GLORY Kickboxing returns to the United States on Friday, July 22, for GLORY 32: Virginia. The 10-fight card, which takes place at the Ted Constant Center in Norfolk, features a rematch for the GLORY featherweight championship.
GLORY featherweight champion Serhiy Adamchuk took the title from former champ Gabriel Varga at GLORY 25 after a grueling and grinding five-round affair. The decision came under criticism following a night that was marred by the judging controversy of the headlining championship fight between Sittichai Sitsongpeenong and Robin van Roosmalen. The champions will clash again to decide who is the rightful owner of the GLORY featherweight belt.
The GLORY contender tournament series returns on Friday evening with the light heavyweights. Top-five light heavyweight kickboxer Pavel Zhuravlev makes his much-anticipated GLORY debut in one leg of the four-man, one-night tournament. Zhuravlev will welcome fellow debutant Ariel Machado to the GLORY ring. In the other tournament semifinal, French light heavyweight Zinedine Hameur-Lain meets American Manny Mancha.
Road to GLORY USA tournament winner Brian Collette returns to the promotion for the first time in nearly 18 months. He is scheduled to take on fellow American Myron Dennis, the last man he stepped into the GLORY ring with at GLORY 19. Dennis recently fell short in his MMA career when he was defeated by eventual The Ultimate Fighter 23 light heavyweight winner Andrew Sanchez during the quarterfinal round.
The GLORY 32 Super Fight Series features a match-up of heavyweights headlining the UFC Fight Pass broadcast. Loudmouth protagonist Chi Lewis-Parry brings his attitude back to kickboxing rules following his controversial parting with ONE Championship. Lewis-Parry was scheduled to return to GLORY before an injury sustained while sparring with current UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier took him off the GLORY 30 fight card. The injury may have been a blessing in disguise for the improving heavyweight. Lewis-Parry now faces American Maurice Greene instead of the highly ranked Guto Inocente, his original opponent for his return to GLORY. Greene showed his toughness and potential for growth in his most recent outing against former top-10 heavyweight Anderson “Braddock” Silva.
The aforementioned Silva returns to the kickboxing ring following a successful MMA debut against Ruud Vernooij at HIT Fighting Championship 2. Silva welcomes German heavyweight Gordon Haupt to the GLORY ring.
In the GLORY women’s bantamweight division, Turkish kickboxer Funda Alkayis brings her impressive record to GLORY against Belgian kickboxing champion Vanessa de Waele in the GLORY Women’s Grand Prix tournament reserve bout.
Heavy-handed American welterweight Francois Ambang returns to GLORY hungry for a victory following a split decision loss to Richard Abraham in the GLORY 30 welterweight tournament. Ambang welcomes fellow American Michael Stevens into the GLORY ring.
FW Championship: Serhiy Adamchuk (33-5, 15 KO) vs. Gabriel Varga (26-3, 8 KO)
The champion, Adamchuk, finally took hold of the public’s attention in 2015 after more than seven years of competing in MMA and kickboxing simultaneously. Adamchuk, 26, made the decision to switch to kickboxing full-time in 2013. The Ukrainian youngster, backed by his team at Mike’s Gym in the Netherlands, has climbed to the next level in the sport. His decision finally paid off when Adamchuk took a short-notice bout against Marat Grigorian, one of the best lightweights in the world.
Adamchuk took a risky opportunity when he signed up to fight the top-10 kickboxer on less than 48 hours’ notice. Not only did he move up to 70 kilograms, nearly 10 pounds above his normal weight division, but the rising southpaw prospect defeated the top-ranked fighter in one of the biggest upsets of 2015. The upset win at GLORY 22 catapulted Adamchuk into a featherweight title opportunity that turned into a title-eliminator bout when Varga, the reigning champion at the time, was unable to compete at the co-promoted Bellator MMA and GLORY Dynamite 1 event. Adamchuk put on a dominant performance against replacement opponent Anvar Boynazarov in September before getting his opportunity to steal the featherweight title from the Canadian.
Adamchuk and Varga went after each other in a five-round title fight at GLORY 25 in Milan. The fight was just one of many hotly contested bouts on a night of controversial judging from the ISKA sanctioning body. The judges weren’t the only concern in the championship bout, however. Referee Stefano Valenti didn’t offer much in the way of resistance to Adamchuk’s attempted clinching.
