GLORY 39 (March 25th at the Forest National Arena in Brussels) will see some of Europe’s most devastating strikers come together to try to punch their tickets and move up the GLORY rankings.
In the main event, newly crowned welterweight champion Cedric “The Best” Doumbé (65-4-1, 39 KO) defends his title for the first time against longtime rival and no. 2-ranked welterweight Yoann Kongolo (64-8, 46 KO).
Also on the card, two top heavyweights clash in the evening’s co-main event. No. 3-ranked Jahfarr Wilnis (30-8-1, 8 KO) looks to make a statement against knockout artist Jamal “The Goliath” Ben Saddik (31-5, 26 KO) who is coming off a big win over top contender Ismael Londt.
Because it’s GLORY, fans will also be treated to a one-night, four-man tournament, this one determining the number one contender for GLORY’s featherweight title.
GLORY 39 Fight Card
- Welterweight World Title Headline Bout: Cédric Doumbé vs. Yoann Kongolo
- Featherweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B
- Heavyweight Co-Headline Bout: Jahfarr Wilnis vs. Jamal Ben Saddik
- Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Serhiy Adamchuk vs. Nafi Bilalovski
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao vs. Alexei Ulyanov
If that’s not enough kickboxing action for you, GLORY’s SuperFight Series will show on UFC’s Fight Pass and feature a lightweight title fight between champ Sittichai (113-30-5, 30 KO) and no. 1 contender Dylan Salvador (49-11-1, 21 KO).
GLORY 39 SuperFight Series Card
- Lightweight World Title Headline Bout: Sittichai vs. Dylan Salvador
- Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Hysni Beqiri
- Heavyweight Bout: Hesdy Gerges vs. Chi Lewis-Parry
- Welterweight Bout: Karim Benmansour vs. Harut Grigorian
For today, let’s focus on the big fight of the evening between Doumbé and Kongolo. Will Doumbé get his revenge for a 2015 loss or is Kongolo’s style pure kryptonite?
Cédric Doumbé (c): (-140) vs. Yoann Kongolo: (+100)
Doumbé is GLORY’s current welterweight champion and the world of kickboxing might have to get used to it. Nobody thought he would beat the legendary Nieky Holzken back at Glory Collision. Not only did he beat Holzken, he dominated the Dutchman and ended his four-year unbeaten streak.
Before taking down Holzken, he KOed Vedat Hoduk back in October 2016. He’s now won ten straight fights and, at just 24 years old, we may be witnessing the birth of the next big thing in GLORY Kickboxing.
Unfortunately for the man they call Le Meilleur (“The Best” for you non-francophones), his next fight will be against his kryptonite opponent in Yoann Kongolo, who earned this title bout by winning the four-man welterweight tournament at GLORY 37: Los Angeles.
This will be the third fight between these two combatants with Kongolo winning the previous two via unanimous decision (at a Jurafight event in 2014 and Glory 22 in 2015). Will Doumbé be able to solve the Kongolo Rubixcube the third time around and hand the hard-hitting Swiss striker just his ninth career loss?
Both men like to play the counter-punch game with Kongolo having the heavier hands. In their last fight, Kongolo picked up big points with some well-timed combinations and jabs. What doesn’t get talked about enough is the 29-year-old’s defensive game. No matter how much trouble he finds himself in, he is able to keep his composure and defend and counter against high-volume attacks.
Doumbé needs to find a way to break through that defense and land some of his patented combinations, like the uppercut/hook combo that he landed at will against Holzken. What makes the 24-year-old so special is his kicks. He likes to mix things up by going low and high with a good cut kick thrown in for good measure.
Ironically, both volume and patience will be key for the champ. Like Doumbé, Kongolo sits back and picks his shots. Doumbé can’t just come at the counter-puncher full steam. He has to wait for openings, but then pounce with speed and throw a high volume of leg kicks and work his combinations.
Both men have improved since their last fight in 2015, but it’s Doumbé who has made giant leaps and strides in his young career. In addition to improved physical skills, the champ has become a master of mental warfare. Doumbé likes to showboat and get into his opponent’s head. It’s one of the biggest reasons he was able to knock off Holzken, and he’ll do the same to Kongolo in an effort to make the challenger fight angry instead of smart.
If I was a betting man, and I am, it would be easy here to look at the previous fights and say that Kongolo’s style will once again be Doumbé’s undoing. But the third time will be the charm for the newly crowned welterweight champ and his improving skills. In what will be a close fight, I see Doumbé finally figuring out the Kongolo puzzle and defending his new shiny belt.
Winner: Cédric “The Best” Doumbé via decision
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