Robin van Roosmalen successfully defended his lightweight title for the first time at GLORY 20 in Dubai this past Friday (April 3, 2015), and simultaneously avenged one of his biggest defeats.
The Dutch lightweight poured it on in the championship rounds to defeat Andy Ristie by unanimous decision, 49-44 on all three judge's scorecards to retain his GLORY lightweight title.
"I kept the title and I got my revenge. What more can you ask for?" said van Roosmalen at the post-fight press conference, referring to his knockout loss to Ristie in the GLORY 12 tournament final in 2013.
The GLORY 20 main event started off in a strange manner as ISKA President Cory Schafer, who oversees the officiating for all GLORY events, had Ristie change gloves because there was a noticeable tear near the thumb on his right glove. The crowd was quite, Spike didn't cut to commercial and you could actually hear the athletic tape as they wrapped it around the new pair of gloves.
Once the fight began, Ristie dictated the pace early and was not allowing van Roosmalen to get inside his range. The Surinamese fighter had found the mark for a few left hooks to the body of "RvR," and several push kicks kept the champion at bay also.
After that first round, the champion began to find ways to get inside his range and started to connect. Risite would land inside and outside low kicks, but "RvR" would continue to get inside and land on some punches.
The tide had shifted in the fourth round as Ristie stopped doing what was successful for him and he started to stand in front of the champion, who was more than willing to fight in a phone booth. van Roosmalen connected with a huge left hook that had Ristie wobbling in place. The champion followed that up with two right hands and then another big left that sent Ristie crashing to the canvas with about 25 seconds left in the round.
From there on out, Ristie was in survival mode until the final bell.
"Like I said before, I am a true championship fighter," he said. "I can fight five rounds at a high pace. [Andy] Ristie is a three-round fighter; that's what the difference is. He is a tough opponent and he hit some good shots but he never put me in trouble."
With the victory over Ristie, van Roosmalen improves to 45-14-2 and 10-2 in GLORY, which is one of the best records in the entire promotion.
Now that he avenged the loss to Ristie, "Pokerface" has one more fighter on his list that he wants a piece of.
"[Andy] Ristie and [Giorgio] Petrosyan are the only two guys I lost to in GLORY," he said. "Tonight I got my revenge on Ristie, so yeah, let's have Petrosyan next. I want to settle the score there as well."
For full GLORY 20 results and play-by-play click here.