GLORY is set to open up the 2021 year of action Saturday, January 30, 2021. GLORY 77 is packed with several of the world’s best kickboxers. The card will also feature four title fights including the brother/sister tandem of Alex Pereira and Aline Pereira. The siblings will be featured in two of the four title fights as Alex looks to become the first “double champ” in GLORY history and Aline seeks out the bantamweight championship. Also, will the score be settled between Cedric Doumbe and Murthel Groenhart in one of GLORY’s biggest feuds ever? This is our GLORY 77 preview and make sure to order the event here on FITE TV.
Glory 77 Preview ahead of Saturday’s event
Welterweight Championship Showdown
With the current tally sheet marked “one each,” champion Cedric Doumbe (74-6-1) returns to action quickly after defeating Karim Ghajji in the third round on the GLORY 76 card last month in December 2020. France’s first GLORY champion currently owns an 11-3 (5KOs) record inside the organization. Doumbe’s first reign as champion came at GLORY 36 in December 2016 when he defeated one of the sport’s icons in Nieky Holzken. Though he was a massive underdog, Doumbe earned the split decision, as well as in their GLORY 42 rematch.
In his third title defense at GLORY 44, Doumbe dropped a decision and his title to Groenhart, the man he will face for the third time on Saturday. This was the second encounter between the two as they had met earlier in Doumbe’s GLORY career, where Doumbe won via unanimous decision. Since the title loss to Groenhart, Doumbe has earned a 7-1 record, avenging that lone loss. The roles will be the same for their third encounter, as Doumbe enters as the defending champion.
Former champion Murthel Groenhart (69-24-3) will look to defeat the man he earned his first title reign from as he looks to take the “rubber match” Saturday night. Though he is currently 12-8 (8KOs) in GLORY, his wins have come against the very best talent. As opposed to Doumbe who competed one month ago, it has been 14 months since we last saw Groenhart inside the GLORY ring. At GLORY 70 in October 2019, Groenhart knocked out Troy Jones in the second round.
Since defeating Doumbe at GLORY 44 for the championship, Groenhart has hit a bit of a rough patch going 2-2, alternating wins and losses. In his first title defense, Groenhart was defeated Alim Nabiev by a split decision. Nearing 100 career bouts, it would be a great achievement for Groenhart to win the championship a second time and go on an extended title run.
Light Heavyweight Champion vs Champion Showdown
Known to MMA fans as the man to defeat UFC middleweight champion, not only once but twice, GLORY middleweight champion Alex Pereira (32-6) seeks to become the first undisputed “double champ” as he looks to merge his interim light heavyweight champion against the current champion, Artem Vakhitov. Pereira has also ventured into his MMA career lately, earning a first-round TKO at LFA in November 2020. With a win Saturday, Pereira could arguably become the pound-for-pound GLORY champion. This could also become a highlight event for the Pereira as his sister, Aline, challenges for the bantamweight championship.
Already one of the most dangerous strikers in the world, multi-time world champion and GLORY light heavyweight champion, Artem Vakhitov (20-5) will look to take out the #1 contender and interim champion Alex Pereira. The Master of Sports in his native Russia in the sport of Muay Thai, Vakhitov joined GLORY in 2013 and later became the light heavyweight champion in 2016. Saturday will mark his sixth title defense. It will also be the first time we have seen Vakhitov in action since June 2019. After that title defense, Vakhitov received much-needed surgery on his injured hand.
Four-Man Heavyweight Tournament
Arguably the sport’s biggest star, Rico Verhoeven (56-10) will make his 10th title defense in a four-man tournament. Originally, Verhoeven was supposed to defend his title against Jamal Ben Saddik, but Saddik was forced to pull out due to injury. Now, Verhoeven will potentially fight twice as he first takes on Hesdy Gerges (51-19-1) who is only 3-6 in GLORY. The other side of the bracket will see #14 ranked heavyweight Levi Rigters (11-0) take on the GLORY debuting Tarik Khbabez (46-6-1.) Fans have the potential to see Verhoeven twice in one night as GLORY is set for another impressive year.
That was our GLORY 77 preview. Keep it locked here for all the action on Saturday.