"It's time for Glory!"
Glory Kickboxing will invade New York, N.Y., for the second time this year on Nov. 23, 2013, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, airing live on Spike TV. This time four of the promotions top-ranked Lightweight kickboxers will compete in a one-night tournament championship and subsequent $150,000 in prize money.
The organization's most recent card and first foray onto Spike TV was Glory 11. The Heavyweight tournament that night was filled with action, with under dog Rico Verhoeven defying the odds to defeat both Daniel Ghita and Gokhan Saki to win it all. Four out of the six televised fights ended via knockout, truly living up to the heavily pushed catchphrase, "the highest knockout ratio in combat sports."
Glory will look to build upon its ratings from the inaugural show on Spike TV, with a Glory 12 main event that will see Americans Joe Schilling -- who recently won the Glory 10 Middleweight tournament -- and Wayne Barret collide. While the main event is a promising match up, the focus will be on the one-night, lightweight tournament. That, as Glory CEO Andrew Whitaker says, is what differentiates Glory from other combat sports promotions.
"It's really the gauntlet the top Glory guys have to go through to be legitimately crowned," he told MMAmania when the Spike TV deal was signed (read full story here).
In any event, let's meet the Lightweight tournament participants:
Giorgio Petrosyan: 78-1-1 (5-0 Glory)
Last fight: Defeated Hafid El Boustati by decision at Glory 7
Glory 12 semifinal matchup: vs. Andy Ristie
Currently the No. 2-ranked Lightweight in Glory, "The Doctor" as he is known because of his technical precision, will face Surinamese standout Andy Ristie in the semifinal round. The Armenian-Italian fighter is no stranger to tournaments, winning the Glory 3 Lightweight slam in Rome and both the 2009 and 2010 K-1 World Max championships.
Andy Ristie: 39-3-1 (Glory 4-0)
Last fight: Niclas Larsen by decision at Glory 10
Glory 12 semifinal match up: vs. Giorgio Petrosyan
Nicknamed "The Machine" the No. 4-ranked Glory Lightweight is known for his flamboyant style and desire to attack the body of his opponents. The Surinamese fighter has fought his previous four fights at Middleweight and will now drop down to for the Glory 12 tournament.
Robin Van Roosmalen: 30-5-0 (Glory 6-1)
Last fight: Defeated Shemsi Bequiri by decision at Glory 10
Glory 12 semifinal match up: vs. Davit Kiria
The Dutch Lightweight's only loss in Glory was to Petrosyan back at Glory 3 in the tournament final. The No. 1-ranked Glory Lightweight showcased his power and willingness to stand and trade in his last match up versus tournament reserve Shemsi Beqiri at Glory 10. The match up against Kiria is a rematch from their 2009 encounter at United Glory 13 that Van Roosmalen won by decision.
Davit Kiria: 21-8-0 (4-2-0 Glory)
Last fight: Defeated Murthel Groenhart by decision at Glory 10
Glory 12 semifinal match up: vs. Robin Van Roosmalen
The native Georgian has a background in Ashihara karate and will showcase unorthodox and unpredictable techniques at any time during a fight. He is currently the No. 3-ranked Lightweight in Glory. Kiria advanced to the semifinals of the Glory 3 Lightweight tournament defeating Shemsi Beqiri before losing to Petrosyan in the semifinals.
Since there is a higher chance of injury with fighters fighting more than once on one fight card, a tournament reserve bout is always added to every fight card.
"Being a Glory kickboxer is not something for an athlete that is faint of heart, Whitaker stated. "Like any other sport, injuries happen and we need to be prepared and they need to prepare for that eventuality."
Here are the two tournament reservists:
Shemsi Bequiri: 72-9-0 (1-2-0)
Last fight: Lost to Robin Van Roosemalen at Glory 10
Glory 12 tournament reserve match up: vs. Ky Hollenbeck
The Swiss fighter is ranked No. 5 in the Glory Lightweight rankings. He has faced two out of the four tournament fighters, losing to both Kiria and Van Roosemalen. The latter was a action-packed, back-and-forth battle that went the distance with some feeling Bequiri should've won the decision.
Ky Hollenbeck: 45-3-0 (2-1-0)
Last fight: Defeated Albert Kraus by decision at Glory 10
Glory 12 tournament reserve match up: vs. Shemis Bequiri
Ranked No. 8 in the Glory Lightweight rankings, the American Muay Thai practicioner is looking to ride the momentum of his upset victory over Kraus at Glory 10. Hollenbeck is one of the American fighters to keep an eye on as Glory looks to build an American audience for kickboxing.
One can assume that the final match up will be a rematch between Roosmalen and Petrosyan, but that's the reason Glory tournaments are exciting -- you must expect the unexpected. The thrill of a knockout, the shock of an upset and the opportunity from an injury are all there.
The narrative can change in a blink of an eye.