GLORY 40 (Saturday, April 29th, in Copenhagen; 3:30 p.m. ET) will put the best middleweights in kickboxing on center stage, as champion Jason “Psycho” Wilnis (30-6-1, 8 KO) defends his title against former champ Simon “The ONE” Marcus (45-3-2, 24 KO). The winner won’t have to wait long to learn his next opponent; the card also features a four-man middleweight tournament which will determine who’s next in line for a shot at the belt.
Wilnis and Marcus have met two times previously. Marcus won the first fight at GLORY 20 (April 2015), but then lost his title when Wilnis beat him in shocking fashion at GLORY 33 (September 2016). The upcoming rubber match will either put the rivalry to bed or just pour more gasoline on the fire.
Also on the card is a certain crowd-pleaser that sees Danish lightweight Niclas “The Destroyer” Larsen (40-7-1, 20 KO) looking to keep his two-fight winning streak alive against the always dangerous Sitmonchai. Larsen is worth the price of admission as he is one of the most exciting and unorthodox fighters on the planet. It will be interesting what he does against a young and talented Sitmonchai.
The middleweight tournament will pit Brazilian brawler Alex “Po Atan” Pereira (20-5, 11 KO) against Sweden’s Burim Rama (30-12-1, 14 KO) in one semi-final, and Dutch-Tunisian Yousri Belgaroui (20-3, 10 KO) against Agron Preteni (20-4-1, 5 KO) of Croatia in the other.
GLORY 40 Fight Card
Middleweight World Title Headline Bout: Jason Wilnis vs. Simon Marcus
Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Niclas Larsen vs. Yodkhunpon (Sitmonchai)
Middleweight Tournament Final Bout: Winner of Bout A vs. Winner of Bout B
Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout B: Alex Pereira vs. Burim Rama
Middleweight Tournament Semifinal Bout A: Yousri Belgaroui vs. Agron Preteni
Earlier in the evening, the GLORY 40 SuperFight Series can be seen on UFC Fight Pass (1:00 p.m. ET). Much of that card has yet to be set, but we know it will showcase a light heavyweight title bout plus more of the organization’s top talent, including Danish lightweight Mohammed “The Desert Storm” El-Mir (113-22, 33 KO).
As I did with GLORY 39, here’s how I see the main event of the evening playing out.
Jason Wilnis (30-6-1, 8 KO) vs. Simon Marcus (45-3-2, 24 KO)
The last time these two squared off was back at GLORY 33 when Wilnis came back after two tough early rounds to score a third-round TKO.
The bout wasn’t without controversy. Marcus was getting the best of the Dutch middleweight until near the end of the second when Marcus started showboating in the corner. He allowed Wilnis to hit him but didn’t appear to be in any kind of danger as he shrugged off the punches in a cocky fashion. However, the incompetent referee awarded a phantom knockdown for Wilnis and mysteriously gave Marcus a standing eight-count which doesn’t fall under GLORY rules.
That was a big point to give to Wilnis, and it led to Marcus going into the third round angry and unhinged, which ultimately resulted in his undoing. Instead of continuing to fight smart, the 30-year-old allowed his emotions to get the better of him. Wilnis was able to land some clean shots, scoring three knockdowns, a referee stoppage, and a shiny new belt.
That was a drastically different scene from the first bout between the two at the GLORY 20 middleweight tournament. Marcus dominated and won via decision. Take that result with a grain of salt, though, as Wilnis clearly hadn’t fully recovered from his semifinal war with Alex Pereira.
In the rubber match, both fighters will feel like they have something to prove.
How Wilnis Can Win
In their last fight, Marcus was able to keep his distance by throwing a lot of left kicks and knees to the body which slowed down Wilnis’ forward momentum. Wilnis likes to use a high-guard defense which leaves his body open to strikes. If he continues to allow Marcus to throw low combinations, he is going to be dominated.
Wilnis is the better boxer, but Marcus hits harder and brings a lot of speed and aggression to his fights. If Wilnis is going to keep his belt, he will need to counter-strike effectively and pick his spots. Instead of throwing just single jabs, he needs to start throwing 2, 3 combos and finish with leg kicks to slow Marcus down.
How Marcus Can Win
Obviously, the key for the Canadian striker is to keep his composure, stick to the gameplan, and for God’s sake stop showboating. He was winning the previous fight and was doing a great job of mixing up his strikes and keeping Wilnis off balance. Doing more of the same will give him a good chance to earn his title back.
Marcus learned a valuable lesson at GLORY 33 and is coming into this fight with a chip on his shoulder. Wilnis shocked the kickboxing world when he won the middleweight title, but Marcus effectively beat himself. He won’t do the same a second time. Unless Wilnis has some new facets to his game, I don’t see him knocking off the bigger, stronger Marcus again.
The money play here is to roll with Marcus.
Winner: Simon Marcus
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