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Analyzing GLORY's Champions: Davit Kiria

Man, if you are like me, you are kind of dying at this dry spell that we are going through with kickboxing right now. There is still stuff going down, but there is a decided lack of big events to get worked up over right now. So it’s time to start taking a long, hard look at the best fighters in the business today and if we think that they can hold onto their top spots. 

First up: Davit Kiria, GLORY Lightweight Champion

GLORY’s Lightweight division is probably one of the most stacked divisions in the world today. The 70kg range has always been talent-rich, thanks in part to K-1 relying upon the K-1 MAX division for years. But right now especially, it feels like as good as any one fighter is in the division, there is a line-up of guys that could probably defeat him. 

Davit Kiria was never a guy that we would have pegged to become GLORY’s Lightweight Champion. That’s not a knock against him as much as it is indicative of how deep the division really is. Kiria is a skilled guy, but his losses to both Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin van Roosmalen led to many doubting him. So when he went into GLORY 14 against Andy Ristie, the guy who knocked both of those men out in one night, not many expected him to walk out as the champion.

Then kickboxing magic happened and Kiria shocked the world, knocking out Andy Ristie in the fifth round. It was insanity and we had an unlikely champion of a guy who was considered “fourth best” to RvR, Petrosyan and Ristie. That is how stacked this division is. We have a good feeling that Robin van Roosmalen will get a shot at Kiria’s title soon (it was originally slated for August, actually), so the question is: Can Davit Kiria hold onto the GLORY Lightweight Championship.

The answer is: yes, but not for long. That title is going to be a hot potato for a while unless Petrosyan can stop injuring his hand. I think that Kiria has the skills to defeat Robin van Roosmalen, but it also goes the other way just as easily. In a five round fight we’ve seen that Kiria’s slow-starting style is perhaps best-served under these conditions and he’ll potentially be able to shine against Robin van Roosmalen.

But then when you have to face down a murderer’s row in Lightweight, it seems inevitable that someone will defeat him at some point. Whomever that is will also face the same exact challenges that Kiria faces now, knowing that the title probably won’t be secure for long. That makes GLORY’s Lightweight division so exciting right now; you don’t know who will end up on top. 

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Spike TV Airing GLORY Last Man Standing on August 8th

Interesting note here, that on last week's Best of GLORY that aired on Spike TV they announced that on Friday, August 8th they'd be airing GLORY Last Man Standing in some form. If we are to look at this objectively, the next day was scheduled to be the day that GLORY 18 was going to happen, so there is a chance that Spike TV had set aside television time for GLORY in early August. Then again, why not air it on Saturday? 

This is an interesting move from Spike TV and -- honestly -- a smart move. GLORY currently does not have an event planned for August and airing the GLORY Last Man Standing event will keep GLORY programming on Spike TV during an off-month, which will hopefully mean that GLORY won't lose viewers like they did the last time they took a break in between shows. The time slot is 2 and a half hours, the replay starting at 10PM Eastern time and running until 12:30, meaning that it will obviously need to be edited down a bit to fit into two and a half hours plus commercial breaks. Still, it is one of the best kickboxing events of the year being shown on Spike TV for free.

It's difficult to complain.

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Long Watch: GLORY's Ivan Farneti Talks Business and Kickboxing

Part of what makes GLORY such an interesting company is the guys who comprise said company. All of the people that we've spoken to which in the company are passionate and knowledgeable about the sport of kickboxing. They are fans, not just casual fans, but real fans. If you are looking for a fan, look no further than GLORY's Ivan Farneti. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook most of the time talking about combat sports -- and he's nowhere near just a casual fan -- he hangs with the most hardcore of us. In fact, I'd go as far as to call Ivan a kickboxing nerd. It's okay, he's in good company. 

Watch this uber-long interview with Ivan to learn more about him, his love for the sport, how he got started with the organization as well as some of the big picture, vision stuff for GLORY. For those that grow tired of hearing Dana White's brand of vitriol, listen to Ivan pretty much say everything you want to hear and really mean it. 

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Best Of Glory On Spike TV, Tell Your Friends!

Spike TV will be showing a one hour long segment on the best of Glory at 11pm ET/8pm PT right after Bellator's live show. For people who are already Glory Kickboxing fans this is a good time to watch some of the most exciting fights and hardest knockouts to excite you for their next event. It's also a good time to invite your die hard UFC fan boy friends to come and watch real excitement. There is no way that a fan of any combat sports will not enjoy one hour of Glory's best moments, from five round wars, to first round jumping, spinning heel kick knock outs Glory has it all.

This a perfect time for all the Kickboxing fans to support kickboxing and spread the word about Glory, it's free, one hour long and just enough time to get everyone hooked.

Check out Spike TV's Glory Page for extra information.

 

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A Look at the Rise of Saulo Cavalari

Although best known for a stellar roster of first class MMA artists, Brazil is becoming equally as well known for kick boxers and muay thai specialists thanks, most recently to GLORY World Series. Today, Saulo Cavalari, Anderson Silva and Alex Perira are well on their way to becoming household names due largely in part to their performances on the GLORY stage. All having made strong and very positive impressions in their match-ups in GLORY; each has also come to GLORY with records of success and titles from their affiliations with other organizations.

