GLORY 43 is going back to Madison Square Garden in New York (Friday, July 14) for what looks to be a stellar card. Four top-ranked featherweight contenders will slug it out for a title shot in GLORY’s traditional one-night tournament format. The winners of the semifinals will meet in the finals later in the night, crowning a number-one contender to face off against featherweight champ Robin van Roosmalen at a later date.
Giga Chikadze is currently ranked as the no. 4 featherweight in the world, and he will be facing Russia’s Aleksei Ulianov in the first semi. Chikadze, who is coming off two highlight-reel knockouts, is looking to continue his winning momentum against a tough Russian Muay Thai champion in Ulianov, who has been hovering around the featherweight title conversation for some time.
Also fighting in the tournament is Canadian Matt “Mattics” Embree, who has redemption on his mind. The no. 3-ranked featherweight sees the tournament as a direct road for a rematch with van Roosmalen. But that road begins with Kevin Vannostrand, who is coming off a win over David Moore back at GLORY 33.
The featherweight final will be the co-main event of the night, joined at the top of the card by a heavyweight tilt between no. 1-ranked Benjamin “Mister Gentleman” Adegbuyi and no. 10-ranked Guto Inocente. Also on the main card is lightweight phenom Josh Jauncey, who has been training at Floyd Mayweather’s gym, putting his new skills to the test against a big-time prospect in Elvis Gashi, who is making his GLORY debut.
Never done in its quest to entertain, the GLORY Superfight Series (live on UFC Fight Pass) also features some exciting matchups. The big fight on the Superfight card is for the Interim Light Heavyweight Title with former champ Saulo “Cassius Clay” Cavalari clashing with no. 2-ranked Pavel “The Caiman” Zhuravlev in a fight that should have its fair share of fireworks.
Before we get into the odds and predictions for the co-main events, here’s a look at the full GLORY 43 and Superfight cards and schedule.
GLORY 43: New York
Co-Main Event: Featherweight Tournament Final
Co-Main Event: Benjamin Adegbuyi vs. Guto Inocente (Heavyweight)
Lightweight Bout: Josh Jauncey vs. Elvis Gashi
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal B: Matt Embree vs. Kevin Vannostrand
Featherweight Tournament Semifinal A: Giga Chikadze vs. Aleksei Ulianov
GLORY 43 New York will be carried live on Fight Network and ESPN3 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT and as-live on Fight Network and ESPN2 shortly after at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT.
GLORY 43: SuperFight Series
Light Heavyweight Headline Bout: Saulo Cavalari vs. Zhuravlev
Featherweight Bout: Bailey Sugden vs. Arthur Sorsor
Middleweight Bout: Ariel Sepulveda vs. Joe Taylor
Featherweight Bout: Mo Abdurahman vs. Chenchen Li
Lightweight Bout: Itay Gershon vs. Rafal Dudek
Super Bantamweight Bout: Anissa Meksen vs. Jady Menezes
GLORY 43 SuperFight Series streams live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.
Featherweight Tournament Odds
- Matt Embree: 2/3
- Giga Chikadze: 2/1
- Aleksei Ulianov: 25/1
- Kevin Vannostrand: 35/1
Giga Chikadze (37-5-0) and Matt Embree (39-8-0) are both heavy favorites in their respective semifinals. Barring a huge upset, that is where this tournament is headed, and that’ll be okay with most fans. Embree knocked out Chikadze in the last featherweight tournament final back at GLORY 33 so you know Chikadze would like to get another shot at the Canadian.
However, neither fighter can overlook his semifinal matchup because this is kickboxing and, if you take your opponent for granted, things can go south in a hurry.
Aleksei Ulianov (21-3-1) lost his GLORY debut via unanimous decision to no. 2-ranked featherweight Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao at GLORY 39. That’s a tough way to make your debut, but Ulianov showed he can hang with the best and is looking to stamp his ticket to the finals with an upset win over Chikadze.
It’s hard to like Ulianov’s upset chances, though, when you are reminded of Chikadze’s brutal liver shot KO of Victor Pinto back in January. That type of nasty kick will end a fight in a hurry.
On paper, it might look like Embree has an easy fight against no. 15-ranked Kevin Vannostrand (12-1-0), but you’d be wrong; the American packs some serious knees on the inside and has an exciting style that could give Embree fits if he doesn’t stay composed.
That said, Embree is a big favorite, and deservingly so. The traditional Muay Thai fighter made a name for himself at GLORY 33 with KO wins over Chikadze and Chi bin Lim. As long as he stays focused, he should be able to weather the Vannostrand storm and use his technical prowess and powerful hands to get himself to the final.
Looking to the likely final, I’d set Embree as a 7/13 (-186) favorite in a matchup with Chikadze, a fighter he’s handled before. Embree is such a great technical fighter and can knock you out with one punch.
Predicted Winner: Matt Embree
Benjamin Adegbuyi (1/9) vs. Guto Inocente (9/1)
One of the greatest kickboxers in the world will be featured in the evening’s co-main event when Benjamin Adegbuyi (28-4-0) takes on no. 10-ranked heavyweight Guto Inocente (33-8-0).
It’s tough to be Benjamin Adegbuyi, GLORY’s number-one contender in the heavyweight division. He can pretty much beat anyone and everyone in the division, except for his training partner Rico Verhoeven, who happens to be the heavyweight champ and arguably the greatest kickboxer on the planet. The man they call “Mr. Gentleman” only has two GLORY losses on his resume and both were to his friend Verhoeven back in 2015. Now he needs to show GLORY that he deserves a third opportunity.
Standing across from the big Romanian will be Guto Inocente, who was on the rise in the division until a tough unanimous loss to Jamal Ben Saddik back at GLORY 39 in March. The Brazilian will go from the frying pan to the fire when he faces Adegbuyi, his toughest competition yet.
Inocente has an awkward style that utilizes a lot of unorthodox kicks for a heavyweight. But don’t be fooled: those kicks can do a lot of damage.
The problem for Inocente is that he is facing a man who dazzles in all aspects of the game. He possesses some of the fastest hands and most explosive combinations in the sport, which will send you to the canvas without prior written consent. He also has a very underrated defensive game that makes it difficult for his opponents to get close enough to land.
Although Inocente is a tough opponent, he is in very deep water against one of the sport’s greats.
Predicted Winner: Benjamin Adegbuyi