Artem Vakhitov (17-5) successfully defended his GLORY Light Heavyweight title for the first time at GLORY 35 earlier today (Sat., Nov. 5, 2016) in Nice, France, making the division crown whole again. Vakhitov, 25, knocked down interim champion Zack Mwekassa (14-4) three times in the second round of the main event inside Palais Nikaia to earn the technical knockout (TKO) victory.
After a competitive first round, it looked like we may have had the makings of a potential five-round battle. But, that was not the case. In the second round, the Russian champion landed a big right hand and then dropped the interim title holder with a stiff jab to score the first knockdown of the fight. Mwekassa beat the count, but still appeared to be dazed. After another exchange, Mwekassa swung wildly and missed and fell to the canvas. Referee Paul Nicholls ruled that the second knockdown of the round.
"The Black Warrior" would make it back to his feet once more, but after Vakhitov landed another punch, which didn't appear to have much on it, Mwekassa went down for the third time, throwing a desperate back kick on his way down to the canvas. It appeared as if Mwekassa had never recovered from the initial knockdown.
The official time of the stoppage came at 2:26 of the second round.
In the Light Heavyweight co-main event, Pavel Zhuravlev (70-11) finished off Zinedine Hameur Lain (56-14) decisively in the first round for the technical knockout victory. Zhuravlev rocked Hameur Lain with a huge overhand right, which wobbled him, and after coming in with a flurry of punches, connected on another right hand that sent the Frenchman reeling into the ropes. The ropes broke Hameur Lain's fall, so referee Tobias Gerold stepped in and ruled it a knockdown.
Once the action resumed, Zhuravlev came roaring in with bad intentions and clipped Hameur Lain with another big right hand. The Ukrainian poured it on again, and had Hameur Lain bent over, covering up, and leaning back into the ropes for a second time. Gerold saw enough and stepped in to wave the bout off.
The official time of the stoppage came at 1:58 of round one.
Benjamin Adegbuyi (24-4) won the GLORY 35 Heavyweight "Contender" tournament and the Ramon Dekkers Memorial Trophy by picking up a pair of decision victories over Hesdy Gerges (49-18-1) and Mladen Brestovac (50-12-1).
"Mr. Gentlemen" -- who is currently the No. 2-ranked GLORY Heavyweight -- defeated Brestovac via unanimous decision in the tournament final, earning marks of 30-27 on all five of the judges scorecards. Adegbuyi used a steady diet of low kicks, stayed away from the dangerous high kick of the Croatian, and landed the more significant combinations over the course of the three-round affair to earn the win. The bout was a rematch from their encounter in the GLORY 24 semifinals, which Adegbuyi won via technical knockout.
In the semifinals, Adegbuyi defeated Gerges via unanimous decision. All five judges scored the bout 30-27. Adegbuyi looked sharp and utilized his boxing, landing several nice combinations throughout the contest. The fight was a rematch from their first encounter at GLORY 18, which Adegbuyi also won via unanimous decision.
An interesting note on Adegbuyi: He is now training with Dennis Krauweel, who trains GLORY Heavyweight champion, Rico Verhoeven. And he has also been sparring and working the champion.
"The Scorpion Sting" proved deadly in the other semi-final bout, knocking out Wilnis in the first round after landing a high kick and then following that up with a huge right hand for the knockout victory.
The official time of the stoppage came at 2:06 of the first round.
Wilnis was rendered frozen in space after Brestovac connected with the left high kick, and was floored with a right hand moments later. The Dutch veteran made it back to his feet, but referee Paul Nicholls waved the bout off.
For complete GLORY 35: "Vakhitov vs. Mwekassa" results click here.