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Did Daniel Ghita Have A Plan?

  • Published in Glory

This morning Daniel Ghita wrote a very emotional message to his fans via Facebook (see below) regarding his old sparring partner Rico Verhoeven. We cannot comment about Rico's alleged racist remarks that Daniel writes about, but we can talk about the fight itself.

Now, before Ghita's fight with Rico we got to see a different side of him, we got to see him open up, talk, and tell us how he really felt about his opponent which is a rare thing for the typically quiet and stone-faced Romanian. It was great to see him fired up and giving his opinions on the mic, but part of me wondered if this was all for show considering they used to train together often, and seemed like friends during those times. There was no way to know for sure until the fight, especially considering he had a point to prove, that Verhoeven's first victory over him was a robbery.

On to the fight, there were a few strange things. First of all Ghita came out slowly in the first round, the exact same way he did during his last fight with Rico. If you saw Daniel's fight with Errol Zimmerman, then you know exactly the violence this Romanian is capable of when he is aggressive, this was totally what I was expecting from him. Round two, where once again Ghita waited for Rico and threw a very limited amount of strikes. Anyone watching as a Daniel Ghita fan, I can imagine was beginning to get frustrated. Second peculiar thing we noticed was Erik Van Warmerdam, Ghita's corner man between rounds. The only advice he seemed to give while the camera was on him was "keep waiting, your doing fine Daniel keep waiting for him." Then during the break leading into the fifth and final round we once again heard Warmerdam saying "Rico knows hes behind, keep waiting." The fight was so close, it didn't seem like anyone was really behind at any point, so we really couldn't understand why this advice was given. Not to mention waiting is rarely going to win a fight.

Ghita's opinion on Rico is that he is a fake champion and he does nothing and still wins fights. After reading Daniel's facebook post it got me thinking, Ghita waited for Rico the whole fight, his corner man was advising him to keep waiting and let Rico initiate, he fought nothing like his last fight, and He even wrote "You do NOTHING if your opponent does not start the fight." Was this Daniel Ghita's idea of proving a point? Did he deliberately do nothing to show that if an opponent doesn't initiate Verhoeven makes boring fights? Or is this all just part of the emotion of losing another very close decision to the Prince of kickboxing?

 

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GLORY 17 Los Angeles Featuring PPV Tournament

  • Published in Glory

Glory 17

When it comes to GLORY events, semantics are vital. Numbered GLORY events have been airing on Spike TV and television around the world while the undercards are the GLORY SuperFight Series. When it comes to GLORY 17 Los Angeles things are going to be a little bit different. GLORY 17 Los Angeles will air on Spike TV, like usual, but this time around that will not be the main attraction. Oh no.

The main attraction?

The GLORY Last Man Standing Middleweight tournament on PPV. We told you that GLORY PPV was coming and here it is. This will be an 8-man tournament, which GLORY has announced six of the names thus far. Those names are as follows; Joe Schilling, Simon Marcus, Alex Pereira, Bogdan Stoica, Melvin Manhoef and Wayne Barrett. The big surprise is the inclusion of Simon Marcus, who has a long history with GLORY 10 Middleweight tournament winner Joe Schilling. The new names are Bogdan Stoica, brother of Andrei Stoica and Melvin Manhoef. We all know Melvin.

This is a huge deal, obviously, we'll have more information when it becomes available.

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Liverkick Staff's Glory 17 and Last Man Standing Predictions

  • Published in Glory

We are less than one week away from Glory 17, the first high profile 8 man kickboxing tournament for quite some time. This tournament is in the Middleweight (187lb/85kilos) division which gives us the best of both worlds since they have speed and knockout power. Each fighter in this tournament as the ability to end a fight with one punch, kick or knee which makes this tournament very unpredictable.

Here at LiverKick we like challenges so we are going to post our predictions to the whole event and would like everyone to join us and try to post your own.

Legend: (JJ - Jay Jauncey, DW - Dave Walsh)

Glory 17 Feather weight tournament Live on Spike

Gabriel Varga Vs. Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai - JJ: Varga(decision) - DW: Varga (decision)

Shane Oblonsky Vs. Marcus Vinicius - JJ: Vinicius (decision) - DW: Oblonsky (decision)

Featherweight Tournament Final - JJ: Varga (decision) - DW: Varga (decision)

Andy Ristie Vs. Ky Hollenbeck - JJ: Ristie (KO) - DW: Hollenbeck (decision)

Mirko Crocop Vs. Jarrel Miller - JJ: Miller (TKO) - DW: Miller (KO)