Despite the drawbacks in the first fight, the five-round affair was extremely close. Three of the five rounds were up for grabs. The first round was clearly for Varga, who landed nearly double the amount of strikes as his opponent. Adamchuk evened the score in the second frame with an aggressive output and multiple damaging blows. The third round was back and forth despite the more frequent clinching. A cut above Varga’s eye opened more as Adamchuk continually entered the clinch with his patented one-two and strong left straight. Adamchuk might have edged out the latter portion of the round as his output picked up as the seconds clocked down. The fourth frame was the swing round, with both men vying for position. The fifth stanza was close, with Varga doing solid work with his hands and feet in the early moments of the round. Adamchuk evened the score as the fighters exchanged heavy punches against the ropes as the contest drew to a close. The judges gave the title to Adamchuk.
Varga, 31, gets his chance for revenge after successfully returning to the win column with a decision nod over Liu Wei to win the Hero Legends featherweight title in January. Varga’s reign as GLORY champ was short lived. After he claimed the crown with his five-round decision victory over Mosab Amrani at GLORY 20, Varga lost the belt to Adamchuk in his first defense. Adamchuk then turned around and defended the title against Amrani at GLORY 28. Adamchuk took another short-notice fight at GLORY 29, where he defeated Mohammed El-Mir by decision in a lightweight bout.
These are two of the most technical fighters in the division. The first fight didn’t feature multiple knockdowns or wild exchanges, but the action was constant and at a very high level. This fight comes down to a matter of inches, movements and mistakes. Either fighter could capitalize on a fight-ending mistake, but it’s much more likely that this fight is contested over a grueling 25 minutes of action in the clinch, at range and everywhere between.
Varga found success with his kicks and counter left hands in the first bout. Expect the Canadian to push forward with a high-output attack that keeps him scoring whether the fight takes place inside or outside. Varga’s key to victory will be landing those shots in transition. Adamchuk believed his last fight wasn’t a great performance. He’ll clean up his performance the second time around. The 26-year-old Adamchuk will continue his impressive winning streak with consistent offense, excellent counter striking and impeccable defensive abilities.
LHW: Brian Collette (23-4, 19 KO) vs. Myron Dennis (19-5, 8 KO)
Collette makes his return to GLORY after some ups and downs in the Legacy Kickboxing ring in 2015. He picked up a first-round knockout win over Luther Smith with his signature right-leg head kick at Legacy Kickboxing 2. Collette then entered the promotion’s light heavyweight tournament that featured fellow GLORY veterans Dennis and Mancha. Collette did well in the opening moments against his fellow American competitor. His success was quickly halted, though, when Mancha put the Virginian down with a brutal left hook to the liver following a barrage of punches, knees and kicks that had Collette searching for his equilibrium. Collette exhibited his toughness in fighting his way back into the fight, but Mancha’s constant offensive barrage forced him to succumb to punches. Mancha dropped Collette for good with a strong left-hook counter that planted Collette face first on the mat.
Collette will attempt to recover from only his fourth career defeat in 27 bouts when he faces Dennis. Collette already holds a win over Dennis from when the pair previously met at GLORY 19. Collette took the strikes from an aggressive Dennis in the first frame, but his fortunes quickly turned around late in the round. Collette took his offensive attack to the body and legs of the debuting multi-sport athlete. By the end of the third frame, Collette was more than doubling Dennis’s output. A late third-round knockdown via the head kick of Collette put the decision out of reach for Dennis. However, Dennis did have his moments in the fight. He landed his right hand with consistency and made the most of his time inside of the clinch against the ropes. Dennis even landed a hard front kick to Collette’s face in the first round.
Dennis made a name for himself fighting in the Oklahoma-based MMA promotion Xtreme Fighting League. He showed his slick striking ability on his way to the XFL title. He earned opportunities to fight in two of the largest MMA promotions in the world after putting together an impressive record against regional competition. Dennis fell short in his Bellator MMA debut against Raphael Davis at Bellator 53 in 2011. He returned to the win column in the XFL before making a successful Legacy debut opposite former UFC title challenger Paul Buentello for the vacant Legacy light heavyweight championship. Dennis couldn’t defend his title in his next outing against two-division Legacy FC champion Leo Leite.
Dennis recently appeared on season 23 of The Ultimate Fighter following a first-round knockout of multiple-time NJCAA wrestling champion Jamelle Jones in the elimination round. Dennis survived multiple takedown attempts before landing the fight-ending barrage of punches. Dennis lost in the TUF quarterfinals against eventual winner Andrew Sanchez.
