GLORY Kickboxing returns to the Accorhotels Arena in Paris, France, on Saturday, June 10, for GLORY 42: Paris.
In the evening’s headliner, GLORY welterweight champion Cédric Doumbé puts his belt on the line against the man he beat to earn it, former champ Nieky Holzken. Doumbé defended the strap with a dominant decision victory over Yoann Kongolo at GLORY 39 in March. Holzken makes his return to the ring for the first time since dropping his title to Doumbé at GLORY: Collision in late 2016.
The next shot at the welterweight title could be decided when Murthel Groenhart goes to battle with Armenian knockout artist Harut Grigorian in the co-main event. Both fighters are riding a two-fight winning streak heading into this important rematch in the deep GLORY welterweight division. In the first meeting, Groenhart came back from adversity to stop Grigorian late in the third round.
In the night’s lightweight contender tournament, surging Dane Niclas Larsen looks to push closer to a title shot. First, he will have to get past undefeated Bulgarian Stoyan Koprivlenski in one side of the four-man, one-night tournament bracket. In the other tournament semifinal, former top-10 lightweight Anatoly Moiseev looks to shake off his recent setbacks against Angola’s Christian Baya, who upset top GLORY lightweight Josh Jauncey in his debut.
Elsewhere on the event, top-10 welterweight Yohan Lidon makes his much-anticipated GLORY debut against the aforementioned Kongolo in the evening’s SuperFight Series headliner. Former GLORY featherweight titleholder Serhiy Adamchuk looks to regain his place as a contender in the featherweight division when he takes on top-10 lightweight Dylan Salvador, who is dropping to his natural weight class. Top-10 lightweight Marat Grigorian would like to add another highlight-reel knockout when he takes on Spanish slugger Antonio Gomez. Former top-10 light heavyweight Zinedine Hamuer-Lain clashes with fellow Frenchman Freddy Kemayo.
The GLORY 42 SuperFight Series airs at 12:30 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass. The main card airs live at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN 2 and ESPN 3, SFR Sport 5 (Europe and Africa), Esporte (Brazil), Fox Sports Africa, Fight Network (Canada), OSN Sports (Middle East), and Sky (New Zealand).
Cédric Doumbé defends his GLORY welterweight title for the second time in six months, this time against the man he took the belt from, Nieky Holzken. Can Holzken regain the form that led to his reign as the champion for four years, or does Doumbé leave no doubt that he is the best welterweight in the world?
Doumbé has taken his game to the next level. For years, he was considered a top prospect on the rise on the French striking scene. Doumbé faced early career setbacks on his way to the GLORY ring, but as time has unfolded, the Frenchman has continued to get better with each and every fight.
Doumbé made his GLORY debut on short notice against Yoann Kongolo at GLORY 22 in 2015. Despite losing the closely contested bout, Doumbé impressed the kickboxing world. He has won 16 of his 17 subsequent fights, with his only loss coming against top-10 middleweight Fang Bian in what would turn out to be one of the worst decisions of the year. Despite the setback, Doumbé easily earned Combat Press Fighter of the Year honors with 12 victories in 2016. None of those wins was bigger than his performance over the long-reigning champ Holzken at the biggest event of the year.
Holzken is familiar with long winning streaks as well. Before the title defeat to Doumbé, he reeled off 22 straight wins between his kickboxing and boxing careers. Holzken topped Karim Ghajji, Joseph Valtellini, Murthel Groenhart, Alexander Stetsurenko, Raymond Daniels and the aforementioned Kongolo during his four-year undefeated reign. The untouchable aura started to slip away when Holzken was met with strong resistance from Murthel Groenhart at GLORY 26. Holzken showed some inconsistencies throughout the entirety of the fight. He was again pushed by Kongolo and Groenhart in his next two title defenses, but the Dutch champion reigned supreme. Holzken showed some of these same flaws when he fought Doumbé at GLORY: Collision.
Doumbé showcased his speed, head movement, and overall defensive brilliance in his first defense of the title in March. He was able to frustrate Kongolo throughout the bout with slick movement and counters on the way to a decision nod. Doumbé will look to employ the same game plan he previously used to defeat Holzken, along with a few tricks he’s learned over the past few months. He will seek to stay on the outside and chip away at the former champion.
