On Friday, December 5th in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, GLORY returns for the final show of 2015 and they are going out with a bang. GLORY 26 will be broadcast live here in the United States on ESPN3 at 4pm Eastern time and the show is highlighted by not one but two huge GLORY World Title defenses; the GLORY Welterweight Championship and the GLORY Heavyweight Championship. The main card will feature a Featherweight contender tournament as well. That’s a pretty big card. The main event sees GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven (46-10-0) come in as a favorite at -505 against second-time challenger Benjamin Adegbuyi (22-3-0) at +335 according to 5Dimes Sportsbook. Their first encounter in June at GLORY 22 saw Verhoeven walk away with the victory after an early surge from Adegbuyi. Adegbuyi’s gas tank proved to be an issue as the fight wore on, as did Verhoeven’s skill and technique. Adegbuyi has fought since their last encounter, but his last showing at GLORY 24 Denver didn’t show us much more of a gas tank. Then again, being a mile high is a lot different than Amsterdam’s relatively comfortable sea level elevation. If Adegbuyi is able to rush Verhoeven early and overwhelm him, a risky better could walk away with some serious coin from this fight. Then again, Verhoeven is the comfortable favorite for a good reason; he’s the champion and nobody has been able to crack his iron tight defenses or deal with his low kicks and combinations with his hands thus far. The other main event is the GLORY Welterweight Championship bout where champion Nieky Holzken (87-11-0) defends his title against Murthel Groenhart (58-18-3). This is their second meeting, with Holzken taking the win the first time around. A lot has changed since then, but Holzken has only gotten more skilled while Murthel has struggled and jumped between weight classes. The lines have Holzken at -600 and Groenhart at +400. Rightfully so. Holzken has been on a hot streak across both boxing and kickboxing while Groenhart did win the GLORY 25 contender tournament, but a recent loss to Chad Sugden — who was injured for that same tournament — weighs heavily on him. Holzken’s hands are some of the best in the business, plus he’s patient and waits for his openings. Groenhart is perhaps best known for his wild, reckless style that is prone to cause knockouts, but also prone to see him take a lot of damage. Against Holzken, that’s a no-no and I expect Holzken to handily take this bout. This brings us to the featherweight tournament. Mosab Amrani (53-10-4) takes on Korea’s Chibin Lim (69-17-0) in a bout that many see as fairly academic with the lines at 5Dimes opening at -400 in favor of Amrani and +280 for Lim. Amrani should take it, but he did suffer a TKO loss in China in October which may have affected him going into this bout. That, though, seems like Lim’s only hope. The same could be said for the other side of the bracket with Shane Oblonsky (10-4-0) against Maykol Turk (7-3-0). Oblonsky opens as the favorite with -505 compared to Turk’s +335. Quite honestly, there isn’t much that we’ve seen from Turk that has shown us that he can defeat Oblonsky. His only hope is that Oblonsky has been dealing with a recent death in the family and that his mind isn’t on this fight. Otherwise the Oblonsky that we know and love will do what he needs to do to pick up the victory. GLORY 26 is so big that even the SuperFight Series undercard is jam-packed with top fights as well. Errol “The Bonecrusher” Zimmerman (103-12-1) returns from his injury that happened in February against Rico Verhoeven to face Thomas Vanneste (22-8-0). Needless to say, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for Vanneste here, as Errol opened up at -1500 against Vanneste’s +700. Those willing to take a risk might see this as an interesting gamble considering Zimmerman has been on the shelf for the better part of a year, unable to train due to his knee injury. He also might have considerable ring rust or lack of confidence in his knee. That being said, Zimmerman crushing him seems the likely conclusion. Light heavyweights collide on the SuperFight Series as Mourad Bouzidi (78-22-0) takes on Danyo Ilunga (57-9-0) in one of the closest battles of the evening. The lines have opened with Ilunga at -130 and Bouzidi at -110, which accurately depicts this fight as a very, very close battle. Ilunga is coming off of a recent loss while Bouzidi is on a three-fight tear in the light heavyweight division. A win here for Bouzidi would be a feather in his cap while Ilunga would be back in the title picture again. Fred Sikking (46-22-1) takes on Zinedine Hameur-Lain (53-12-0) in a bout that sees Sikking as a favorite at -155 to Hameur-Lain’s +115 at light heavyweight and rounding out the night is a welterweight bout between Karapet Karapetyan (43-11-2) and Yoann Kongolo (60-6-0) that sees Karapet as an early favorite at -260, Kongo at +190. Karapetyan was last seen in the GLORY ring last year when he contended for the then-vacant championship against Marc de Bonte and looks to make GLORY’s welterweight division his domain again in his climb to challenge Holzken.
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