Made official during a special presentation in Los Angeles, GLORY announced the inception of a new women’s super-bantamweight division featuring Tiffany van Soest and the UK’s Iman Barlow.
GLORY’s inaugural super bantamweight (122lb/55.5kg) champion will be decided through an eight woman Grand Prix tournament, which will play out over multiple events.
The winner of the Grand Prix will become the inaugural super-bantamweight champion and will also be awarded a cash prize of $25,000.
Commenting on the new division, GLORY CEO Jon Franklin said: “The question about female fighters in GLORY has long been asked and now we’ve answered with ten fantastic super bantamweights.
“But we’re looking to sign more. We’re looking at this Grand Prix as a launching pad for women in GLORY.”
The United Kingdom’s Iman Barlow is one of eight new women signed to GLORY’s super-bantamweight division. She will make her promotional debut against Isis Verbeek (8-2, 5 KO) in the Grand Prix quarterfinals, which take place at GLORY 31: Amsterdam on June 25. Verbeek, 21, hails from the Netherlands and will enjoy her first GLORY fight on home soil.
Dubbed the “Pretty Killer,” Barlow has made a serious name for herself in the Muay Thai world, winning 83 professional fights with 25 knockouts. Next to Tiffany van Soest, 21 year-old Barlow is undoubtedly one of the Grand Prix favourites.
The first Grand Prix’s quarterfinal takes place on the GLORY 30 SuperFight Series in Los Angeles. Cali’s own Tiffany “Time Bomb” van Soest (14-2-1, 5 KO) faces Dutch-stylist Esma “Fight Queen” Hasshass (9-2, 3 KO), who fights out of Morocco.
“We were only interested in the top fighters to debut our new weight class,” said GLORY Head of Talent Operations Cor Hemmers. “The best strikers in the world fight for GLORY and now that distinction includes our super bantamweights.”
The three additional Grand Prix match-ups include: Former Bellator MMA strawweight champion Zoila “Warrior Princess” Frausto (4-0, 2 KO) vs. Germany’s Daniela Graf (23-4-1, 2 KO) and World Kickboxing Network (WKN) champion Amel Dehby (27-0, 11 KO) vs. Korean muay thai champion Ji-Waen Lee (13-2, 3 KO).
The dates and locations of these bouts are expected to be announced for later in 2016.
South Africa’s Ferial “Felix” Ameeroedien and Russian veteran Irina Mazepa will square off in a tournament reserve fight.