Last Man Standing PPV card

Melvin Manhoef Vs. Filip Verlinden - JJ: Verlinden (decision) - DW: Manhoef (Destruction)

Artem Levin Vs. Alex Pereira - JJ: Pereira (KO) - DW: Levin (decision)

Joe Schilling Vs. Simon Marcus - JJ: Schilling (KO) - DW: Schilling (KO)

Wayne Barrett Vs. Bogdan Stoica - JJ: Barrett (decision) - DW: Barrett (KO)

Semifinal #1 - JJ: Verlinden (decision) - DW: Levin (decision)

Semifinal #2 - JJ: Barrett (KO) - DW: Schilling (decision)

Final - JJ: Verlinden (decision) - DW: Schilling (decision)

Marc De Bonte Vs. Jospeph Valtellini : JJ: De Bonte (decision) - DW: Valtellini (KO)

Daniel Ghita Vs. Rico Verhoeven : JJ: Verhoeven (decision) - DW: Ghita (KO)

 

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Meltzer Gives One Last Update on GLORY Last Man Standing Numbers

  • Published in Glory

This is probably the last that we'll speak of this because, well, it's time to move on, but Dave Meltzer in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter gave a tangible number for GLORY Last Man Standing's PPV buys. That number was an estimated (read: estimated, not official) 6,000. GLORY took a gamble on American PPV and that gamble didn't seem to be at the right time or the right conditions to work out for them.

That being said, before anyone goes into a tailspin over this, think of it like this; sure, this was a big show for GLORY and they put together a bigger card and had to spend a bit more to promote the PPV. That is absolutely true, but they've put on shows like this before that were not supported by any PPV income, so while this probably means that GLORY is not going to continue forward in the PPV business, there was an additional stream of revenue for the event and this was a worthy experiment. Honestly, 10,000 buys would have been a "win" for GLORY, so falling short of that in a respectable manner is not bad, not bad at all.

American audiences are not ready for kickboxing on PPV just yet, or if they are, it just came at a bad time in the summer where we've seen even the UFC's numbers lower than previous years. For now the Spike TV numbers have been consistent, which is a good sign of GLORY attracting and maintaining an audience, now we just have to wait for their breakthrough moment to happen to start pushing things further.

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Jarrell Miller on Cro Cop: "I'm Gonna Knock His Head Off"

  • Published in Interviews

The biggest bummer in Kickboxing over the past few years was when Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller stopped fighting in Kickboxing after the controversial loss to Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in 2013. There was no big announcement, no big farewell, Jarrell just went back to focusing on what he does best; Boxing. Jarrell is big, he’s fast and he hits hard, which is incredibly valuable in the Boxing ring, but he also has that one extra thing that will make him a star; Jarrell Miller can talk.

So when I saw a message earlier today from Jarrell asking if I could talk for a bit, I knew what I was in for. We ran a series of interviews with Jarrell leading up to his K-1 debut in 2012 and ran a few more around the time of his fight with Cro Cop and there is one thing that we know for certain; Jarrell is a firecracker. Much in the way that Joe Schilling always talks and people listen, Jarrell has the same gift. When we were talking I found myself smiling or laughing more often than not. Why? Because everything that comes out of Jarrell’s mouth is honest, it’s real and it’s all gold.

In fact, I’ve bugged Jarrell a few times over the past year to feel him out if he’d think about returning to Kickboxing. It was always the same thing; if the timing and the money are right. So when he was heading into his last fight on May 15th against Joshua Harris there was already an offer on the table for Jarrell to return to Kickboxing to fight Cro Cop. “The motivation just hasn’t been there to fight Kickboxing again,” he explained. The Cro Cop fight was his biggest fight to date and for many they believed that he won, only for the Croatian judges to come out and talk about them enforcing their own rules about “holding” while ignoring Cro Cop’s headbutts.

Nobody can blame Jarrell for not being excited about Kickboxing anymore, not with his Boxing career taking off. We can’t tell you what kind of stuff that he’s been working on in Boxing, but it’s potentially huge for him. If you’ve heard him talk and seen him fight you know that this guy could be a star, what’s worse for those holding the money is that he knows it. So when Jarrell found himself sitting in the club after his round two TKO win over Harriss, it dawned on him, “Man, I gotta fight Cro Cop. This has to happen.”

That’s when the talks got serious and when Jarrell realized that this was going to happen again. “If there was going to be one thing to motivate me to come back to Kickboxing, it was going to be Cro Cop,” he stated. “Now I’ve got the chance to do that, and you know what? Main event on Spike TV. The timing is right, the money is right, the deal was right. The timing couldn’t be any more perfect. I’m at 89% right now already, after a few more weeks of training? Ha!” 

