GLORY kickboxing returns to action this Friday night (April 3, 2015) with its second card of 2015 via tape delay on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET from inside the Dubai Trade Center in Dubai, UAE. GLORY's last trip abroad was GLORY 15 in Istanbul last April.
Two titles will be up for grabs tomorrow night: Robin van Roosmalen will defend his lightweight title against Andy "The Machine" Ristie and Gabriel Varga and Mosab Amrani will battle for the first GLORY featherweight title, the promotion's last vacant championship.
As per usual, a one-night contender tournament will be taking place. This time it will be four fighters from the middleweight division vying for a chance to win the Ramon Dekkers memorial trophy, and face GLORY's reigning division champion, Artem Levin, at GLORY 21 in San Diego on May 8, 2015.
This is the first GLORY middleweight tournament since GLORY: "Last Man Standing." Let's take a look at who will be participating tomorrow in Dubai.
But, before you do that, check out our GLORY 20 predictions contest for a chance to win a bag full of GLORY gear (contest info here).
Record: 40-2-1 (0-1 GLORY) 24 KO
Last Fight: Lost via 2nd RD TKO loss to Fang Bian at WLF World Championship (China)
Last Tournament: Last Man Standing (Lost in quarterfinal round to Joe Schilling)
GLORY 20 semifinal matchup: vs. Wayne Barrett
Marcus lost for the first time in his career at GLORY: "Last Man Standing" to Joe Schilling in an absolute classic. The fight went to a fourth and deciding round in the quarterfinals of the eight-man tournament and the Canadian was knocked out by a right hook. Since that loss, Marcus has fought twice in China: winning a decision over Dmirtri Valent at Kunlun 12 in October and losing badly by TKO to Fang Bian at WLF in January, where he would get knocked down four times in the fight.
Marcus has struggled without the use of a clinch, something the Muay Thai practitioner used exceeding well throughout his career. On top of that, it seems he hasn't given himself proper time to fully heal. Not only from the Schilling KO last June, but the TKO loss to Bian, which took place only two months ago.
That being said, the No. 4-ranked GLORY middleweight is still one of the very best, but he is going to have his hands full with Wayne Barrett, who has outstanding power to go along with his unorthodox movement. Marcus can't afford to lose two in a row in GLORY.
Record: 5-2 (4-2 GLORY) 4 KO
Last Fight: Loss via unanimous decision to Jason Wilnis at GLORY 18
Last Tournament: Last Man Standing (lost in semifinal round to Joe Schilling)
GLORY 20 semifinal matchup: vs. Simon Marcus
Barrett took the kickboxing world by storm when he upset Joe Schilling in New York at GLORY 12. The Queens resident carried that momentum in the "Last Man Standing" tournament and after blasting Bogdan Stoica with a huge left hook to advance to the semifinals, he lost a hard fought and somewhat controversial decision in a rematch with Schilling.
GLORY 20 will be Barrett's second tournament appearance for GLORY.
At GLORY 18 in Oklahoma, Barrett performed badly and lost a one-sided decision to Jason Wilnis. That slice of humble pie should have Barrett motivated and raring to go come April 3. The word out of his camp is that he has been like a man possessed.The No. 5-ranked GLORY middleweight is very much in a pressure cooker of a fight against Marcus. A third loss in a row would be a huge set back for his standing in the middleweight division. Barrett's style of movement, boxing and power could give Marcus some problems. Conversely, the Canadian could present some as well if he is able to apply pressure like Wilnis did at GLORY 18.
No way around it, it's a must win for Barrett.
Record: 23-4-1 (2-2 GLORY) 12 KO
Last fight: Won via unanimous decision over Wayne Barrett at GLORY 18
Last Tournament: GLORY 14 (lost in semifinal round to Sahak Parparyan)
GLORY 20 semifinal matchup: Alex Pereira
The Dutchman jumped up the rankings after his dominant performance over Wayne Barrett at GLORY 18 and he now finds himself at the No. 3 spot. Wilnis looked fantastic in his last outing, applying pressure early on Barrett and knocking him down with a straight right in the first and then a pair of left hooks in the second.
The 23-year-old faces Alex Pereira at GLORY 20 in a rematch from a 2012 fight in the now defunct "It's Showtime" promotion, where he won by TKO after dropping "Po Atan" three times in the second round. Both fighters have evolved since that fight and Pereira GLORY 14 tournament in Zagreb. This will be the third tournament that Wilnis will fight in for GLORY. At GLORY 10 he lost to Artem Levin by unanimous decision in the semifinal round. And at GLORY 14, he failed to make it out of the first round again, dropping a split decision to Sahak Parparyan.
Wilnis is a sound fighter in all areas and has as good a chance as any of the four fighters to walk away with the Ramon Dekkers memorial trophy.
Record: 17-2 (2-1 GLORY) 10 KO
Last Fight: Won via 2nd RD TKO over Ivan Galaz at WGP 24 in Brazil
Last Tournament: Last Man Standing (lost in quarterfinals to Artem Levin)
GLORY 20 semifinal matchup: vs. Jason Wilnis
Pereira was severely outclassed by Artem Levin at GLORY: "Last Man Standing," but he has bounced back with back-to-back victories in the WGP promotion in Brazil. One of those victories was over the No. 9-ranked Robert Thomas. "Po Atan" is currently at the No. 6 spot in the division entering his third GLORY tournament. The Brazilian won the GLORY 14 contender tournament in Zagreb, Croatia by knocking out Dustin Jacoby and besting Sahak Parparyan by decision in the final.
This is as wide open a tournament as you are going to get. The top two middleweights -- Joe Schilling and Filip Verlinden -- aren't in it. I favor the Wilnis-Pereira bracket over the Marcus-Barrett bracket as having the higher chance to win it all. Barrett will score the lone finish of the tournament over Marcus and Pereira will best Wilnis by decision to set up the final. In the end, I see Alex Pereira edging Barrett over three rounds to hoist the Ramon Dekker's trophy and earn his rematch with Artem "The Lion" Levin at GLORY 21.
Barrett defeats Marcus via 2nd RD TKO
Pereira defeats Wilnis via unanimous decision
Final: Pereira defeats Barrett via unanimous decision