On Friday, Dec. 1, GLORY Kickboxing will host its 48th event from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
In the night’s headliner, American Kevin VanNostrand battles Anvar Boynazarov for interim gold in the featherweight division. VanNostrand earned a shot at the belt by winning the GLORY 43 one-night tournament. Boynazarov, meanwhile, came up short in his recent tournament bid, but with eventual winner Abdellah Ezbiri unable to compete in New York, Boynazarov will look to deliver another highlight-reel finish.
The night’s SuperFight Series features a super bantamweight title fight between champion Tiffany van Soest and the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound female kickboxer, Anissa Meksen.
Also on the card, the promotion will hold a one-night, four-man middleweight qualifying tournament, as well as the promotional debuts of UFC veterans Thiago Silva and Chris Camozzi.
The best fight on the card features GLORY bantamweight champion Tiffany van Soest making the second defense of her title against the world’s top-ranked female fighter, Anissa Meksen. Who wins?
This championship bout is one of the most important women’s kickboxing bouts this year. Van Soest has looked unstoppable since entering the eight-woman GLORY tournament to crown the inaugural women’s champion. She dominated Morocco’s Esma Hasshass in her promotional debut at GLORY 30 in May 2016. The former two-division Lion Fight champ dropped her opponent to start her GLORY career in style. Van Soest took a decision victory over Canadian Jessica Gladstone in the semifinals and became the first fighter to defeat France’s Amel Dehby, whom she met in the final. Van Soest made the first defense of her title with a fourth-round stoppage of Meryem Uslu at GLORY 44.
Meksen currently sits atop the Combat Press kickboxing rankings, above the likes of Jorina Baars, Denise Kielholtz and her upcoming opponent van Soest, who is ranked fifth. Meksen has 93 wins and just three losses in her storied career. During this stretch, she’s defeated top-10 pound-for-pound talent Iman Barlow, former Bellator titleholder Gloria Peritore, a plethora of European champions including Maria Lobo, Fadma Basrir, Yolande Alonso, Johanna Rydberg, undefeated professional boxer and Muay Thai champion Eva Naranjo, and Canadian Ashley Nichols. Meksen has victories in 31 of her past 32 fights, with her only loss coming against fellow ranked fighter E Meidie. Meksen has already compiled seven wins in 2017, and a title-winning performance against van Soest will likely put her in the running for “Fighter of the Year.”
Van Soest comes from a strong Muay Thai background, but so does Meksen. Van Soest has transitioned nicely to the kickboxing ruleset, with her boxing coming to the forefront of her offense. One potential disadvantage for the American leading into the bout is her pursuit into mixed martial arts. She picked up a victory at Invicta FC 23 in May. Has her focus on kickboxing been cluttered by learning wrestling and grappling? Fighters like Joe Schilling and Dustin Jacoby have had mixed success when switching between sports. However, van Soest seems to have directed all of her attention to kickboxing knowing that she would inevitably face Meksen.
Meksen made her name known quickly to the GLORY fans with a dominant win over Brazil’s Jady Menezes in her promotional debut in New York. She took out another strong opponent, Funda Diken, at GLORY 47 in front of her hometown crowd. Meksen put an end to Diken in the third frame. She will likely have an advantage with her kicks and boxing combinations. Meksen throws a high-volume attack that could stifle some of van Soest’s boxing with her work on the outside. Meksen is willing to engage within range, but her best work comes from her attacks on the outside.
This match-up could very likely end up as one of the best fights of the year. The bout is a truly high-level clash that could cement Meksen as the best fighter in the world, or potentially knock her from the pole position should van Soest remain undefeated inside the GLORY ring. Meksen is the more technical kickboxer, though, and she will maintain a higher pace throughout the five-round bout.
The one-night middleweight contender tournament features Wayne Barrett, Mike Lemaire, and Matt Baker from the United States and Canadian Robert Thomas. Will one of the three U.S. fighters capture top honors, or can Thomas play spoiler on foreign soil?
Lemaire returns to the GLORY ring for only the second time this year. He lost a unanimous decision to Warren Thompson at GLORY 37 in his most recent outing in January. The American has traded wins and losses since signing with the promotion in 2013, including victories over top-10 middleweight Dustin Jacoby, UFC fighter Karl Roberson, and welterweight Casey Greene. Lemaire will look to get past Baker, a GLORY and Legacy kickboxing veteran. Baker won his GLORY debut against Edward Hyman at GLORY 23 in 2015. Should Lemaire earn the victory, he will have a chance for redemption against either Thomas or Barrett, both of whom have previously defeated Lemaire.