The motivation to Kickbox might not have been there for him over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been watching. In fact, he’s acutely aware of what to expect from Mirko Cro Cop on June 21st. “Are you kidding? He’s throwing what, like 40 punches a round and like five kicks? C’mon, man. I’m over here in training throwing 200 strikes a round and kicks? Forget about it, I’m going to kick him and he’s not going to know what hit him! I’m going to knock his head off! He’s slow.”

Although, he is willing to give Cro Cop his due. “You know, I thought that he beat Bonjasky. With Bonjasky, I saw that fight with Braddock Silva and he was getting beaten up, so then GLORY gives him a big sendoff, but they did it in the wrong place against the wrong guy. I thought that Cro Cop won that fight, you know? That’s why I can’t let it go to the judges again.”

For now Jarrell is just committed to this one fight with GLORY, but he seems open to the idea of more if the timing and money are right. One would have to think that it all depends on how this fight with Mirko goes, but it’s clear that GLORY sees him as a valuable name to bring in on short notice like this. 

 

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Where Does Glory Go From Here?

  • Published in News

I made a pretty big deal about PPV buyrates and their impact on the future direction of Glory, but in fact, I didn’t have lofty expectations as to how the Last Man Standing tournament would perform. Modest results were anticipated, although putting a number on that and interpreting its significance is hard to do. This event was a picture-perfect example of a combat sports PPV done right, but some might be wondering: in light of the projected numbers, where does Glory stand? I would argue that Glory stands on perfectly solid ground and in arguably a position better suited to take on the American combat sports market.

We’ve learned a number of important things from following the TV ratings and watching the fight cards themselves: 1) Glory is a consistent performer on SpikeTV, generating ratings on par with or slightly below Bellator and better than WSOF. 2) Glory has found a consistent formula for their 2-hour time slot, staging 4-man contender tournaments, co-main title fights, and a main event SuperFight--that’s a lot of quality kickboxing in one night. 3) Glory has developed a stable of marketable talent that could headline future events. Joe Schilling and Joseph Valtellini are superstars tailor made for SpikeTV with the skills to sell a fight and the exciting styles to deliver on fight night.

For the two and a half years that Glory has spent trying to establish an identity and a consistent product to deliver to American audiences, it seems like the end result has finally been achieved, and it is 100% solid. Each card features a couple of well-known headliners and a contender tournament with prospects who are still making their name. This keeps costs low by not breaking bank on a mega card full of 6-figure talent, and it allows Glory to book and sell-out smaller venues that it can continually revisit. This model has been successfully followed by Strikeforce, It’s Showtime, and now Lion Fight.

Does this mean that Glory won’t stage big PPV shows anymore? No, but it does mean that Glory will need to be strategic and creative in how it plans future events. The SpikeTV formula will work well in the United States when Glory must necessarily operate in 2,000 to 3,000 person venues, but if places like Istanbul can really put more than 10,000 butts in seats, then there are greater possibilities. Co-promotion with Bellator would also be a major boon to Glory. While Glory may not have the muscle right now to be a PPV success, it could easily enhance the marketability of a Bellator PPV. Bellator/Glory Dynamite 2014 on PPV, anyone? Bellator and Glory could not be in a better position to attempt something like this, especially with Scott Coker in the driver’s seat clearing the way to stable co-promotion. Having multiple smaller shows with only a couple of big shows per year is the right step to sustainability long-term.

Finally, let’s remind ourselves of where Glory truly stands. In terms of its success, Glory is nowhere close to being the UFC, and neither is it close to being Bellator. It is a big, international organization that does slightly better than or about the same as a regional fight promotion. It has shouldered substantial loss to get to where it is now. However, it is unequivocally gaining momentum. The combat sports community is interested in Glory and wants to see more, and every event is gaining more traction in the hearts of fight fans. The ratings, while not a skyrocketing success, are stable. The stage is set for Glory to have its breakthrough moment with the right talent, the right broadcast deals, and the right formula in place. Glory needs to keep putting itself on TV with more small shows while waiting for the right moment to bring out the big guns. It may not happen this year, but that moment will come eventually. Until then, it’s up to us to keep tuning in, to keep supporting the sport, and to keep spreading the word. Kickboxing is alive, and it is finally here.

