The first time Robin van Roosmalen (35-7) and Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (109-29-5) fought, the decision was a controversial one. At GLORY 31, it would be no different, but it would be just a bit more historic.
Sitsongpeenong, 24, defeated van Roosmalen by split decision to win the GLORY Lightweight title and become the first ever Thai champion in the promotion's history.
Two of the judges scored the bout 48-47 for Sitsongpeenong, while the third judge had it 48-47 in favor of van Roosmalen.
"Robin is a very good opponent and a very good fighter, but I feel I did better on the night and I deserve to be the champion," Sitsongpeenong told Todd Grisham after the bout..
The fight was as close as the first one was at times, but a touch more aggressive than their encounter at GLORY 25, which van Roosmalen won via unanimous decision amidst much skepticism. Sitsongpeenong was able to find a home for his trademark left round kick to the body, and at times he also used an effective uppercut. Van Roosmalen had his moments, too, landing solid low kicks and some well-timed punches, but in the end it was not enough to sway all three of the judges.
In the co-main event of the evening, Ismael Londt (41-7-1) rallied back from a poor start to eke out a split decision win over Hesdy Gerges (49-16). "Mr. Pain" was in serious trouble early on in the fight, but managed to survive a barrage of punches in the first. As the fight wore on he was able to land more offense, most notably some solid right hooks off several clinch breaks. Both fighters were also docked a point each by referee Stefano Valenti for excessive holding.
Two of the judges scored the bout 28-27 in favor of Londt, while the third had it 28-27 for Gerges.
Also, Murthel Groenhart defeated both Yoann Kongolo and Karim Benmansour to win the GLORY 31 Welterweight Contender Tournament, the Ramon Dekkers memorial trophy, and earn a second shot at current champion, Nieky Holzken.
In the tournament final, "The Predator" won a hard-fought battle over Kongolo, earning 28-27 scores from all three judges in what was a highly-contested fight. The difference, though, was Groenhart dropping Kongolo in the second round with one of his trademark flying-knee attacks, giving him the 10-8 round.
"Nieky, I'm back baby!" Groenhart said after the tournament final.
Groenart punched his ticket to the Contender Tournament final in emphatic fashion, defeating Karim Benmansour (46-6-1) by technical knockout in the third round after scoring his third knockdown of the fight. In GLORY tournament rules, three knockdowns and the fight is ruled a TKO.
The official time of the stoppage came at 1:08 of round three.
Kongolo earned his way into the tournament final after defeating Harut Grigorian by split decision. Two of the judges scored the bout in favor of Kongolo with 29-28 and 30-27 cards, while the third judge had it 29-28 for Grigorian.
In the main event of the GLORY 31 Superfight Series, Zack Mwekassa (15-4) struck Mourad Bouzidi (71-24-2) pillar to post, knocking him down three times in the first round to earn a technical knockout victory and win the GLORY interim Light Heavyweight title.
The official time of the stoppage came at 1:47 of the opening round.
For complete GLORY 31 'van Roosmalen vs. Sittichai' results, including play-by-play updates, click here.