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GLORY 31 preview and predictions for 'Robin van Roosmalen vs Sittichai Sitsongpeenong' on ESPN 3

GLORY Sports International

GLORY kickboxing is back in Europe this Saturday (June 25, 2016) for GLORY 31 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The five-fight main card takes at RAI Amsterdam and will air live on ESPN 3 at 4 p.m. ET. The main event features a rematch for the lightweight title between current champion, Robin van Roosmalen (35-6) and Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (108-29-5).

Van Roosmalen defeated Sitsongpeenong back at GLORY 25 last November in a highly controversial battle that had fans and media scratching their heads, as the former Lumpinee Stadium champion from Thailand had appeared to win the fight. van Roosmalen received a 48-47 scorecard by all three judges.

The No.1-ranked contender has won seven straight fights since that loss, including the GLORY 28 four-man "Contender" tournament, where he bested Marat Grigorian and Davit Kiria to earn a second shot at the lightweight strap.

This is the champion's first fight since the last encounter with Sitsongpeenong at GLORY 25.

In the co-main event, Ismael Londt (38-6-1) will take on Hedsy Gerges (49-15) in a heavyweight contest. Londt defeated Anderson Silva and Jahfarr Wilnis to win the GLORY 28 "Contender" tournament in his debut with the promotion. Gerges returns after a lengthy suspension, which stemmed from legal troubles. However, the charges against Gerges were recently annulled and he was reinstated by GLORY. HIs last fight inside the promotion was a decision loss to Benjamin Adegbuyi. He compiled a 4-1 record outside of GLORY.

In addition to those two matchups, GLORY 31 will feature a one-night, four-man tournament in the welterweight division. In the semi-final matchups, Murthel Groenhart (60-20-3) will face GLORY newcomer Karim Benmansour (46-5) and Yoann Kongolo (61-7) will battle Harut Grigorian (42-5).

Let's take a closer look at the matchups

Robin van Roosmalen (35-6) vs. Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (108-29-5)

Prior to GLORY 25, I picked Sittichai to finish RvR to win the title. While I was wrong in that assumption, the No.1-ranked GLORY lightweight surely looked to be the better fighter over 15 minutes despite the judges unanimous 48-47 score for van Roosmalen. This fight will likely be another battle that leads to the judges. Sittichai is a lethal and accurate striker. His left round kick is as good a strike as you will see in the sport. The former Lumpinee Stadium champion is also a very technical and accurate puncher, and always poses a ton of problems for his opponents. van Roosmalen has been one of the best in the game for a long time too. The Dutch champion can crack with the best of them and is never afraid to mix it up. If you give him an opening, he will make you pay. He also has a knack for doing enough to get the nod from the judges in close fights, winning his last four fights by decision, one a split, another a majority. I think the fact that Sittichai has been active since their last encounter will be a big factor in the rematch. Sittichai lands more over five rounds, but RvR will have a few moments to make it interesting. If it goes to the judges, it's anybody's guess and never a guarantee. I'll pick based under the assumption there will be competency among the officials.

Pick: Sittichai by unanimous decision

Ismael Londt (38-6-1) vs. Hedsy Gerges (49-15)

Both are veteran heavyweights with plenty of experience, so this fight could be a real fun one to watch. Londt will likely push the action to start and be aggressive. Gerges will defend with his high guard and look for openings. Both can throw with power, and although a KO is always a possibility in a heavyweight clash, I think this one goes three rounds. I'll side with Londt in a close one.

Pick: Londt by unanimous decision

Semi-final: Yoann Kongolo (61-7) vs. Harut Grigorian (42-5)

This could end up being the fight of the night. Both Kongolo and Grigorian like to put their feet into the fire when they fight, so expect some fireworks. Kongolo gave the current champion, Holzken a really good challenge at GLORY 29, but dropped a unanimous decision. The Swiss fighter is well-rounded, can switch stances and has some excellent and creative offensive attacks. Grigorian likes to come forward and through, and loves to sneak in knee strikes while his opponents cover up with their guard. You may see more than one knockdown in this three-round fight, maybe even an extra round. I'll side with Kongolo in a super close fight.

Pick: Kongolo by split decision in bonus round

Murthel Groenhart (60-20-3) vs. Karim Benmansour (42-5)

Groehart has power, nasty jumping knee attacks, and plenty of experience in big fights. Like Kongolo, he also gave Holzken a tough challenge, dropping a razor-close split decision at GLORY 26. He did not fare well in his last GLORY fight, dropping a unanimous decision to Cedric Doumbe in a poor performance. Benmansour is a tough out, and like the other bracket, this fight could be an exciting battle as well. The Frenchman will have no issue obliging Groenhart in the pocket and swinging away. This could be a close one, but I'll side with Groenhart here.

Pick: Groenhart by unanimous decision

Final: Kongolo vs. Groenhart

Both have losses to Holzken, although Kongolo didn't have to go through a tournament last time to get his shot like Groenhart. He will this time though. I'll take the Swiss veteran over the Dutchman. He'll outland Groenhart over three rounds to earn another shot at Holzken's welterweight crown.

Pick: Kongolo by unanimous decison

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