Glory WS has made an impressive impact on the combat sports scene. On June 21 they will put on their first PPV that will feature two title fights and an eight-man Last Man Standing tournament.
Before the PPV main event their will be a four-man featherweight contender tournament on Spike TV. With Gabriel Varga and Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai meeting in one semi-final, and Shane Oblonsky taking on Marcus Vinicius in the other.
The Spike TV prelims will also feature a rematch between Mirko “Cro Cop” and Jarrel “Big Baby” Miller in the main event. While Andy Ristie and Ky Hollenbeck meet in the co-headliner.
This is an exciting card that will provide a great lead-in to the PPV. Of all of the prelims the Varga and Yodkhunpon fight might be FOTN for this part of the card. They are the two highest ranked fighters in the tournament and they are the favorites to win it.
Their styles are different reflecting their backgrounds but they are both aggressive fighters. Which means there will be a lot of action in this fight. Varga plans on pushing the pace of the fight right from the opening moments.
This is the way many Western trained fighters attack a traditional Muay Thai trained fighter. In Thailand, they fight five round fights and they start slowly in the first two rounds to, among other things, help the betting action on the fight. Then the last three rounds tend to be filled with furious action.
In his first Glory fight, Yodkhunpon started slow but came on strongly to get the win against Raz Sarkisjan. That was the first kick boxing fight of his career. Expect him to come out faster himself and more aggressively in this fight. His camp Stimonchai is known for their aggressive and KO oriented style.
This fight will come down to which fighter can impose their game plan on the other. Yodkhunpon is the higher ranked fighter while Varga is the favorite for many people. Varga is a little faster while Yodkhunpon is a little more powerful. The winner of this fight will have to expend a lot of energy to win it unless they catch their opponent early. Expect a three round war from two of the most exciting fighters in combat sports today.
The other semi-final has a more likely chance for an early finish. Both fighters like to come forward aggressively in their fights. Oblonsky brings some serious KO power with him. He is making his Glory debut and is the dark horse of the tournament. His knockout power plays well in these tournament formats.
Oblonsky is more than capable of getting an early KO against Vinicius and then facing an opponent who just fought a three round war. The same could be said for Vinicius who has gone the distance with current #1 Mosab Amrani at Glory 8 Tokyo. He could just as easily pick up the quick win against Oblonsky.
The winner of the tournament will find themselves poised for a title shot. Expect two action-packed semi-finals and exciting finals matchup to crown the contender. From there they will either enter a tournament to crown a champion or move right into a title fight. That is to be determined later.
The winner of the co-headliner fight between Ristie and Hollenbeck will essentially be for the next shot at champion Davit Kiria. Kiria won the title at Glory 14 by defeating Ristie in a classic come from behind fifth round KO. Ristie wants that rematch but he has a tough fight in front of him first.
These two were originally supposed to fight for the title but Hollenbeck was forced to pullout due to a commitment to the SFFD training program. He is now set to battle for that title shot.
Ristie, as have others, has been critical of Hollenbeck’s fighting style. It is understandable that as an opponent Ristie would like Hollenbeck to fight his style of fight and make the fight easier for him. It makes sense that he would try to goad Hollenbeck into his kind of fight. It will not work but you understand where he is coming from.
Hollenbeck utilizes a strong clinch game and likes to make the fight more of a brawling style of fight. He creates frustration in his opponents with his rough tactics and he thrives in the chaos that results from it. Often times he can catch his opponent coming in with one of his spinning back fists.
Ristie does a similar thing differently. His style is also awkward and he throws people off with his movement. He has great timing with his strikes and he throws them with devastating effective power.
He is the first and only person to finish Giorgio Petrosyan. That alone would have made his night at Glory 12 as legendary when he did just that in their semi-final fight. He then went out and KO’d Robin Van Roosmalen in the finals. Turning into one of the most legendary tournament performances in Glory.
This will be a battle. The loss to Kiria stopped a six fight Glory win streak for Ristie. He is 41-4-1 overall with 21 TKO/KO’s. Hollenbeck is 3-1 in Glory with his only loss being to Petrosyan in fight during which he injured his knee. He is 46-3-0 overall with 23 TKO/KO’s.
The headline bout is a rematch that Miller has badly wanted. He lost a by all accounts a horrible decision to Cro Cop in Cro Cop’s home country of Croatia last year. Cro Cop himself lost a questionable decision to Remy Bonjasky in his Glory debut.
Do not expect this one to go to the judges. Miller wants to avenge what in his mind was an undeserved loss and will be looking to do it definitively. While Cro Cop wants to show people that he still has the ability to end fights with his strikes.
When you have two motivated heavyweights looking to end the fight in Glory, home to some of the best heavyweight strikers in combat sports today, that usually means that somebody is getting KO’d.
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