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Nieky Holzken vs. Murthel Groenhart Headlining GLORY 34 Denver

There has been talk about a huge rematch between GLORY Welterweight Champion Nieky Holzken and challenger Murthel Groenhart for a while now, but that fight has become a reality and is happening sooner, rather than later. That fight will now headline GLORY 34 Denver, along with the Middleweight Contender tournament. 

The previously-announced headline bout of Gabriel Varga against Robin van Roosmalen has been moved to the headline spot of the GLORY 34 SuperFight Series that will air on UFC Fight Pass. 

GLORY 34 Denver

Welterweight World Title Headline Bout: Nieky Holzken (c) vs. Murthel Groenhart

Middleweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Middleweight Co-Headline Bout: Dustin Jacoby vs. TBA

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Thomas

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Yousri Belgaroui vs. Alex Pereira

GLORY 34 SuperFight Series

Featherweight World Title Bout: Gabriel Varga (c) vs. Robin Van Roosmalen

Light Heavyweight Bout: Saulo Cavalari vs. Brian Douwes

Welterweight Bout: Richard Abraham vs. Michael Mathatha

Welterweight Bout: Casey Greene vs. Tongchai Sitsongpeenong

Featherweight Bout: Justin Houghton vs. Jonathon Wyderko

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GLORY Release Card for Stacked GLORY 35: Sitthichai vs. Marat, Vakhitov vs. Mwekassa and More

While everyone is abuzz over December 10th's GLORY Collision, featuring Rico Verhoeven vs. Badr Hari, GLORY is continuing to put forth some incredible cards in the interim. Today the company announced the card for GLORY 35 Nice, France and it's chock full of kickboxing goodness.

The main event is Sitthichai defending the GLORY Lightweight Championship against Marat Grigorian, then featured on the card is a Heavyweight Contender tournament. Interestingly enough, Ismael Londt won one of these tournaments and has yet to get his title shot yet. We've reached out to GLORY for comment, but nothing yet.

The stacking of the SuperFight Series continues with a Light Heavyweight unification bout as champion Artem Vakhitov and Interim Champion Zack Mwekassa clash for Light Heavyweight surpremacy. Also featured is Josh Jauncey against Dylan Salvador, who has been tearing things up in China over the past few years. 

GLORY 35 Nice

Lightweight World Title Headline Bout: Sittichai vs. Marat Grigorian

Heavyweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Light Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Zinedine Hameur-Lain vs. Pavel Zhuravlev

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: TBA vs. TBA

Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Jahfarr Wilnis vs. Mladen Brestovac

GLORY 35 SuperFight Series

Light Heavyweight Title Unification Bout: Artem Vakhitov vs. Zack Mwekassa

Welterweight Bout: Karim Benmansour vs. Eyevan Danenberg

Super Bantamweight Bout: Amel Dehby vs. Ji-Waen Lee

Lightweight Bout: Josh Jauncey vs. Dylan Salvador

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GLORY 33 Draws 517,000 Viewers Live on ESPN2

GLORY's run on ESPN has most been live on ESPN3 and replayed on ESPN2 some time in the near future. That has been anywhere from a day to two days to two weeks, depending on ESPN's scheduling. On Friday night for GLORY 33, ESPN2 aired the event live. Well, there is a caveat to that, because the college football game between Louisville and Syracuse ran over and GLORY 33 was pushed to ESPNews until it was over.

That left about an hour and fifteen minutes for GLORY 33 on ESPN2 and the numbers that they pulled were the best that we've seen in quite a while with 517,000 live viewers. That means that live viewers got to see Rico Verhoeven crush Anderson Silva and Matt Embree look like a million bucks. That's not a bad way to snag viewers.

[Source]

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Yao Ming's Investment Firm Acquires Strategic Stake in GLORY

Following an exciting outing at GLORY 33, it was announced today that former NBA star, Yao Ming, through his investment firm Yao Capitol, has purchased a strategic stake in GLORY kickboxing. 