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Miguel Torres Added to GLORY 17 Tournament, Cro Cop vs. Kharitonov

  • Published in Glory

GLORY 17

GLORY 17 Los Angeles keeps getting more and more interesting as June 21st rapidly approaches. The original headliner was planned to be Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic vs. Pat Barry in a rematch from their UFC bout a few years ago, but either Pat Barry won't be cleared to compete in time or has refused to compete (it's not clear). That means that Mirko Cro Cop has a new opponent, with that opponent being none other than PRIDE and K-1 veteran Sergei Kharitonov. Both men are at an interesting point in their respective careers, with Cro Cop dropping a decision to Remy Bonjasky at GLORY 14 and Kharitonov being out-pointed by Anderson "Braddock" Silva at GLORY 16.

That's not all, though. GLORY was one man shy for the GLORY 17 Featherweight tournament and now it looks like former WEC Bantamweight Champion and former UFC competitor Miguel Torres will be joining the GLORY roster, getting an immediate spot in the Featherweight tournament. Miguel Torres is an interesting choice, as he was a popular name in the WEC and UFC for a while, but it's hard not to deny that he has looked less-than-impressive of late. It will be interesting to see how he does in Kickboxing.

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Post-Glory 17 Matchmaking - Rematches galore

  • Published in Glory

As the dust settles after Glory's inaugural pay-per view event, I play role as matchmaker for the winners from this weekend’s epic night of fights.

Artem Levin vs. Joe Schilling III

Who honestly wouldn't want to see a third fight between these two? Levin was clearly the better man on Saturday however it was evident that Schilling was most definitely the most battle-worn going into the tournament final, after avenging previous losses over Wayne Barrett and Simon Marcus earlier in the night. A 5 round title fight later this year for the Glory Middleweight title seems like the perfect way to separate these two and would be a fitting end to a memorable trilogy for Glory. Expect to see it before the year is out.

Rico Verhoeven vs. Errol Zimmerman III

Verhoeven and Ghita’s rematch this weekend may not have been as exciting as the first meeting between the two, it finally cleared the air on who the number 1 heavyweight is as Verhoeven outpointed Ghita for a second time by Unanimous decision. Whilst many would argue that a third encounter between Verhoeven and Zimmerman would most likely play out similarly to their last fight, Zimmerman has since earned his right to fight for the belt by knocking out both Ben Edwards and Anderson Silva earlier this year to win the Glory Heavyweight contender tournament. It’s also worth noting that besides the champion Verhoeven and up and coming Romanian starlet Benjamin Adegbuyi, Zimmerman is the only other top 10 Heavyweight who is currently on a win streak. Zimmerman is owner of perhaps the most decisive loss of Verhoeven’s career, as he knocked out the champion in less than a minute back in 2012.

Joseph Valtellini vs. Nieky Holzken II

Whilst a few have disagreed with the decision, Joseph Valtellini became Glory's Welterweight champion this past Saturday with a split decision victory over now former champ Marc de Bonte. Valtellini controlled the first half of the fight by being the more active of the two fighters, with his best moment coming in the third as he sent De Bonte crashing to the mat courtesy of a right-high kick. De Bonte came alive after the knockdown though as the tide began to turn. De Bonte utilized his superb technical skills to pick away at Valtellini before an incredibly well timed step-in knee nearly separated Valtellini from consciousness. Although Valtellini recovered, it was clear he didn’t have much left in the tank, as de Bonte clearly won the last two rounds. Had it not been for Joe Schilling and Simon Marcus contributing a Fight of the Year candidate, the fight between De Bonte and Valtellini would probably have been most peoples pick for Fight of the Night. Although 'Bazooka' Joe will currently sit atop of Glory's stacked Welterweight division, most would argue that Dutchman Nieky Holzken is still guy to beat at 77kg. Holzken and Valtellini previously met last December, with Holzken finishing Valtellini with a crushing right-hook in the dying seconds of the fight.

Mirko Filipovic vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Kharitonov is still somewhat finding his feet in the Glory ring and has done relatively well in his short-stint thus far. Whilst a win over a 2014 Cro Cop doesn't do as much for Kharitonov's career as much as it would have a decade ago, Cro Cop is still 7-1 since returning to kickboxing in 2012 with the only loss coming consequence of controversial decision to the recently retired Remy Bonjasky. A victory for either guy will not likely propel them into title contention, it still allows to veterans of combat sports to finally do battle after years of competing on the same cards as each other.

