Rico Verhoeven may have walked into the GLORY 11 Heavyweight tournament at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., as an underdog this past Saturday night (Oct 12, 2013), but he walked out of it a champion.
The 24-year-old Verhoeven defeated No. 3-ranked kickboxing Heavyweight Daniel Ghita in the finals of the one-night tournament, earning the GLORY Heavyweight championship and a check for $250,000. Both men showed moments of dominance in an action-packed back-and-forth fight, but it was Verhoeven's ability to keep the fight at close range and relentless aggression in the third round that secured him the victory with unanimous scores of 29-28 from all three judges watching at ringside.
Verhoeven advanced to the finals after defeating the heavily-favored, former K-1 tournament champion Gokhan Saki via majority decision in a closely contested opening-round bout.
Meanwhile, Ghita earned his spot in the main event after stopping Anderson Silva -- no not, that Anderson Silva, MMA fans -- at 1:56 of the first round via technical knockout.
In the heavily anticipated co-main event, reigning GLORY Light Heavyweight champion and occasional mixed martial artist Tyrone Spong earned a measure of redemption against Nathan Corbett.
Corbett had finished Spong back in a 2009 fight in Montego Bay, Jamaica, but the bout was controversially ruled a "No Contest" when the Australian fighter apparently misunderstood the referee's decision and moved in to attack his dazed opponent. There was no controversy this time around, as Spong knocked down Corbett just seconds into the second round, only to land a vicious left hook for the technical knockout victory less than one minute later.
Elsewhere on the card, Canadian Joseph Vatellini was successful in Welterweight action, when he landed a headkick on opponent Karim Ghajji and earned himself a third round win by technical knockout.
For complete GLORY 11 results, including play-by-play coverage of the SPIKE TV main card, click here.
GLORY 11 marked the world's leading kickboxing promotion's debut on Spike TV. GLORY returns to the network on Sat., Nov. 23, 2013, for GLORY 12: "New York," live from the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, in New York, New York. GLORY 12 will feature a four-man, one-night Lightweight tournament, as well as a co-main event tilt between Heavweight standouts Ben Edwards and Jamal Ben Saddik.