Dennis has had mixed results in his kickboxing career since his first fight with Collette. He picked up a decision victory over Warren Thompson at Legacy Kickboxing 2, but he lost to eventual light heavyweight tournament winner Andres Van Engelen by split decision in the semifinals of a one-night tournament at Legacy FC 48. Dennis returns to GLORY on short notice.
Collette should have the upper hand mentally against Dennis, but the ever-improving Dennis will have a chip on his shoulder following his early departure from the UFC. Dennis found success with his aggressive striking early against Collette, but his toughness was the only thing keeping him in the fight when Collette picked up his output in rounds two and three. Collette brutalized the body of Dennis with a strong left hook and powerful right hand. Collette will need to apply the same strategy in this rematch.
Dennis has improved since his first fight with Collette. Collette, meanwhile, suffered a brutal knockout defeat nine months ago. Collette will give Dennis the opportunity to take hold of the fight early, in which case Dennis will have his hand raised in emphatic fashion after letting his hands fly in an exciting firefight.
Mancha, 30, has found sustained success inside the GLORY and Legacy Kickboxing rings over the past year. The proud Californian improved his record after his back-and-forth decision win over Warren Thompson at GLORY 30. Mancha traces his combat-sports roots to his father’s love of the UFC. He began training at an MMA gym as a teenager. The Malaipet Sasiprapa Muay Thai student fell in love with the art of the eight limbs shortly after and spent many years developing his Muay Thai skills under former Rajadamnern champion Malaipet.
Mancha’s Muay Thai background is deeply entrenched in his offensive attack. He is an aggressive fighter who goes for the kill at the first sign of blood. Mancha uses all of the tools in the southpaw toolbox, including a powerful left straight, left knee and right hook. He exhibited his knockout power in a wild scrap with Fernando Almeida at Legacy Kickboxing 3. He acknowledged the flaws in his game plan, however, in stating that “maybe getting punched in the face so much isn’t good strategy.” Mancha was more patient in his most recent outing, but he had his moments of weakness and exchanged blow-for-blow with Thompson. Mancha earned knockout victories over Andre Walker at GLORY 21 and the aforementioned Collette at Legacy FC 48 to finish off a strong 2015.
Hameur-Lain has built an impressive resume against some of Europe’s top talent in his nearly 70-fight career. The Frenchman has competed against top heavyweights and light heavyweights in his 10-plus years fighting in France and around the world. Hameur-Lain won the WAKO European title and has held multiple titles in France, but he has faltered against the upper echelon of each division. He has suffered losses to Bogdan Stoica, Redouan Cairo, Errol Zimmerman and many more. The 30-year-old started his career with an incredible record, but has since fallen to become a sub-.500 fighter through his past 20 bouts.
Hameur-Lain showcases a sound kicking arsenal on top of his agile movements and hand combinations. He doesn’t have one-punch knockout power, and most of his losses have come against fighters who throw heavy leather. Hameur-Lain impressed in his GLORY debut against Fred Sikking at GLORY 26 in the Netherlands. He put forth a strong effort with his kicking offense and ability to minimize damage taken against a smaller opponent. He wouldn’t have the luxury of a smaller opponent in his next outing at GLORY 29. Zack Mwekassa’s body and head punching combinations were too much for Hameur-Lain. The Frenchman had his moments in the outing, but he fell once again.
In Mancha, Hameur-Lain faces a fighter still making a name for himself in a far less talent-laden American kickboxing scene. The Frenchman very well could be the best fighter Mancha has faced in his short career.
Hameur-Lain struggles against left side attacks, and even more so against heavy-hitting southpaws. Mancha could very well find a consistent home for his powerful left straight and slamming knee to the liver. Mancha’s best opportunity for a win, though, is to land a big shot that hurts Hameur-Lain in the early moments of the fight. Mancha’s chances slip significantly if he can’t find the finish in the first round. Hameur-Lain has the footwork and defensive abilities to survive an early onslaught and put together a strong showing in the second and third rounds. He’ll do just that in securing his place in the tournament final.