Saulo Cavalari, in particular, has quickly become a favorite among fans, photographers and writers alike, largely due to his great personality and brutal knockout power, as evidenced at GLORY 12 in his match-up with Mourad Bouzidi. Cavalari made his debut in October 2013 at GLORY 11 where he faced off against Filip Verlinden. Saulo took the victory home with a decision win in that bout. Since that time it has only been up for this young lion who hails from Curitiba, whose dedication to his craft is well over ten years in the making. Currently Cavalari is ranked number 3 in the light heavyweight category. His record is now 2-1 record in GLORY, having been defeated by Tyrone Spong at GLORY 15 in Instanbul. Even in this bout, Cavalari held his own against the more experienced Spong and lost only due to points. Outside the ring Cavalari exudes warmth, humility and a sense of calm, qualities that greatly contribute to his popularity. Inside the ring, however, is an entirely different matter. His fierceness as a fighter and warrior mentality is destined to make Cavalari one of the most feared men in his division. Saulo comes to the ring ready to destroy and his fists have proven to have brutal force.

Who will be his next opponent? It's anyone's guess. While a match-up between Saulo and GLORY's number 1 contender, Danyo Ilunga would be exciting, an equally exciting and definitely more explosive match-up would be a fight between Cavalari and Gohkan Saki, who now holds the number one spot in the division. In fact, sources close to Saulo indicate that he is very interested in meeting Saki in the ring. Until next time, we'll be all left to watch and wonder who will next fall prey the man known as "Cassius Clay."

 

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Interesting Note on Tyrone Spong's Contractual Status with GLORY

Over the weekend there was some commotion about the possibility of Tyrone Spong heading to the UFC. Of course, that didn't seem to be in the cards considering Spong's favorable status with GLORY, where he is one of the top fighters in the organization. That means that he's also one of the better-paid fighters in the organization, in case you missed it. So Spong showing up at the UFC event and asking Dana White for a contract was a bit of a shock, but seemed more of a heat-of-the-moment thing than a possibility.

Well, hold on a second. 

This video from Sherdog (featuring the dulcet tones of our bud John O'Regan asking the questions) gives us some new insight into the contractual status of Tyrone Spong. According to Spong he is currently done with his GLORY contract. If he had won the GLORY Light Heavyweight Championship there would be a clause that put his contract into perpetuity, but that did not happen. This means that Spong may indeed be a free agent at the moment. He seems willing to work out a new contract with GLORY and if I'm GLORY I make sure that Spong is happy, but this is truly an interesting new twist.

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It's Improbable That Tyrone Spong Can Fight for the UFC Any Time Soon

The news today out of UFC's event in Dublin was that Tyrone Spong was in attendance (we already knew that from his seminar schedule) and that he spoke with Dana White, asking for a one-fight deal to fight for the UFC in Dublin, Ireland. Dana White reported this during the post-fight press conference to illustrate the point of everyone wanting to fight for the UFC in Dublin thanks to what was a rather crazy, raucous crowd. This has the MMA world chattering about Tyrone Spong and fantasy booking him in the UFC already.

Well, hold on a minute. 

Tyrone Spong is signed by both GLORY Sports International and World Series of Fighting, GLORY for kickboxing and WSoF for MMA. The GLORY deal came first and while they are open to allowing fighters to work outside of GLORY, there are restrictions. I have seen some GLORY contracts from a while ago and heard about more recent ones. Most, not all, include clauses about taking outside bookings, such as they must be approved through GLORY's management prior to accepting them, with some restrictions. One of those restrictions? That the UFC was out of the question. 

It's not clear what Spong's contract status is with GLORY at the moment, but one would have to think that he's still under contract and since he's one of their better-paid athletes, that they have a long-term, binding contract in place with Spong. So, not to dash your hopes and dreams, but it's pretty unlikely at the moment. Sorry.

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Meltzer Gives One Last Update on GLORY Last Man Standing Numbers

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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About That GLORY 18 Poster Being Passed Around

Over the past few days we've seen the leaked GLORY 18 poster being passed around quite a lot and gotten a few questions about it. We were going to ignore it and just let it disappear, but, it wasn't about to do that. That's a good thing, though, because fans are hungry and want to know more about the next GLORY event. So anyway, this poster for GLORY 18 has been floating around with a date of August 9th listed as the date, featuring Davit Kiria and Robin van Roosmalen on it.

We've spoken to a few people at GLORY and can confirm that you can indeed be excited, but that the poster was leaked out with a projected date, not the final date. We don't have a final date for GLORY 18 yet, but we know for sure that it's not August 9th. So hold your horses, for now.

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Relive GLORY 17/Last Man Standing with this Behind the Scenes Video

GLORY 17 and Last Man Standing were two incredible events jam-packed into one of the best nights in kickboxing history. Now you can relive some of those moments while getting a backstage view of what went down that night behind the scenes thanks to this awesome video from 2.One.Fly productions. 

Glory 17 - Last Man Standing - Behind the Scenes from 2.One.Fly on Vimeo.

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