GLORY 16: Denver 5/3/14 Broomfield, CO 1stBank Center
Heavyweight Contender Tournament Semifinal: Ben Edwards vs. Errol Zimmerman R1 2:50. Fun back and forth fight. Edwards got off to a much better start, and actually was outworking Errol most of the fight. Errol just has too much power though, so where Edwards was just scoring with good combos, Zimmerman was putting him down with his comebacks, and in this format it only takes 2 in a round to end it. Edwards backed Zimmerman against the ropes with punch combos and began to tee off, but Zimmerman came back with a combo of his own, dropping Edwards with an overhand right. Edwards recovered quickly and again had Errol in trouble against the ropes, but this time Zimmerman circled off and worked the body with a knee and jab then finished with a big knee to the stomach and two right hooks.
Heavyweight Contender Tournament Semifinal: Anderson Silva vs. Sergey Kharitonov 3R. What started off as a joke where Kharitonov just plodded forward eating countless kicks and punches without getting any of his own off turned into the ugly brawl Kharitonov needs where he consistently backed Silva into the ropes and worked him over with punch combos. Silva could do no wrong in the first, moving well and repeatedly rocking Kharitonov with punch combos. His overhand right was money, and he followed that with an uppercut for a knockdown. Silva couldn't quite get the 2nd knockdown to finish Kharitonov with the overhands, too quickly shifting to high kicks which he missed, and by the time he went back to the punches Kharitonov had recovered just enough that he could eat one big shot after another without going down. Silva seemingly landed 25 shots to every 1 Kharitonov landed in the 1st, but though the massive damage should have left Kharitonov with nothing in the tank, instead it was Silva who was done for the night, having punched himself out going for the finish. Silva's low kicks were scoring well early, and Kharitonov is such a poor mover at 100% you wouldn't want to see him at 98%, but once Silva tired Kharitonov took all his space away so he wasn't able to kick much anymore. Kharitonov just seemed to get stronger in spite of all the shots he took, and it was Silva who was just standing around in the later portion of the 2nd. Silva only outthrew Kharitonov 44-38 in round 2 after 73-22 in round 1, and it was Kharitonov who actually landed 3 more strikes, so this round could have gone either way though I gave it to Sergey since it was 1 way traffic toward the end. Round 3 was a continuation of that and then some, with Kharitonov just smothering Silva against the ropes and wearing him out with 1 punch combo after another. Silva's considerably higher skill level, not to mention his flair probably helped him edge the 2nd round en route to the 29-27 unanimous decision. Good match.
Pat Barry vs. Zack Mwekassa R12:33. A total legs vs. hands fight to the point where each landed 1 strike outside their specialty. This was entertaining back and forth stuff with Barry landing a big high kick early & following with a flying knee, which only seemed to wake the former boxer Mwekassa up. Barry could still land his low kicks and knees, but the problem was he wasn't getting back out of the pocket quickly benough, and Mwekassa has thunder in his hands, so it ultimately wasn't even an even exchange for the former UFC fighter. Mwekassa knocked Barry down following Barry's low kick with an overhand right and a left uppercut. Mwekassa landed a couple big left hooks then again dropped Barry with the left uppercut for the KO.
Heavyweight Contender Tournament Final: Anderson Silva vs. Errol Zimmerman R1 2:30. Silva was spent from his first round match, and just got blitzed here by the more powerful Zimmerman. Silva didn't start fast, but once Zimmerman dropped him with a perfectly timed knee counter to Braddock's overhand right, Silva was barely even moving or throwing random single punch in between Zimmerman's attacks. Zimmerman landed a handful of punches around the guard for the 2nd knockdown, and stayed on him with a big flying knee at the restart. Still, it looked like Silva's chin might carry him to the 2nd round, but Zimmerman got him with a right knee to the midsection & a right hook for the 3 knockdown rule.
First Glory Welterweight Champion Decision Match: Karapet Karapetyan vs. Marc de Bonte 5R. A thoughtful technical contest that was razor tight, but certainly more for purists than the previous exciting slugfests. Karepet isn't so much a fighter that looks good himself, as one who keeps the opponent out of their strike zone so they look bad. De Bonte knew how to beat him, and was able to execute the strategy, moving and angling so Karapetyan couldn't pick him apart with jabs and front kicks then rushing with combos when the time was right. The problem is this was a 5 round fight in high altitude, and de Bonte was already noticably slowing in the 2nd after outlanding Karapet 20-5 in round 1. When de Bonte was good, he was bouncing around, mixing leading with the jab for the combo and leading with the low kick for the single shot then evade. When de Bonte was bad, he stood around flatfooted and didn't throw any combos, which allowed Karapet to land single shots. Karapet didn't throw many “power” shots, and didn't have much power when he did, but his stamina was far superior. He was a different fighter in a positive way in the 5th, walking de Bonte down the entire round, landing punch combos & even finishing them with some knees. De Bonte spent the whole round backing, and was growing increasingly defensive as Karapet chased him down. Overall, de Bonte was the cleaner, crisper, and more powerful striker, so even though the stats were almost equal with de Bonte throwing 19 less, but landing 7 more, he had the quality on his side. I gave de Bonte rounds 1, 2 & 4, but 2 could have gone either way as Karapetyan came on late. De Bonte won a split decision 48-47, 47-48, 48-47 to become the first champion. Above average match.