Andy Ristie vs. Davit Kiria II

Like the other rematches I've listed above, this bout seems like a given. Ristie was cruising in their first bout before Kiria pulled off one of the upsets of 2014 with an incredible come from behind KO in the final round of their fight for the inaugural Glory Lightweight championship. Ristie put away No. 4 ranked Ky Hollenbeck, whom many thought would provide Ristie with one of the toughest tests of his career. Ristie passed the test with flying colors, destroying the American with a devastating left-hook a mere 30 seconds into the bout. Ristie seems as motivated as ever and will likely go into his rematch with Kiria as a substantial favorite.

Gabriel Varga vs. Mosab Amrani

Top Canadian featherweight Gabriel Varga cruised through his tournament field on Saturday night by handily beating Californian Shane Oblonsky and 19 year-old Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai, both by clear-cut Unanimous decision. Varga seemed to be in a league of his own at Glory 17, only losing a single round on one of the judge’s scorecards. Despite only being 5-5 in his last 10 kickboxing bouts, Moroccan Mosab Amrani has impressed greatly since signing with Glory last year, picking up victories over notables Liam Harrison, Marcos Vinicius and Yuta Kubo with his lone lose coming via a close decision to Masaaki Noiri in Tokyo last year. Not only does this bout make sense in terms of ranking and form, but also stylistically this bout would be a treat for the fans, as Varga would aim to utilize his speed and high output attack vs. Amrani's heavy-handed Muay Thai. This would be the ideal fight to crown Glory’s first ever Featherweight champion.

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GLORY 17: Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai Hype Video

  • Published in Glory

In Muay Thai circles the Sitmonchai camp is incredibly well known and it is an honor to carry that name. GLORY 17 competitor Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai carries that name going into the GLORY 17 Featherweight Tournament. We've seen him fight once before in GLORY, so we know that he's comfortable in GLORY rules, just like we know that he'll have a challenge ahead of him in Gabriel Varga. 

GLORY sent a team to interview Yodkhunpon and here is the video of that very interview. 

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Joe Valtellini: GLORY's Own GSP in the Making

  • Published in Glory

When it comes to conventional wisdom how to make Kickboxing take off in the United States everyone always says the same thing; you need an American star. You need an American star, that is what everyone thinks, so therefore that is what it needs. That is sound logic, but the only thing is, when we look at the recent history of breakthrough stars in combat sports, we don’t see just Americans. Sure, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is American and Oscar De La Hoya is American (but he associates as Mexican for many), but Manny Pacquiao is definitely not American, nor were many of the big UFC Champions.

So of course, you can’t talk UFC champions without talking about Georges St-Pierre, the Canadian former Welterweight Champion who was one of the UFC’s few “big” stars. Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and a few others were important, sure, but GSP proved to be a real, tangible draw for the company and he wasn’t American. GSP was from Canada, he was also responsible for their biggest live gate in history.

GLORY continues its search for their breakthrough star and the feeling that I’ve been getting over the past few months is that as much as conventional wisdom tells me that it’ll be Joe Schilling or Wayne Barrett, the evidence has been pouring in that Canada’s Joseph Valtellini might indeed be that guy. Joe Valtellini might be the guy to break through and become a big star. 

It’s difficult not to make parallels to the UFC’s own Georges St-Pierre, the humble Canadian fighter who was educated, well-spoken, personable, marketable as well as incredibly talented. If you were to tick off boxes in favor of Valtellini you’d be able to tick off every single one of those boxes. It isn’t crazy to think that GLORY’s big breakthrough star could be a Canadian fighter who is marketable, talented, educated and everything that you’d want in a fighter.

While speaking to Valtellini this week we even discussed how he’s never fought in his home country of Canada as a professional, in part due to that the Toronto area has yet to legalize professional Kickboxing. They were late to the game with legalizing MMA, but when they did and promoted a GSP fight they found themselves packing 55,000 fans into the Roger’s Centre in the UFC’s biggest gate to date, with it looking like the record won’t be broken for a very long time. Valtellini wants to be not only important to the sport of Kickboxing, but to his home of Canada as well. One would have to think that Canada could potentially be for GLORY what it has been for MMA in creating stars and passionate fight fans.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, but Joseph Valtellini is popping up everywhere. Interviews, television shows, all over social media and is being discussed by not only fans of Kickboxing, but fight fans everywhere. There is a general feeling that he’s going to take off and very soon. GLORY definitely needs that sharp, articulate fighter to present to the world and if Joseph Valtellini can do the work in the ring against Marc de Bonte on June 21st it’ll be interesting to see what the response is, because he hasn’t fought in a few months, but everyone is still talking about him already. If he becomes champion I only imagine it’ll be intensified. 

It’s not a far stretch to imagine that Joseph Valtellini could be for GLORY what GSP was for the UFC.

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