Holzken, on the other hand, will look to get inside, push Doumbé against the ropes and try to cut off his escape routes. The right recipe for success from Holzken could utilize a heavy amount of low leg kicks. If he were to batter the legs early, the work will pay dividends in the later rounds when Doumbé’s output typically slows. Holzken has more five-round experience, however. His inconsistency from round to round will be a big problem if he starts giving up rounds early to Doumbé.
Ultimately, these are currently the top two welterweights in the world. All it takes is a few slight adjustments from Holzken and we could have a new welterweight king. However, Doumbé is set to prove his place at the top of the rankings with another close victory over the legend.
GLORY 42 showcases some of the best fighters in the welterweight division. Besides the marquee match-up, the event features three top-10 welterweights and another just outside the rankings. Which fighters leave Paris with a victory, and who earns the next shot at the welterweight title?
Murthel Groenhart has been near the top of the GLORY welterweight division since he earned his first shot at the title with back-to-back wins over Nicola Gallo and current Bellator champion Karim Ghajji at GLORY 25 in late 2015. After losing his welterweight debut against Chad Sugden at GLORY 23, Groenhart cemented his place as one of the five best welterweights in the world with wins over Yoann Kongolo, Jonatan Oliveira and Karim Benmansour. The Mike’s Gym product has only faltered against the elite in the division — Nieky Holzken, Cédric Doumbé, and Artur Kyshenko. His first title challenge and second fight with Holzken was a battle which could have gone either way after five rounds of back-and-forth action. Groenhart fell short in his second attempt to win the title in his third meeting with Holzken at GLORY 34 in Denver. The 30-year-old is already back in the title picture after wins over Thongchai Sitsongpeenong and Alan Scheinson in the past four months.
Groenhart would benefit the most from Doumbé defending the belt in the main event. He lost to Doumbé at GLORY 28, but it is far more likely he gets the next shot if it comes against the Frenchman, instead of with Holzken, whom he has met on three previous occasions. Groenhart didn’t want to wait around to find out if he would get the next shot, so the promotion re-booked the previously scheduled match-up between Groenhart and top contender Harut Grigorian for this fight card following the bout’s cancellation at GLORY 41 due to a toe injury sustained by Grigorian. With a win, Groenhart has the best argument to earn the next shot at the title. However, Grigorian offers a stiff challenge in the interim. The 28-year-old Armenian has won 12 of his past 13 fights. Grigorian has a strong resume that includes wins over Tayfun Ozcan, Maximo Suarez, Nordin Ben Moh and Danijel Solaja. The first meeting between Groenhart and Grigorian was a wild affair where Groenhart fought through adversity and scored a third-round knockout victory.
If Grigorian, who has four wins inside the promotion in the past 14 months, takes the rematch, then he has a case for the next shot at the title with. A win for Grigorian could also potentially open the door for the debuting Yohan Lidon and former two-time challenger Kongolo.
Lidon, 34, was one of the best welterweights outside of the promotion for a long, long time. The current WKN super middleweight titleholder has career victories over top kickboxers Ghajji, Marat Grigorian, Doumbé, Diogo Calado and Karapet Karapetyan. He also has wins over former Rajadamnern stadium champions Diesellek Rungruangyon, Lamsongkram Chuwattana, Kongjak Sor Tuantong, Big Ben Chor Praram 6, Bernueng TopKingBoxing, and Lumpinee stadium champ Naruepol Fairtex. Lidon has won 12 of his past 13 fights. His only loss came against top-10 welterweight Alim Nabiev. The popular Frenchman’s resume speaks for itself.
Kongolo makes his return to GLORY after an underwhelming performance against Doumbé in his most recent outing. The Swiss kickboxer defeated Russia’s Konstantin Khuzin and France’s Benmansour at GLORY 37 to earn his bid at the belt. Following two unsuccessful shots at the title, Kongolo is in a similar spot to Groenhart. However, he still holds two wins over the current champion despite falling to him in his last outing.
In a three-round fight, Kongolo offers more danger to Lidon than many of Lidon’s recent opponents. Lidon has competed in both kickboxing and Muay Thai rules, as well as competing in many five-round affairs over the past few years. Lidon will have to adjust to a more restricted rule set and less time on the clock to work. A loss won’t stifle Lidon’s chances at a future shot at the title. However, a loss will certainly be a major setback.