LHW Contender Tournament Semifinal: Pavel Zhuravlev (69-10, 25 KO) vs. Ariel Machado (42-6, 33 KO)
Zhuravlev makes his long-awaited GLORY debut after seven years of competing at the top of the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. The 32-year-old has more than held his own against many of the world’s top fighters at 95 kilograms and above. The slick boxer picked up a win over former GLORY light heavyweight champ Gökhan Saki in his K-1 debut in 2009. He also holds wins over former GLORY light heavyweight kingpin Saulo Cavalari, GLORY heavyweight title challenger Benjamin Adegbuyi, GLORY title challenger Mourad Bouzidi, current top-five heavyweight Ismael Londt and former top-10 kickboxer Brian Douwes. Zhuravlev’s mantle is overflowing with tournament and championship belts from King of Kings, Superkombat, W5 Kickboxing and Final Fight Championship.
The Ukrainian resume includes 69 wins and 25 knockouts in 80 professional kickboxing bouts. Zhuravlev has won seven straight, and his past four victories came by way of knockout. He picked up his most recent win in the first round against Benjamin Fuimaono at FFC 25. Zhuravlev’s last defeat was against the aforementioned Adegbuyi in 2013. His last loss at 95 kilograms came more than five years ago against former top-10 kickboxer Nathan Corbett.
Machado steps in to replace former GLORY champion Saulo Cavalari, who dropped out of the contest due to visa issues. Machado makes his GLORY debut opposite Zhuravlev. Machado stepped up on three weeks’ notice for this bout. He will move up in weight to take on a fighter who has regularly fought at heavyweight.
Machado hails from Curitiba, Brazil, where he fought most of his nearly 50 career kickboxing matches. He has won state and national titles in Muay Thai and kickboxing in his home country. The 29-year-old has spent time competing in MMA as well. He won the Power Fight Extreme middleweight title in 2014 and defended it once in his final MMA fight before returning to the kickboxing ring. The Brazilian last fought at WGP Kickboxing 29 against middleweight Maycon Silva. He dropped a split decision to Junior Alpha in his prior bout at WGP Kickboxing 26.
Machado will be the much smaller fighter in this match-up. The Brazilian is a counter fighter with an orthodox base. He utilizes a Muay Thai style with his hands high and ready to exchange when his opponent enters his effective striking range. Machado likes to grind on his opponents in the clinch with knees and punches, but this is a trait that doesn’t work to his advantage against a powerful puncher under the GLORY rule set with minimal clinching.
Zhuravlev has the knockout power in his fists to put the Brazilian away with one right hand or left hook. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Machado come out cautious in his debut. He will need to capitalize on any openings Zhuravlev gives him, but the openings will be few and far between.
Machado stepped up to take on the biggest challenge of his career on short notice, but the move won’t pay off for the Brazilian. Zhuravlev comes out hard and looks for the knockout in this semifinal match-up.
Projected Tournament Final: Hameur-Lain vs. Zhuravlev
The tournament final will likely be contended between top-10 combatants Zhuravlev and Hameur-Lain.
The likelihood is great that Hameur-Lain comes into the finals with some damage inflicted upon him from Mancha. Mancha may not be the most technical fighter, but he will damage the French light heavyweight every chance he gets. Hameur-Lain took heavy damage in both of his previous GLORY bouts. If he comes into the bout with Zhuravlev damaged, it will surely be a quick night’s work for the top-ranked Ukrainian to dispose of him.
Zhuravlev has an advantage in almost every aspect of the sport. His powerful striking and slick boxing combinations were enough to do away with stronger competition in the past. Hameur-Lain will need a career-defining performance in the tournament finals should he hope to get by Zhuravlev. That’s much harder said than done.
Zhuravlev moves his winning streak to nine and puts his name on the map as one of GLORY’s top light heavyweight contenders. The soon-to-be 33-year-old is a much-needed addition to the GLORY light heavyweight division.
GLORY 32 Super Fight Series Predictions
HW: Chi Lewis-Parry (6-1, 2 KO) vs. Maurice Greene (4-2, 2 KO)
Lewis-Parry by decision
HW: Anderson “Braddock” Silva (39-14-1, 24 KO) vs. Gordon Haupt (20-6-1, 6 KO)
Silva by knockout
Women’s BW: Funda Alkayis (28-2) vs. Vanessa de Waele (0-1)
Alkayis by decision
WW: Francois Ambang (15-6, 6 KO) vs. Michael Stevens (8-5, 3 KO)
Ambang by knockout
FW: Giga Chikadze (34-4, 20 KO) vs. Chris Mauceri (7-3, 2 KO)
Chikadze by knockout
Special Bout: Cedric Smith (1-0, 1 KO) vs. Roger Corbin (0-0)
Smith by knockout
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