The Runner Sports

Glory 39 A Tussle In Brussels

The inevitable spring lull in MMA looms large but don’t panic fight freaks. I have a stop gap solution, Glory 39 Brussels, Saturday March 25. Two belts are on the line in a promotion that features the best stand up striking talent in the world. The main event of the evening, welterweight champion Cedric Doumbe takes on Yoann Kongolo. The co-main event features Thai phenom Sitthichai as he defends his lightweight strap against Glory prospect Dylan Salvador. Welterweight and lightweight are two of the deepest weight classes the promotion offers. A rare opportunity to witness some of the best kickboxing talent currently on display.

The second fight on Glory’s Super Fight Series (their prelim card), young Moroccan Tyjani Beztati is one to watch. Standing 6’3″ tall, this featherweight is 11-1 for his career and 1-0 in the Glory ring. An absolute massive featherweight, Beztati can kick and punch opponents from across the ring. A truly unique fighter despite his freakish range advantage, he loves to stand and trade. A potential fight of the night sleeper because Beztati will move up to lightweight to take on Sabri Henia. It will be interesting to see how the young Moroccan responds to the size and reach of these bigger opponents. The future is bright for Tyjani, Glory is taking their time developing this one which tells me he is a must watch.

Glory Super Fight Series main event featuring lightweight champion Sitthichai is a must watch on Saturday. One of the best Muay Thai fighters turned kickboxing champion squares off against Glory up-and-coming star Dylan Salvador. The transition from Muay Thai to kickboxing can be a tricky one; no elbows, clinching, sweeps or throws are allowed in modern day kickboxing. Sitthichai had no such problem with the limitations put on his weapons. A steady dose of straight left hands and round kicks have brought him the championship. It will be interesting to see if Dylan can solve the Sitthichai riddle and bring more variety out of the dominant Thai fighter’s game. This should be a brutal contest for the lightweight belt, don’t be surprised if this bout ends way before the fifth and final round.

Glory 39 also features one of my personal favorites, England’s own Chi “Chopper” Lewis Perry. This behemoth stands 6’9″ with KO power that can absolutely marbleize challengers. 4-1 with Glory and 8-1 as a professional, Perry is charismatic and easy going outside the ring, but inside, the man straight punishes people. I cannot help but wonder what his opponents must be thinking when Chopper lands a punch or a kick from the clouds. They must feel defeated, Perry is literally hitting them from his own island. God-forbid one tries to close distance on Chi, he will greet them with a knee to their face. It must be an unsettling feeling to fight a man who can place a standing knee to the chin of any heavyweight in the division. Hesdy Gerges, an Egyptian fighter with a losing record, is tasked with dispatching Perry. Gerges stands 6’7″ tall and will be giving up two inches and twenty pounds to Perry. This bout is likely to end in spectacular fashion in favor of Perry. Do not miss this fight, a win for Perry will bring a colorful post fight interview and a Rico Verhoeven call out.

The main event for Glory 39 Brussels will reshape the welterweight landscape for 2017. Cedric Doumbe shocked the world when he dethroned longtime undefeated champion Nieky Holzken at Glory Collision last December. The challenger Yoann Kongolo has already beaten Cedric Doumbe once before in 2015. Styles make fights and Cedric has a high energy flashy fighting style that makes him exciting and a crowd pleaser. Kongolo comes forward with a high guard intent on landing big punches and leg kicks. Doumbe was unable to stand on the outside and out strike Kongolo the first time they met. It will be interesting to see if two years is long enough to figure Yoann out and successfully defend his welterweight belt.

If all of those great matchups weren’t enough, Glory brings you the most exciting aspect of standup kickboxing in the world, the one-night contender tournament. The four main featherweight tournament will see one man climb to the top and earn himself a bonus purse and shot at the featherweight championship. The amount of will and determination it takes to win a one-night tournament is something that cannot be described by words. One must simply watch these warriors battle for supremacy, four men enter, one man emerges victorious. Glory 39 Brussels will air on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass Saturday, March 25.

Chris Grabowski

Chris Grabowski

Content Contributor at The Runner Sports
Former Division 1 athlete turned combat sports enthusiast. Combat sports can be described as human problem solving with dire physical consequences.
Chris Grabowski

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