In a press release issued this afternoon by GLORY, they announced that Yao Capitol along with Liberty Global, have concluded a strategic investment in the kickboxing company. The move is seen as GLORY has been attempting to make further strides in not only the US market, but the Asian market as well. GLORY will increase the number of shows that they produce in 2017 to a whopping 18 with shows scheduled in Latin America and Asia. On top of that, GLORY will be launching reality television programming in the near future and will be launching a joint venture with Yao Ming in China while looking to enter the Chinese market.

The Chinese market has been growing rapidly, with promotion like Kunlun, Hero Legends, EM Legend, WLF and more seeing growth in China over the past few years. Teaming with a Chinese superstar like Yao Ming to enter the market seems like a sound strategy, as opposed to coming in as outsiders.

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Glory 33 Live Results

Its time for Glory and we will be here with the Live Results and on Twitter @JayJauncey. There should definitely be some exciting fights on this card not to mention Braddock's chance to finally break his barrier and be at the very top of the heavyweight division.

Glory 33 Results

HW Title: Rico Verhoeven (R2 KO) Anderson "Braddock" Silva -- Well, Rico looked amazing High kicks, low kicks, angles, nice counter punches everything was on point. Eventually he dropped Braddock 3 times in 2nd round twice with low kicks and one with a left high kick to get the victory. If Badr doesn't take this fight seriously hes in big trouble.

Tournament Final: Matt Embree (R2 KO) Giga Chikadze -- First round was pretty even round until the final second when Embree caught Gigas kick and landed an amazing overhand dropping Chikadze but he was saved by the bell. 2nd round Embree comes out hard and finally lands that overhand right again and Chikadze is falls like a sack of potatoes. I am really impressed with Embree, his hands have never looked so great, if he fight like this he can give either Van Roosmalen or Varga problems.

Guto Inocente (Majority Dec) Hesdy Gerges -- Frustrating fight, with Inocente moving well and throwing spinning techniques but holding as soon as Gerges got close. Gerges was the aggressor the whole fight but neither men landed much of significance. Not sure I agree with that decision though, Hesdy and winning decisions do not go hand in hand.

FW semi: Matt Embree (R2 TKO) ChiBin Lim -- 1st round Embree looking great using hard punches and a few low kicks, while Lim covers up lots. 2nd round both fighters go for a left hook but Embrees lands first and drops Lim, Embree swarms Lim once hes up and lands a monster left hook and drops Lim at the bell but 2 knockdowns means the fights over.

FW semi: Giga Chikadze (Majority Dec) Serhiy Adamchuk -- First and 2nd round are very close rounds with both guys throwing kicks from a distance very hard to score. 3rd round Adamchuk turned up the heat a bit and started landing some nice punches and a high kick.

Super Fight Series Results

MW Title: Jason Wilnis (R3 - TKO) Simon Marcus -- Marcus looks on fire in round 1 just like their previous fight. 2nd round was pretty close until Marcus decided to drop his hands and act cocky in the corner and Wilnis landed a few punches and ref decided to give him an 8 count, I personally thought he was acting but the ref can see his eyes better than us. 3rd round Wilnis wobbles Marcus with a right hand and drops him with a combo, then drops him again, and swarms 1 more time and the ref has seen enough, Wilnis is the new Middleweight champ.

Chi Lewis-Parry (R2 - TKO) Anthony Mcdonald -- Chopper took the first round really easy almost didn't do anything seemingly waiting for the short notice opponent to gas in the 2nd round which worked perfectly and after dropping Mcdonald twice with knees and punches in the 2nd, Mcdonald couldn't answer the bell for Rd 3.

Jessica Gladstone (Majority Dec) Daniela Graf -- Gladstone being the much taller fighter used her reach with body kicks and straight punches to keep Graf away until the 3rd round when Graf started to land a few punches but it was too little too late. Great fight by Gladstone especially taking this fight on a week notice.

Francois Ambang (Unanimous Dec) Daniel Morales -- Very close fight, Morales improved greatly from their first by training at Coliseum but Ambang just looked like he was throwing with more power and explosiveness which ultimately won him the fight. If Morales keeps this improvement up hes going to become a solid fighter for this weight class.

Kevin VanNostrand (R2 - TKO) David Moore -- Moore was absolutely out of his league in this fight here. In round one Van Nostrand was picking him apart and Moore literally turtled and turned his back, which... Yikes. Van Nostrand looks good and gets a quick stoppage in the second round, but Moore was so clearly out of his league here.

