GLORY World Series makes its triumphant return on Friday, November 7, with Glory 18: Return to Glory, which takes place at the Grand Casino in Oklahoma.
GLORY lightweight title: Davit Kiria (c) vs. Robin van Roosmalen (32-6, 19 KO’s)
The main event will see Davit Kiria make the first defence of his lightweight crown, against the man that has bested him on two prior occasions, Robin van Roosmalen.
The challenger, van Roosmalen, is coming off a less than impressive split decision victory over Marat Grigorian at GLORY 15, however the Dutch fighter sits in a division that currently lacks few real title contenders. He went 3-1 in 2013, with his only loss to the highly touted Andy Ristie. In his previous two fights against Kiria, van Roosmalen has looked to push the pace, but now the fight takes place during five rounds, what effect will this have on the Dutchman’s gameplan.
Although ‘Pokerface’ appears to have Kiria’s number, it’s hard to disregard the courageous performance that won him the title against Andy Ristie earlier this year. The Georgian showed heart and spirit, coming back from three rounds of adversity to score one of the biggest comeback wins kickboxing has ever seen. A lot of people are counting Kiria out in this encounter, I think foolishly so.
Prediction: Davit Kiria
Middleweight: Wayne Barrett (5-1, 4 KO’s) vs. Jason Wilnis (21-4-1, 6 KO’s)
The man who wants to become the face of American kickboxing, Wayne Barrett tries to move himself closer to a middleweight title shot against Artem Levin, but Dutch fighter Jason Wilnis stands in his way.
Barrett reached the semi-finals in the Last Man Standing tournament back in June, losing out to former nemesis Joe Schilling by split decision. The New Yorker looks to rebound from his first career loss, and the man with a 90% knockout ratio wants to put himself back in the spotlight with an impressive win over his opponent.
Wilnis is seen to be a much more technical fighter, and will likely try to push Barrett on the back foot from the get go. The Colosseum Gym fighter will look to prove himself against the American, having lost his last two fights in GLORY to Artem Levin and Sahak Parparyan. Although these losses were against two high level kickboxers, he now must face yet another equally dangerous foe.
Prediction: Wayne Barrett
Light-Heavyweight Contender Tournament Semi Final #1: Brian Collette (21-2, 18 KO’s) vs. Zack Mwekassa (11-1, 10 KO’s)
When Zack Mwekassa burst onto the GLORY scene earlier this year, nobody expected him to definitively beat the returning Pat Barry. The Black Warrior seemed to disagree, knocking out the former UFC fighter in the first round. Since then, Mwekassa has been vocal telling anyone that would listen that he feels he is the best fighter in any division, and people shouldn’t worry whether he fights at Light-Heavyweight or Heavyweight, because he is looking to “bring the dram.”
Brian Collette has won two on the bounce in GLORY, with wins over Randy Blake and Warren Thompson. The Virginia native said ‘the challenge of proving I am the best’ is the reason that he fights, and a win over the highly touted African powerhouse, would surely send his career to new heights.
Prediction: Zack Mwekassa
Light-Heavyweight Contender Tournament Semi Final #2: Saulo Cavalari (28-2, 18 KO’s) vs. Danyo Ilunga (56-5, 44 KO’s)
Stepping in for the injured Artem Vakhitov, Danyo Ilunga returns to the GLORY ring for the first time since April, where he knocked out Romanian prodigy Andrei Stoica. A lot of people consider Ilunga to be one of the pound-for-pound best kickboxers on the planet, due to his knockout style, and supreme technical ability. He has only lost once in three years, and that was to another kickboxing superstar in Tyrone Spong.
Saulo Cavalari is one of Brazil’s fastest rising talents, and he has been very impressive under the GLORY banner. He picked up back-to-back wins over Filip Verlinden and Mourad Bouzidi at GLORY 11 and 12 respectively, and since then has looked to be a future star. With 18 knockouts out of his 28 wins, Cavalari is a fighter who systematically looks to wear down his opponent until the final moment is right.
Prediction: Danyo Ilunga
Photo Credit – GLORY World Series