The Kickboxing world will be electric on Saturday, June 21st at the Forum from Inglewood, California for both GLORY 17 and GLORY’s Last Man Standing PPV events. GLORY 17 will air at 8pm Eastern time on Spike TV while Last Man Standing will take place directly following that at 10pm Eastern time on PPV. Saturday night will be one of the biggest nights in the recent history of the sport of Kickboxing where a whopping three world championships will be on the line, with the Welterweight, Heavyweight and Middleweight Championship all up for grabs. The Middleweight Championship will be decided in the Last Man Standing tournament which is eight-men, one-night, single elimination. Kicking things off at GLORY 17 will be the GLORY Featherweight Contender’s Tournament, with Canadian Garbriel Varga (23-2-0) will be going up against the tough, young Thai Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai (83-21-1). For Yodkhunpon this will be his second time stepping into the GLORY ring, while it is the fourth for Varga. Varga has opened up as a sizable favorite at -305 at 5Dimes Sportsbook against Yod’s +225, which shows that while Yod might have a lot of experience in Thailand, Varga’s experience in Kickboxing and the skills he has shown over his past few fights give him a clear advantage come Saturday. The other half of the GLORY Featherweight Contender’s Tournament sees Brazilian Marcus Vinicius (7-2-0) take on American Shane Oblonsky (8-2-0) in a battle between top prospects in the division. Oblonsky comes into this fight as a small favorite at -170 which reflects a lot of the hype that he has coming into this fight compared to Vinicius at +130, who is coming off of a decision loss to Mosab Amrani from GLORY 8 in Tokyo. In a battle between top Lightweights that has been months in the making, GLORY 12 New York Lightweight tournament winner Andy Ristie (41-4-1) will take on American Ky Hollenbeck (46-3-1). After Ristie’s knockout wins over Giorgio Petrosyan and Robin van Roosmalen he’s the distant favorite at -505 going into this fight with Hollenbeck at +335, but the fight will be a lot closer than you might think by looking at those numbers. Hollenbeck is a complete technical fighter, but as we saw with Ristie against Petrosyan, Ristie knows his way around the defenses of a sound technician. The main event for GLORY 17 on Spike TV sees a return match between UFC, PRIDE and K-1 legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (22-8-0) against Heavyweight boxing sensation Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller (22-1-0). Both men met in the K-1 World Grand Prix in 2013 where Cro Cop walked away with a bit of a sinister decision, leaving Jarrell Miller as the favorite going into this fight at -170 to Cro Cop’s +130. Jarrell is looking to avenge his one professional loss across Muay Thai, Kickboxing and Boxing to Cro Cop this Saturday and now seems to be the time with Cro Cop favoring a clinch and dirty boxing-heavy style at the moment, while Miller will look to land punches and work the veteran over. Now we move over to the PPV portion of the night, which is GLORY’s Last Man Standing event. What better way to start it off than with the Last Man Standing tournament? Eight men will enter and one man will walk away the GLORY Middleweight Champion. The first bout of the tournament will be veteran slugger Melvin Manhoef (47-11-0) against the Belgian Filip Verlinden (42-11-1). Verlinden walks into this fight as a comfortable favorite at -215 over Manhoef’s +165 in part to being consistently active in Kickboxing and fighting the biggest names across three weight classes while Manhoef took some time to recuperate. Manhoef will always have the ability to knock anyone and everyone out, though, so Verlinden cannot get too comfortable here. American Wayne Barrett (4-0-0) is riding a tidal wave of hype in his young career against Romanian favorite Bogdan Stoica (38-5-0). Barrett is coming in as the favorite at -260 against Stoica’s +180 and for good reason — Barrett is on a roll, his last win over GLORY 10 Middleweight Champion Joe Schilling. Barrett is explosive, talented and willing to lay it all on the line for the W, while Stoica has had some problems of late when taking a step up in competition. Is this too much too soon for Stoica? We’ll have to wait and see. In a third in a series, Joe Schilling (16-5-0) will take on his Canadian nemesis Simon Marcus (39-0-1) for the third time. Marcus goes into this a favorite at -230 due to his two previous wins over Schilling, who sits at +170 right now. Their previous fights were under Muay Thai rules where Marcus is undeniably more comfortable and the first win for Marcus came after a controversial sweep knocked Joe down and out, leaving him as easy pickings for a knockout punch. This is Kickboxing rules, though, where clinch games don’t happen and where Joe is without a doubt comfortable. The last of the quarterfinals for the Last Man Standing tournament will see the man often heralded as the world’s best Middleweight, Artem Levin (47-4-1) will take on the young Brazilian, Alex Pereira (13-1-0). Levin is the definite favorite at -405 against Pereira’s +285 after dominating the division for years, but it’s hard to deny Pereira’s recent GLORY Middleweight Contender’s Tournament victory that saw him flatline Dustin Jacoby and work over grizzled veteran Sahak Parparyan. Levin is going to dance, juke, jive and slip his strikes against Pereira but Pereira undoubtedly has the power advantage in this fight. In one of the two World Championship fights to headline the evening the GLORY Welterweight Championship will be on the line as Canadian sensation Joseph Valtellini (11-2-0) will challenge the champion Marc de Bonte (87-11-1) in what has many fans on edge waiting for. Valtellini is the favorite heading into the fight against the champion at -155 to de Bonte’s +115, but this is truly a tremendous matchup between the skill and patience of de Bonte against the technique and power of Valtellini. The second World Championship on the line will be the GLORY Heavyweight Championship, with the winner of Daniel Ghita (50-10-0) and Rico Verhoeven (43-9-0) taking home the vacant championship for their own. 5Dimes Sportsbook currently has Verhoeven as the slight favorite at -160 to Ghita’s +120, but this fight is as close as they come. Verhoeven holds a victory over Ghita at GLORY 11’s Heavyweight Tournament, but it was an incredibly close fight that could have been ruled in either direction, leading us into this fight between the two best active Heavyweights alive today. It’s Verhoeven’s technique and newfound confidence against Ghita’s precision punching and earth-shattering kicks. The best fighters in the world are ready to step into the ring in a night so stacked with elite bouts that you’d feel foolish to miss it. Seriously, if you’re a kickboxing fan, you’d be a fool to miss this night, especially if you are looking for some excitement. Saturday night is sure not to disappoint.
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