 

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On Dream Fights; or, How Braddock Could Turn the Dream Into a Nightmare

In the sport of kickboxing there aren’t many dream fights left. Masato has retired, Buakaw has moved on to whatever promotion pays for his exclusivity to operate outside of the bounds of actual divisions, and the heavyweight greats that made K-1 and heavyweight kickboxing the spectacle that it is today have mostly sailed off into the sunset. While there can be arguments for batons being passed to a new generation, the lesser, more fractured platforms and the sudden retirements of fighters like Sem Schilt has put a damper on the division. That’s why this last dream fight between Rico Verhoeven and Badr Hari matters so much, yet at GLORY 33 it is put in question.

Newer stars either never materialized or burnt out. Daniel Ghita became a Romanian politician after disappointing losses to Rico Verhoeven, Badr Hari was primed to take the sport to the next level and refused to control his temper, Alistair Overeem chased his dream of UFC gold and guys like Tyrone Spong saw a future in boxing that kickboxing could never give them. Top fighters like Robin van Roosmalen and Rico Verhoeven are even seeing possible futures for themselves in MMA, with both having sights set on the UFC. 

Through all of this, Rico Verhoeven arose, coming from a background of being a solid heavyweight, but young and unseasoned. He looked like he would be the next Hesdy Gerges; a top guy who came close, but never quite put it all together to become what he could be. Yet, he persevered. Something changed inside of him when he fought Semmy Schilt. Schilt was a monolith in the kickboxing world, an unstoppable beast of a man, a legend, yet Rico stood with him, took his shots and survived. The fighter that emerged from that fight was changed and since then we’ve seen Rico Verhoeven climb the ladder, rung-by-rung and represent kickboxing unlike anyone else in a modern age.

Rico has plowed through the division and while there are fights to make, there aren’t huge money fights to make, or are there? When the idea of a fight against Badr Hari emerged it seemed ridiculous.

Badr Hari is perhaps the exact opposite of Verhoeven. Verhoeven had a quiet start to his career, while Badr Hari was the “Golden Boy” almost from the start. He was pegged for greatness, but he had a temper and at times lost it in the ring. That meant getting knocked out when he shouldn’t have and it also meant losing fights that he was winning because of getting frustrated and attacking downed opponents. His opponents in the ring and innocent backstage placards weren’t his only victims, eventually it spilled over into the public and Badr Hari became a guy better known for snatching headlines for his legal problems than fights. Eventually the only people that would pay his rates to fight were warlords and wealthy Middle-Eastern men who perhaps thought they had struck gold by getting access to Hari, only for things to get weird.

While Hari has curated his career, Verhoeven has fought anyone that GLORY has thrown at him and done so as a professional. Rico does the media, he’s affable and does what he needs to do. Not only that, but he’s sparred with top MMA guys and dabbled in MMA himself, making him a bigger media target. 

So the very idea of them fighting seemed not only odd, but like the strangest mishmash ever. Yet, this is exactly who is left in kickboxing with star power. Badr Hari represents the latter days of K-1’s prominence, while Rico represents the GLORY era. Badr Hari was never K-1 World GP Champion, but that was mostly his fault, it was there for the taking and he pissed it away. 

Yet, there, in the shadows, stands Anderson “Braddock” Silva, the unlikely challenger to Verhoeven at GLORY 33 and the potential spoiler. Fans are excited to see Badr Hari fighting a top level guy again, thankful that he hasn’t had legal issues yet and that the fight has an actual date and venue, yet, if Rico Verhoeven loses, does the fight still have value?

The risk seems almost unfathomable. Who would take such a bold risk heading into the biggest money fight left in the sport of kickboxing? Those in power are perhaps viewing Braddock as a guy that will put up a fight, but has no chance of beating Verhoeven. Or maybe they see that Braddock has a chance and simply don’t care? This is a sport, after all, and fighters lose. Let the sport sort itself out. 

