Artem "The Lion" Levin is still the GLORY middleweight champion, but not from a victory.
Levin retained his title after his five-round title fight against Simon "Bad Bwoy" Marcus ended in a majority draw in the main event of GLORY 21 on Friday night (May 8, 2015) live on Spike TV from San Diego, California.
Judge Luis Cobian scored the fight 48-46 in favor of Marcus. Judges Nelson Hamilton and Cecil Peoples scored the fight 47-47.
Marcus was extremely displeased after the decision was rendered, yelling, "bullshit," after being asked about it by Stephen Quadros.
The No. 1-ranked GLORY middleweight and the champion both fought an intense and competitive fight that took place inside the clinch for the majority of the fight. It was fitting since their first encounter occurred in Lion Fight under muay thai rules back in 2013.
After a close first round, Marcus was pushing the pace, while Levin was the one initiating the clinch, despite several warnings from referee Marcos Rosales for stalling. Levin would catch one of Marcus' kicks and sweep him to the canvas, which seemed to light a fire under the Canadian/Jamaican fighter, who surged back with emotion immediately afterward.
Around a minute into the third frame, after more warnings, Rosales halted the action and docked a point from Levin for holding. The tide seemed to be turning in Marcus' favor.
Levin gave a biting response after the fight, thanking the referee for taking a point and telling Quadros it was a "big mistake" by Rosales for doing so, saying he would've won the fight. Levin also appeared to be aggravated. Marcus' cousin--who also serves as one of his cornermen--was cursing and yelling "bloodclaart" (a curse in Jamaican slang) as Levin was about to be interviewed, and the champion said, "shut your mouth." The post-fight moments were all very tense.
In the fourth, Levin began egging Marcus on by tapping his glove on his torso, before throwing a roundhouse and side kick back-to-back. The champion would put his hand behind his back at one point also. In the last twenty seconds of the round, Marcus caught one of Levin's kicks and swept him to the floor, returning the favor from earlier in the fight.
Marcus continued to push forward in the fifth round and there would be more clinching by Levin. Marcus would actually shove Levin coming out of the clinch at one point in frustration. No fighter could fully take control, but Marcus seemed to be landing the more significant strikes. Levin would catch a kick, but could not finish the sweep and Marcus surged forward again, landing a front kick to the face of the champion.
With a minute left in the fight, Marcus yelled out "come on" to Levin, egging the champion on and inviting him to engage.
Marcus initiated the action throughout the fight and with the point deduction given to Levin, it appeared he had done enough to win the GLORY middleweight title. It would've put a cherry on top of his recent resurgence after winning the GLORY 20 tournament when no one was picking him to advance to the final.
The amount of clinching throughout the fight could've made it difficult for the judges to score each round. It was a highly competitive contest, with neither fighter fully taking control or dominating their opponent. A rematch should assuredly be heading our way.
In two career fights against Marcus, Levin is 0-1-1. "The Lion" didn't win tonight, but he walks away with his belt.
For more on GLORY 21, including play-by-play and results, click here.