GLORY 21: Everything Right & Wrong, About The Fight Game’s Best Event

Last night’s GLORY 21 event in San Diego showed why I tune in to the kickboxing promotion every time out — and why you should too.

I love kickboxing like I love MMA (and boxing, etc). But whatever you watch, you just don’t see the elite of the elite every time out like you do with GLORY, and that should make it worth watching for anyone.

Add high production values and a knockout-centric rule set, and you’ve got a recipe for success. GLORY is probably the most consistently entertaining show out there in the fight game.

But, last night also showed why it can be the most frustrating.

In fact, for some, just watching the event ended up a bit of a struggle. I spotted at least one journalist in the fight biz going on Twitter to figure out how to watch.

The show was broadcast live on SPIKE on the East Coast, but — despite taking place in San Diego, California — it was televised on a substantial delay here on West Coast, with an 11 pm Pacific start time.

The two hour broadcast of preliminary bouts, what GLORY calls the “Superfight Series,” was said to be only available online PPV in the US. But right before the main card, I happened upon them on CBS Sports Network. Unfortunately, they were on a delay as well, but a different one altogether – they began at 10 pm PT. That left an hour-long overlap and no way to watch both.

The same confusion actually happened with GLORY’s ill-fated PPV event last year in Los Angeles. That night, the preliminaries, which aired on delay, ended with Mirko Cro Cop’s mess of a bout with Jarrell Miller. That left us those of us out West, who may have avoided spoilers online for a few hours already, ready for bed rather than excited to watch the PPV replay. (We missed out too – the PPV was a great show.)

GLORY 21 also suffered from several injuries to its key performers, leaving a few mismatches. But that’s tough to avoid. Unfortunately, there was a great main event on paper, which also fell a little flat.

As for action? GLORY 21 had it — as always.

The event began a heavyweight tournament. A blistering knockout on the part of Xavier Vigney over Maurice Green got us started. Green came out with rapid high kicks, but ate a few heavy leg kicks and was quickly cornered. A hard right had Green shaken, turning from his opponent, and eventually crumbling to the mat.

The other tournament semi-final saw the brash Brit, Chi Lewis-Parry, eat a few right hands before finding his own range — and eventually demolishing a game but over-matched Demoreo Dennis.

Here’s a video courtesy of GLORY:

Lewis-Parry is raw, following a nice jab at one point — but then clumsily pawing to grab his opponent’s head and then throw a right. But his power was enough.

Mismatch of the night saw Jaeson Baesman, a 17-6-1 MMA fighter who had appeared at Bellator and others, having his kickboxing debut against a proven commodity in Raymond Daniels (26-2), who used the occasion to show off his arsenal of spin kicks.

The heavyweight final between Vigney and Lewis-Parry was the expected slug-fest, with Vigney scoring with the more meaningful power shots. The Brit slowed by middle of the first, and commentator Stephen Quadros would say it was the big man’s big body working against him, but looked to me like he was buzzed by the X-Man’s right hand — and eventually knocked out in the second stanza.

It was all awesome action, sure, but it was barely ten minutes of total fight time over the course of 90 minutes.

As for the main event, it was the opposite extreme; with a lack of action over five rounds. GLORY middleweight champion Artim Levin never seemed to get back on track after a good first round against challenger Simon Marcus. The champ was seen repeatedly hugging his opponent to stall, looking at the clock as the rounds wore on, and just not fighting to his usual standard.

Many are screaming bloody murder regarding the majority draw ruling, but it actually didn’t bother me all that much. Most of the indignation is from fans who simply felt like Levin deserved to lose the title with his performance.

But it wasn’t Marcus’ best night either. Did he really deserve to win a title there?

Scored with a cool head and round-by-round, it’s a closer fight than many are implying. I had Marcus winning two rounds clearly, Levin winning two, with one even, with a slight advantage to Marcus. A point deduction for Levin in round three should have given the fight (and middleweight title) to Marcus outright, but as the decision was read, I found it hard to get too upset.

GLORY 21 had enough ups to want to tune in again, but maybe enough downs to feel at least a slight disappointment. But I enjoyed it overall and am hopeful for the future.