On Saturday, March 31, GLORY Kickboxing visits Los Angeles for its 52nd event. The promotion touches down at the Pacific Room at the Long Beach Arena.
In the night’s main event, reigning featherweight champion Robin van Roosmalen will unify the belt against interim titleholder Kevin VanNostrand. The Dutchman van Roosmalen has reeled off four straight wins since dropping down from the lightweight division in 2016. New York’s VanNostrand has picked up five wins in his six GLORY appearances, including a knockout victory over Anvar Boynazarov and a decision nod over Giga Chikadze.
Also on the main card, former middleweight champ Simon Marcus returns to take on Zack Wells and UFC veteran Chris Camozzi makes his second GLORY appearance against veteran Mike Lemaire.
The night’s SuperFight Series card features two current GLORY champions, Pavel Zhuravlev and Anissa Meksen, who compete in non-title bouts against Myron Dennis and Ashley Nichols, respectively.
The GLORY 52 preliminary card will stream live on Pluto TV channel 227 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The GLORY 52 SuperFight Series airs live at 9 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass. The main card streams live at 11 p.m. ET on ESPN3. Additionally, GLORY content can now be found on XUMO.
Robin van Roosmalen has been a fixture of the sport’s pound-for-pound rankings for years, having held GLORY gold in both the featherweight and lightweight divisions. Does Kevin VanNostrand have a chance to unseat him in the promotion’s return to California?
With all due respect to VanNostrand, any outcome of this fight that doesn’t involve van Roosmalen’s hand being raised at the end would be a colossal upset. While VanNostrand has scored some impressive wins in his recent GLORY bouts, including victories over Boynazarov and Chikadze, he is at both a skill and experience disadvantage against the champion. Everything that VanNostrand does well, van Roosmalen does better. VanNostrand counters well — thanks to his karate background — but van Roosmalen is unlikely to give him any space. Van Roosmalen has much better boxing than the American, and his constant forward pressure is a nightmare for most of his opponents.
Then there’s the level of competition these fighters have faced. Prior to his last few bouts, VanNostrand had never met a legitimate test on the regional circuit. His GLORY 27 loss to Chikadze is troubling, even if he has since avenged it. Meanwhile, van Roosmalen’s resume is a who’s who of the sport’s pound-for-pound rankings. “Poker Face” has wins over Artur Kyshenko, Marat Grigorian, Murthel Groenhart and Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong. He’s undefeated since dropping weight classes, too.
To be blunt, the best thing VanNostrand can hope for in this fight is to make it to the scorecards. Judging in combat sports is rarely consistent, so if the American can last five rounds, maybe he’ll catch a break. However, look for van Roosmalen to pressure early and often, putting away VanNostrand before round three.
Pavel Zhuravlev and Anissa Meksen will both compete on the night’s SuperFight Series, but neither will be defending their belt. What should fans expect from the two champions on Saturday night?
Let’s start with Zhuravlev. The Ukrainian has not fought since last July when he defeated Saulo Cavalari for the interim light heavyweight belt. Ultimately, until the promotion pits Zhuravlev against champion Artem Vakhitov, this is nothing more than a stay-busy fight. His opponent, Myron Dennis, has fought twice for GLORY, but came out on the losing end of decisions to Brian Collette on both occasions. The usual MMA combatant is being brought in as a warm body, and Zhuravlev is going to make short work of him.
Meksen, meanwhile, continues her reign as the sport’s top female fighter. The Frenchwoman has been a dominant force in the sport for much of the last five years. She made an impact on GLORY, capturing the promotion’s super bantamweight title against Tiffany van Soest in December. Now, she’ll take on a familiar face in Canada’s Ashley Nichols. The pair met previously in 2014, with Meksen taking a decision victory in Thailand.
Nichols will be looking to snap a skid after falling short against Iman Barlow at Enfusion 51 under kickboxing rules and Sharon Jacobson at Invicta FC 27 in MMA competition. Nichols is tough as nails, and although Meksen has a clear speed advantage, Nichols is not going to back down. This should be a very competitive fight from start to finish. In the end, it will be Meksen’s cleaner technique that earns her a nod on the judges’ scorecards.
This is the first GLORY card since GLORY 7 in 2013 that has not featured a tournament. Should fans expect more of this? Or is this just an anomaly?
No, fans should not expect more of this. It’s purely an anomaly. In fact, the event was expected to feature a middleweight contender tournament with Simon Marcus, Robert Thomas, Yousri Belgaroui and Jason Wilnis. However, Thomas suffered a concussion and the promotion opted to scrap the tournament and move the match-up between Belgaroui and Wilnis to the GLORY 53 SuperFight Series in Lille, France on Saturday, May 12. Marcus remains on the Los Angeles card and takes on Zach Wells in the co-main event.
As for future tournaments? Look no further than the aforementioned GLORY 53 card in France. It has already lined up a featherweight contender tournament featuring Anvar Boynazarov, Zakaria Zouggary, former champion Serhiy Adamchuk and Azize Hlali.
GLORY 52: Main Card
FW Championship: Robin van Roosmalen vs. Kevin VanNostrand
van Roosmalen by knockout
MW: Simon Marcus vs. Zack Wells
Marcus by decision
MW: Mike Lemaire vs. Chris Camozzi
Camozzi by decision
LW: Stoyan Koprivlenski vs. Josh Jauncey
Koprivlenski by decision
GLORY 52: SuperFight Series
LHW: Pavel Zhuravlev vs. Myron Dennis
Zhuravlev by knockout
Catchweight (53 kg): Anissa Meksen vs. Ashley Nichols
Meksen by decision
MW: Paul Banasiak vs. Troy Jones
Jones by decision
FW: Zakaria Zouggary vs. Bailey Sugden
Zouggary by decision
GLORY 52: Preliminary Card
LW: Jermaine Soto vs. Alex Higley
Soto by knockout
WW: Arthur Estrazulas vs. Chris Bonilla
Estrazulas by decision
FlyW: Natalie Morgan vs. Gerrica Trias
Trias by decision
FW: Jose Palacios vs. Sovankesa Som
Palacios by knockout
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