The allure of Badr Hari fighting in GLORY alone will move tickets, but those tickets don’t go on sale until the week after Braddock vs. Rico. While I wouldn’t call Rico Verheoven foolish, the idea of him fighting in Kunlun Fight against a relatively unknown Andrei Gerasimchuk and getting manhandled while his wife was in labor with their daughter and Rico was in no headspace to fight is still fresh in my memory. That was the night that GLORY’s unstoppable champion got hurt by a guy who went on to do pretty well, but not great afterwards. It’s also the fight that GLORY refuses to acknowledge because they know how it looks. 

Yet, here we are, Rico Verhoeven heading into the biggest fight of his career and Anderson “Braddock” Silva is being treated like a truck stop on the way to his destination. Rico will get some highlights and hype heading into the fight with Badr, no sweat. Except for the fact that the lead up to this has been all about Rico’s fight with Badr Hari. Nobody wants to talk about Braddock. Braddock who worked hard to get here, Braddock who has lost bullshit decisions and perhaps hurt himself by not turning up the heat when he needs to, Braddock who gets passed over for his shot time and time again. Yet here it is, here is Braddock Silva’s shot.

So while Rico Verhoeven is the king of kickboxing, moving on to face an invading warlord and thwart him back into the history books, one guy is realizing his career dream and he’s not gonna go down without a fight. 

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Robin van Roosmalen Drops to Featherweight to Challenge Gabriel Varga At GLORY 34

Robin van Roosmalen has proven himself to be one of the toughest guys in kickboxing. The GLORY world champion in the face of fighters like Giorgio Petrosyan and Andy Ristie, then dealing with young up-and-comer Sitthichai in a confusing pair of fights (Sitthichai won the first, Robin won the second, their records say otherwise). Now, van Roosmalen will drop to Featherweight, the weight that he has waded into in MMA, and get an immediate title shot against newly-crowned two-time Featherweight Champion Gabriel Varga at GLORY 34 Denver. 

On top of that GLORY is putting on a Middleweight tournament featuring four top fighters, including Israel Adesanya!

GLORY 34 Denver

Featherweight World Title Headline Bout: Gabriel Varga vs. Robin Van Roosmalen

Middleweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B

Middleweight Co-Headline Bout: Dustin Jacoby vs. TBA

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Thomas

Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Yousri Belgaroui vs. Alex Pereira

GLORY 34 SuperFight Series

Welterweight Bout: Casey Greene vs. Richard Abraham

Light Heavyweight Bout: Saulo Cavalari vs. Brian Douwes

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LiverKick's Official Glory 33 Predictions

Glory 33 begins this Friday with the Super Fight Series at 8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT on UFC Fight Pass followed by Glory 33 on ESPN 2 or Eversport.tv. With the event just over 24 hours away we've once again decided to try and predict the unpredictable known as Kickboxing. There have been a few last minute changes to the card with the addition of Kevin Vannostrand to the SFS as well as Zoila Frausto no longer fighting and the tough Canadian, trained by Trevor Smandych, Jessica "Thumper" Gladstone taking her place against Daniela Graf.

JJ is Jay Jauncey (@jayjauncey).

DW is Dave Walsh (@dvewlsh).

Glory 33

HW Title: Rico Verhoeven vs Anderson "Braddock" Silva

JJ - Rico by Decision, I feel his cardio and technique is just too good for most heavyweights out there.

DW - Rico by decision. Rico is a beast right now and while Braddock could be the ultimate spoiler here, Rico knows that and will probably play it safe.

Hesdy Gerges vs Guto Inocente -

JJ - Gerges by TKO, Inocente has looked great but Hesdy is a huge step up and in my opinion its too soon for Inocente to be fighting a legend like Gerges.

DW - Gerges by decision. I think that Inocente has proven himself a valuable asset to GLORY, but Gerges is a gatekeeper to the elite and he's not there yet.

Tournament Final: 

JJ - Serhiy Adamchuk wins tournament to get rubber match with Gabriel Varga.

DW - Adamchuk wins this. I don't see any other way. He's a very, very complete fighter even if at times he isn't exciting to watch.

FW semi: Serhiy Adamchuk vs Giga Chikadze - 

JJ - Serhiy Adamchuk by Decision, Chikadze has looked great in Glory so far but before Glory he had problems with tricky, durable guys which is exactly Adamchuk.

