Glory 12 is in the books after another great night of fights. The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City played host to the Glory Lightweight tournament on Saturday night (Nov. 23, 2013) with a card that aired live on Spike TV.
In keeping with the theme of "the year of upsets", the night featured one of the most surprising results in kickboxing history as Andy Ristie knocked Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin Van Roosmalen on his way to winning the tournament and $150k check.
The upsets didn't stop there either.
Andy Ristie lives his own Cinderella story ...
If you follow kickboxing closely, you knew Andy Ristie as one of the best fighters in the world to never hold a title. His involvement in the Glory 12 tournament was to round out a field that was supposed to lead to a finals between Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin Van Roosmalen.
Ristie didn't get the memo that he was only there to make Petrosyan look good because he stunned everyone when he landed a knockout blow (gif here). Petrosyan looked shocked that he was dropped as the referee administered the 10 count.
But that wasn't the end for Ristie. His bout with Van Roosmalen ended in just as spectacular fashion (gif here). Two fights, two knockouts. Andy Ristie officially let the kickboxing world that he is here to stay.
The king is dead! Long live the king!
Giorgio Petrosyan entered the Theater at Madison Square Garden as the best lightweight kick boxer on the planet. For years, he's dominated the sport, winning the 2009 and 2010 K-1 MAX Grand Prix tournaments. Needless to say, he was the favorite to win the Glory Lightweight tournament.
That didn't happen.
Petrosyan just never looked comfortable in ring with Andy Ristie. He had difficulty finding his range and wasn't throwing the combinations that fans have come to expect of him. While the bout was close, it wasn't the dominant performance from "the Doctor" people tuned in for.
Petrosyan's biggest enemy have always been his brittle hands. The loss to Ristie may mean that his time at the top of the sport is over.
Great night for American kickboxing.
Joe Schilling's upset of Artem Levin at the Glory 10 Middleweight tournament was one of the best stories in combat sports this year. Levin was widely considered to be one of the most technical kick boxers on the planet and it seemed all but certain that he'd defeat Schilling.
Glory hoped that Schilling's win would spark a new interest in the United States as American fans have never had a fighter they could relate to.
Schilling's celebrity was short lived as he was thoroughly dominated by New York-native, Wayne Barrett, for three rounds. Barrett dropped Schilling in the first and two more times in the second. It was without a doubt the best fight of the night.
While there wasn't a title on the line, the bout showed that the United States is quickly catching up with the the rest of the world.
Glory proves that kickboxing can work in America ...
Before the fights, I wondered if there was room in the American combat sports scene for kickboxing. The reasoning was simple as previous attempts to capture the American audience have failed miserably. Now with two straight exciting events on Spike TV, it appears that fans are ready to give the sport a shot.
While the ratings won't be released for a few days, Glory accomplished one of the most difficult things by convincing mixed martial arts (MMA) fans to tune in and watch its product.
Be sure to check out the Glory 12 results and play-by-play here.