Speaking of Barrett and Thomas, the pair previously met at GLORY 27. Barrett used his footwork to stay on the outside, land strong leg kicks and attack with hard straight punches and kicks to the body. Barrett did a good job of using his quickness and head movement to open up his offense. Thomas had trouble landing anything clean because of Barrett’s movements and awareness of the counter during the exchanges. The Canadian was able to land his rear-leg low kick on many occasions, but he took too many shots early on and couldn’t gain any ground in the final round.
Barrett has been out of the GLORY ring for 20 months. His last loss came against the aforementioned Jacoby in the finals of the GLORY 27 middleweight contender tournament, where he also fought Thomas in the semifinals. Thomas has fought twice in the GLORY ring since. He suffered a loss to Israel Adesanya by decision at GLORY 34 and scored a third-round stoppage against Warren Thompson at GLORY 44 in August. Thomas was dropped twice in the Adesanya fight in spectacular fashion, but he made a strong return in a difficult fight against Thompson.
Barrett has the tools to hand Thomas another loss in their semifinal match-up. Baker has the credentials and skill level to take out GLORY mainstay Lemaire in the other semifinal. The final will be an excellent match-up between two diversely skilled strikers. Both fighters throw with good variety of strikes and are defensively responsible. Expect the final to come down to who can push the pace of the fight more in the latter rounds. Barrett should erase his recent bad fortune with two victories in one night.
The fight card features the addition of UFC veterans Thiago Silva and Chris Camozzi against John King and Kyle Weickhardt, respectively. How will the MMA fighters fare in their GLORY debuts?
Former top-10 light heavyweight Thiago Silva makes his GLORY debut following the likes of fellow MMA fighter Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva’s debut at GLORY 46. The 35-year-old Brazilian has won four of his past five fights, including two by way of knockout. Silva showed off his excellent leg kicks and striking arsenal when he won the Absolute Championship Berkut light heavyweight title against Jared Torgeson earlier this year. Silva dominated the fight on the feet with his punching combinations and beautiful leg kicks, both of which should help him tremendously in his transition into kickboxing rules.
Kickboxing rules tend to favor fighters with more volume, pressure, and a strong combination flow. Silva throws a solid jab, works the body, and uses his kicks often to break down his opponent’s guard and land the fight-ending blow. Silva should continue his success in the GLORY ring against another MMA fighter, John King, who is also making his debut. King won his most recent outing under MMA rules in July. However, he has lost five of his 10 pro MMA fights, including an encounter with GLORY veteran Myron Dennis. King has seven wins under kickboxing rules and a draw against Matt Baker. However, Silva will impress in his GLORY debut with a knockout victory over King.
Camozzi will have a tough fight on his hands against fellow MMA fighter Weickhardt. Following three consecutive losses in his third stint with the UFC, Camozzi will make the transition to kickboxing after signing a multi-fight deal with GLORY. His style was primarily striking-based during his time with the UFC. Camozzi wasn’t afraid to throw caution to the wind against some of the best strikers in the middleweight division. His toughness and unrelenting pressure should make for a smooth transition into kickboxing. It also helps that he trains with fellow GLORY middleweight Dustin Jacoby at Factory X in Denver. Weickhardt has eight wins and one loss in his kickboxing career. The Bellator veteran scored four knockouts during his four MMA wins, which all took place before 2012. Camozzi should hand Weickhardt a decision loss.
|GLORY 48 Main Card|
|Interim Featherweight Title: Kevin Vannostrand vs. Anvar Boynazarov||Boynazarov by decision|
|Project Middleweight Tournament Final: Barrett vs. Baker||Barrett by decision|
|LHW: Thiago Silva vs. John King||Silva by knockout|
|Middleweight Tournament: Robert Thomas vs. Wayne Barrett||Barrett by decision|
|Middleweight Tournament: Mike Lemaire vs. Matt Baker||Baker by decision|
|GLORY 48: SuperFight Series|
|Women’s Bantamweight Title: Tiffany van Soest vs. Anissa Meksen||Meksen by decision|
|MW: Chris Camozzi vs. Kyle Weickhardt||Camozzi by decision|
|LW: Elvis Gashi vs. Nate Richardson||Gashi by decision|
|LHW: Ivan Galaz vs. Paul Banasiak||Galaz by knockout|
|LW: Itay Gershon vs. Justin Houghton||Gershon by decision|