DW - All respect to Giga, but Adamchuk is one of those guys that is gonna be at the top of this division for a long time, right alongside Varga.

FW semi: ChiBin Lim vs Matt Embree - 

JJ - Matt Embree by Decision just because Lim has been through too many wars and its starting to catch up to him while Embree is still young and fresh.

DW - Embree by decision. Lim has been a .500 fighter against top guys and always puts up a gutsy performance, but Embree is younger, fresher and less battle worn than Lim.

Super Fight Series

MW Title: Simon Marcus vs Jason Wilnis

JJ - Jason Wilnis by KO, this is a really hard one to predict but Wilnis does have good KO power in his hands and that has proven a problem for Marcus in the past even though he beat him previously but that was their 2nd fight that night.

DW - Marcus by decision. Marcus is simply the guy right now. He's had a suspect chin a few short times in kickboxing, but he's learned his lesson since then, I don't see him getting into wild exchanges with Wilnis. Their first fight he won by volume while Wilnis simply walked him down and got hit. I expect similar.

Chi Lewis-Parry vs Anthony Mcdonald

JJ - Chopper by KO, Mcdonald took the fight on short notice while Chopper is in the best shape of his life and looked much more technical and composed his last fight. I foresee a nasty ending in this fight.

DW - Chopper via KO. Choppa's comin'.

Jessica Gladstone vs Daniela Graf

JJ - Gladstone by Decision, I've seen Jessica fight live before and she is as tough as they come, she can grind out a fight like no other as long as she is in shape considering taking the fight last minute.

DW - Graf via decision. I like Gladstone, but Graf was prepared to fight on this night against an American favorite, none-the-less. I think that she'll just be able to outpoint her.

Francois Ambang vs Daniel Morales 

JJ - Ambang by KO, Leg kick Destruction

DW - Ambang via KO. Morales is trying, but Ambang is by far a more complete kickboxer and he's proven himself time and time again. Morales doesn't have the power or ability to get on the inside and test Ambang's chin like others have, period.

Kevin VanNostrand vs David Moore

JJ - VanNostrand by Dec, Kevin is a really hard fight for anyone due to his awkward style.

DW - Van Nostrand by decision. Kevin is a surprisingly good fighter for a guy of his renown and really deserves more time in the spotlight. This is that and I appreciate it. Also, since we've been caring for newborn twins I've been rewatching Seinfeld again and Dr. Van Nostrand always wins. 

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GLORY: Collision Featuring Verhoeven vs. Hari Happens On December 10th

The fight finally has a finalized date and location.

While we had heard a while ago that GLORY was aiming for December 10th for the big GLORY: Collision event featuring Badr Hari vs. Rico Verhoeven, now that is officially the date of the event. The show happens on Saturday, December 10th live from Oberhausen, Germany at the Konig Pilsener Arena. 

GLORY: Collision will be a four-fight card that will be in addition to GLORY 36 and the GLORY 36 SuperFight Series, so expect them to pull out all of the stops for this mega-event. Tickets go on sale to the public on September 19th at Ticketmaster and September 16th for GLORY email members.

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Glory Signs 4 New Fighters

Glory recently announced the signing of 4 new fighters to their promotion. This is very important as some of the divisions in Glory have gotten a bit shallow with the same people having to fight for the belt. Luckily all of the signed fighters will be going into these divisions, 2 into the featherweight division and 2 into the welterweight division.

1. Thongchai Sitsongpeenong trains at Sitsongpeenong with Glory lightweight champion Sittichai and is 20 years old. He will be joining the welterweight division and has a KO win over Khayal Dzhaniev and a win over Fabio Pinca in which he broke Pincas arm. Record - 165W - 32L

2. Petchpanomrung Kiatmoo9 trains at the Kiatmoo9 gym and is 21 years old. He is ranked in the top 10 of Lumpini stadium at both the 140lbs and 135lbs weight categories. He will join Glory's featherweight division. Record - 151W - 34L - 2D

3. Adel Ekvall Halila from Sweden is joining the featherweight division and has a record of 45W - 10L with 5 wins by KO.

4. Konstantin Khuzin from Russia will bring his Tatneft and IFMA experience to the Glory welterweight division.

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