Photo: James Law/GLORY Sports International

Against all odds, Alex Pereira was able to defend his GLORY middleweight championship despite being two rounds down against Yousri Belgaroui at GLORY 49 SuperFight Series.

Headlining the GLORY Redemption prelims at the Ahoy Rotterdam in The Netherlands, Pereira initially struggled to catch the Mike’s Gym fighter, who used expert head movement to evade the Brazilian.

Belgaroui, 25, was certainly the flashier of the two, throwing a mixture of question mark kicks and spinning attacks, but “Po Atan” eventually started to find his range, wobbling the Dutch-Tunisian.

A big right hand may have sealed the second in his favour had it not have been just after the bell.  

Two rounds down on four of the judges’ scorecards, Pereira kept the pressure on the challenger, buckling Belgaroui with a right hand before landing a vicious knee.

This opened up a huge cut over the right eye of Belgaroui, and the fight was waved off by referee Paul Nicholls following the doctor’s assessment of Belgaroui’s wound. 

Photo: James Law/GLORY Sports International

The official time of the TKO stoppage was 1:52 of round three.

With that unexpected win, Pereira keeps his belt and likely secures a high profile headline fight when GLORY venture to Brazil in 2018, with “Po Atan’s” hometown of Sao Paulo, largely rumoured to be the destination.  

Nieky Holzken past his best at GLORY 49?

Nieky Holzken slumped to his third consecutive defeat in the GLORY 49 SuperFight Series co-main event, with 23-year-old Alim Nabiyev proving too tricky for the former champion. 

Despite Holzken insisting he was better than ever during the build-up, young gun Nabiyev looked a class above at Ahoy Rotterdam, using his unorthodox style to completely throw “The Natural” off balance. 

Nabiyev’s success was based on his quick movement and being able to keep Holzken on the back foot, akin to the unconventional style of Cedric Doumbe which Holzken struggled with in his last two defeats.

Until the third round, Holzen offered nothing of note to counteract the volume striking of the showboating Azerbaijani, but by then it was too late. 

All five ringside officials gave Alim Nabiyev the fight at GLORY 49, with two judges scoring it 29-28, alongside three 30-27 scores. 

Mr. Pain struggles after lengthy layoff at GLORY 49

Ismael Londt returned after a year out due to a bicep tear, but it wasn’t the triumphant homecoming “Mr. Pain” was hoping for, with D’Angelo Marshall spoiling the occasion. 

There was plenty of hype surrounding Marshall heading into the fight, with the oddsmakers even tipping him as the favourite against hard-hitting Londt. 

Colosseum gym’s Marshall started the fight much stronger, with Londt struggling to find his rhythm after a year out.

Marshall used his range to perfection, landing a thumping right high kick in the opener, which “Mr. Pain” retorted with a smile.  

The second round, however, was largely in Londt’s favour, with Marshmall spending the majority of the round on the back foot whilst “Mr. Cool” winded up his big right hand, which knocked Marshall down for an eight-count.

Returning to Mike’s Gym for this fight, Londt was unable to capitalise on his 10-8 score in the second round, with Marshall closing Londt down on the ropes and landing an uppercut followed by a barrage of strikes to drop Londt and seal the fight in his favour. 

There’s certainly big hopes for Marshall in 2018, with the heavyweight landscape open for the taking.

No. 9 ranked heavyweight, Anderson Silva, proved he still has some mileage left in the tank, putting on a very strong showing against an outclassed Brain Douwes.

The Brazilian was 1-4 heading into Rotterdam, but despite his struggle in form “Braddock” used excellent level changes to target the head and body of Douwes.

Douwes continually pressed forward, but he was unable to thwart Silva’s gameplan, with the Brazilian absorbing his opponents strikes like a sponge. 

In the end, the judges awarded “Braddock” the unanimous decision, with three ringside officials scoring 29-28, whilst two others agreed it was a 30-27 for the Brazilian.

Eyevan Danenberg puts a beating on Jamie Bates

Meanwhile, in the opening bout of the GLORY 49 SuperFight Series prelims, it was a tough day at the office for the United Kingdom’s Jamie Bates, as he struggled to keep up with the relentless pace of Eyevan Danenberg.

Danenberg, 25, was sensational from the first bell, as he calmly hunted down Bates, using his striking effectively to open up the Brit’s body. 

It was a left hook followed by a right knee which started Bates’s downfall, with a left liver shot dropping bates for an eight count. 

Bates would take the knee two more times in the second round, both occasions caused of course by the left body shot, which sent the Brit into survival mode.

All five judges were unanimous in their decision, awarding “Mister Cool” the fight 30-24.

With this win, Danenberg moves to 3-1 in GLORY and he’s certainly a strong choice for a welterweight contender tournament in the New Year.

For 28-year-old Bates, the future is uncertain with this bout marking the end of his current two-fight deal with the GLORY Kickboxing organisation.