GLORY's No. 1-ranked middleweight, Joe Schilling, is well versed when it comes to one-night tournaments. He holds a combined 4-1 record in two GLORY tournaments.
"Stitch 'em up" defeated Kengo Shimizu and and Artem Levin in the four-man tournament at GLORY 10 back in September 2013. The final against Levin went into an extension round and was an all-time classic battle.
At GLORY: "Last Man Standing," there were eight men vying for the middleweight title. Schilling went to an extension round in the quarterfinals before knocking out old rival Simon Marcus. In the semifinal, he defeated Wayne Barrett by decision before losing a decision to the tournament winner and current GLORY middleweight champion, Artem Levin.
Schilling will be fighting in the Bellator cage next against Rafael Carvalho at Bellator 136 next Friday, so MMAmania.com asked the two-sport athlete to give his thoughts on the four men competing at GLORY for a chance to face Levin for the middleweight strap at GLORY 21 in San Diego on May 8, 2015.
Who wins it?
"I think Alex Pereira is the guy to win that tournament," Schilling said.
Alex Pereira vs. Jason Wilnis
"Whoever wins the fight between Pereira and Wilnis is the guy that wins the tournament and I think whoever that is falls short against Levin in San Diego. That's the fight that is going to decide the winner of the tournament. I think that both Pereira or Wilnis can beat the winner of Wayne and Simon, for sure.
It's also interesting because Wilnis and Pereira had fought for the It's Showtime title in Holland and Wilnis beat Pereira. But, I think that Pereira has really evolved since then. Pereira is just a really hard guy to train for. He is 6' 3" or 6' 4" and he has like a 6' 8" wing span. He's got really good boxing. Really long arms. He's kind of a wild card.
"He'll throw a spinning heel kick out of nowhere. He'll throw the jump knee. He always comes in great shape. I was really impressed with his performance in the four-man tournament in Croatia last year. I think he is the guy to win the tournament. I think that he is going to have a really good night that night. I believe that Pereira is the better guy with the better skill set."
Simon Marcus vs. Wayne Barrett
"I think the really intriguing fight is the Simon vs. Wayne fight. It's kind of a do-or-die fight for both of them and I think it's a terrible match up for both of them. Each one of their strengths is the other guy's weakness and I think that's going to be a really important fight for both of them for the middleweight rankings.
"Simon put on a fantastic fight -- I think it was fight of the year against me in the 'Last Man Standing' tournament. He has a very traditional Muay Thai style. His pressure and his clinch are his best weapons. His pressure was definitely an issue for me in the 'Last Man Standing' tournament. Where I see this being a bad match up for Simon is more so than anything because of Simon's mentality.
"I've been knocked out cold in the past and I took a year off and I let my brain and my body recover the best I could because I want longevity in the sport. Manny Pacquiao, when he was knocked out, face planted by Marquez, Freddy Roach forced him to take a year off to let his brain recover and we've seen since then his chin is solid and good.
"Simon Marcus, for whatever reason, maybe, I know he has family and bills to take care of... He didn't choose to take time off after I knocked him out. He went back over to China and fought again. It showed that his chin is not what it used to be. Getting knocked out twice in a row in a short period of time is not a smart decision and I feel like his chin is going to be in question and that is going to cause his confidence to be in question. I think against a guy that hits as hard as Wayne Barrett it's a dangerous match up.
"At the same time, Wayne's fight with Jason Wilnis really showed that Wayne has trouble with pressure and people putting pressure on him and guys just don't go away. Wayne being extremely confident of himself and the skills he believes he having back-to-back losses is going to affect him also. So, it's going to be really interesting to see who's game plan pays off. If Wayne can catch Simon on the chin. Or if Simon can run him over with pressure, so to speak.
"It's definitely do-or-die for both of them. Whoever loses this loses three fights in a row and that's not good and it's not good for North American kickboxing. It's an important fight for both those guys. That's the level of GLORY and the type of fights that Spike puts on. They are very important, very high level fights. You are going over to Dubai and fighting in a tournament to determine who is the guy who deserves the shot at the world title. It's a pressure cooker for both of them and it's what high-level kickboxing is all about."
Filip Verlinden (No. 2-ranked GLORY middleweight)
"I think the guy that should be in the tournament, but he's not, is Filip Verlinden. I think if he was in the tournament that Filip Verlinden would win the tournament against all of them."
No. 1 and No. 2 not in tournament
"I obviously wasn't available, I have obligations with Bellator that are really important to me, so I wasn't available to be in that tournament. Verlinden, I'm not sure what his deal is, but it's kind of odd to me to see a four-man contender tournament where the number one and two contenders aren't in it."
Happy to be watching one for a change
"I've been in two tournaments. I love tournaments and it's a huge challenge and those are the kinds of fights I get excited for. Some of the best performances of my career have been in tournaments. It used to be you fought in a tournament for a big giant check and now you fight in a tournament for a title shot and I feel like I've already earned my title shot. I'm really happy to watch this four-man middleweight tournament. I'm not terrible disappointed to not be in it."
For full GLORY 20 results and play-by-play click here.