CHICAGO–The main event at GLORY 50 ended in a shocking upset, as Harut Grigorian (47-11) exacted his revenge over Murthel Groenhart (67-23-3) by TKO to win the GLORY welterweight title.
Groenhart knocked out Grigorian in controversial fashion back at GLORY 42 this past June, landing a huge right hand after a stunned Grigorian turned his back to him, which led to all hell breaking loose as two fans became assailants and jumped in the ring to attack Groenhart.
Grigorian, 28, scored the TKO win at the 2:06 mark of the opening round inside the UIC Pavilion on Friday evening. After knocking Groenhart down early on in the round, he connected with more punches soon after, which rocked Groenhart a second time. That’s when referee Chris Wagner stepped in to wave the bout off. Wagner told MMA Plus after the bout that he saw Groenhart’s eyes roll back and that is why he stopped the fight.
“We believe in karma,” Grigorian told MMA Plus after the fight via translation by his coach Nick Hemmers, acknowledging he felt Groenhart’s KO win over him at GLORY 42 didn’t show good sportsmanship. “I think karma won today.”
Grigorian, who the “Contender” tournament at GLORY 44 after the controversial loss at GLORY 42, said he had moved on, but admitted to MMA Plus after winning the title that the memory of what happened was still “floating around” in his head.
The newly-crowned champion will likely defend his title against the winner of the Cedric Doumbe vs. Alim Nabiyev fight, which takes place next month at GLORY 51.
In the co-main event, hometown hero Richard Abraham (13-5) cruised to a unanimous decision win over Malik Watson-Smith (59-24), much to the delight of the Chicago crowd. The scores were a bit lopsided after referee Chris Wagner deducted a point from Watson-Smith for holding in both the second and third rounds. Four judges scored the bout 29-26, while the fifth judge scored it 30-25, all in favor of Abraham.
Benny Adegbuyi (30-5) defeated D’Angelo Marshall (17-3) in the semi-finals, and Junior Tafa (18-3) in the finals, to win the heavyweight four-man “Contender” tournament, earning the third Ramon Dekker’s trophy of his career.
In his post-fight interview with Whitney Miller, the No.1-ranked heavyweight was asked about a potential showdown with champion Rico Verhoeven, which would be the third time the two would fight. The two are now training partners under Dennis Krauweel, but “Mr. Gentleman” and the champion have both said they’d fight one another before.
“It’s up to GLORY, but as for me, I”m ready,” Adegbuyi said. “I”m always ready. If that fight comes, I want the belt.”
Adegbuyi wasted little time advancing to the tournament final, knocking out Marshall in the first minute of the opening round. “Mr. Gentleman” connected on a big right hand, which sent Marshall crashing to the canvas. Referee Dave Smith waved the bout off at the 0:36 mark of round one.
In the tournament final, Adegbuyi faced Tafa, who advanced to the final, but not on his own merit. Tafa stepped in for Guto Inocente (35-8)–who actually defeated him by unanimous decision in the semi-finals–due to the Brazilian suffering a cut and not being able to continue. With Inocente not being able to compete, GLORY went with the Australian newcomer to take his place.
Adegbuyi battered Tafa’s legs with low kicks en route to a TKO victory in the second round. The Romanian veteran scored a pair of knockdowns in the first utilizing his low kicks to batter Tafa. And in the second round he knocked the Australian down a third time, once again using low kicks, to end it. The official time of the stoppage came at the 0:34 mark of the second round.
In the opposing bracket of the semi-finals, Inocente defeated Tafa via unanimous decision. Four of the judges scored it 29-28, with the fifth scoring it 30-27, all in favor of Inocente. Tafa looked to have scored a knockdown in the first round, but it was ruled a slip by referee Josh Stewart.