The odds-on favorite to get the next shot at the title is Groenhart. However, Grigorian is a dangerous opponent with all of the tools to unseat the top contender. Grigorian is an aggressive pressure fighter with a knack for heavy hooks in the pocket. Groenhart is an athletic striker who has recently overcome some of the past inconsistencies that led to prior losses. Grigorian is likely going to set the pace early. The big question is whether Groenhart can recover from the early onslaught and take the fight late. If Groenhart can’t match Grigorian’s pace, then he could potentially lose two of the three rounds and subsequently the next shot at the belt.
Don’t rule out the upset, but Groenhart seems to be the most motivated he has been in his entire career.
The contender tournament features four intriguing lightweights, including Denmark’s Niclas Larsen, Russia’s Anatoly Moiseev, Bulgaria’s Stoyan Koprivlenski, and Angola’s Christian Baya. Which fighter comes out on top and moves closer to a shot at the title?
In the night’s first contender tournament semifinal bout, the rising prospect Baya returns to the GLORY ring against former top-10 lightweight Moiseev. The 28-year-old Moiseev shocked the kickboxing faithful when he topped former top-10 kickboxer Josh Jauncey at GLORY 31. The top prospect had already earned wins over Serginio Kanters, Jonay Risco, Cristian Milea and Itay Gershon prior to the Jauncey fight. However, the win over Jauncey was the extra push the Russian needed to earn his place in the GLORY 36 lightweight contender tournament. The semifinal bout didn’t go according to plan, though. He was defeated by the skilled French southpaw Dylan Salvador, who went on to capture the tournament crown later that evening. Moiseev’s fortunes wouldn’t turn around in his next outing, where he was knocked out with a head kick by unheralded French fighter Mohamed Diaby in a Sanda Rules tournament in China. While Diaby is relatively unknown outside the hardcore fan base, he is a far more experienced fighter than Moiseev and has more than 100 career wins.
Baya’s momentum is headed in the opposite direction. He has victories in his past three outings. After 2016 setbacks to top fighters Chingiz Allazov and Ben Hodge, Baya racked up two straight wins before making his GLORY debut against the aforementioned Jauncey at GLORY 35. The Dutch-Angolan prospect took it to Jauncey after stunning him with a counter right hook in the second round. Baya kept the pressure on Jauncey and eventually put him down with a left hook. Baya’s impressive GLORY debut wasn’t without challenge, however. Jauncey landed plenty of his own effective strikes throughout the three-round fight. Baya took the majority decision and made it known he was a contender just one fight into his GLORY career.
In the other tournament semifinal, Niclas Larsen hopes to continue his incredible comeback story against relative unknown Stoyan Koprivlenski.
Larsen battled a nasty staph infection on his foot that put him out of competition for over two years. With a knockout win over Steve Moxon and a hard fought loss to former GLORY champion Andy Ristie, the Dane looked impressive before the injury. However, there were plenty of questions about how the injury affected Larsen’s career trajectory when he made his return at GLORY 38 earlier this year. Larsen defeated Łukasz Pławecki to continue his winning ways after the 34-month layoff. Larsen looked impressive with a decision victory over Yodkhupon Sitmonchai at GLORY 40 in April.
Larsen’s opponent, Koprivlenski, makes his return to GLORY following a win in his debut on the undercard of GLORY 41. The Mike’s Gym product is filling in for his fellow gym member and former top-10 featherweight Massaro Glunder, who was pulled from the bout following a third-round submission loss to two-time K-1 MAX champion Andy Souwer at World Fighting League 6 just two weeks ago. The undefeated Bulgarian prospect has seven wins in his young career, including three by way of knockout.
The first semifinal match-up between Baya and Moiseev is going to be a battle of wills. Baya should keep the fight on the outside, where he can utilize his 76-inch reach. Moiseev is best served to switch up his attack and force Baya to throw more than he needs. If Moiseev can make Baya work more than he wants, then the Russian can likely take over in the later rounds of the fight.
Larsen is the strong favorite in the second semifinal, but Koprivlenski has yet to taste defeat. However, taking a fight on short notice against a much more experienced and gritty veteran like Larsen is usually a recipe for disaster. While it’s difficult to predict an outcome, it’s likely Baya edges Moiseev with his work on the outside.
Larsen will be the fresher fighter heading into the final against Baya. Larsen will look to make Baya work, which could open an opportunity for a finish late in the contest. However he gets the win, Larsen takes the tournament and moves into position to challenge current GLORY lightweight champion Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong.
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