If it feels like we just saw GLORY Welterweight Champion Cédric Doumbé compete in the ring, you’re right. After a split decision win over Nieky Holzken at GLORY 42 last June, the hottest commodity in kickboxing will be looking to put on another show in Chicago on August 25th.
Standing in the champ’s way is longtime rival Murthel Groenhart who KO’ed his way into being the number one contender for the welterweight crown. It’s fitting these two get to renew hostilities on such a large stage as there is no love loss and the animosity is real. The best remedy for hate is punching each other in the face.
One title isn’t enough as GLORY’s Super Bantamweight Champion Tiffany “Timebomb” Van Soest (17-2-1) will be defending her belt against the very tough No.8-ranked Funda Alkayis (29-2). It’s the main event for the GLORY 44 Superfight Series, which you can watch on UFC Fight Pass.
Both these ladies also compete in MMA for Invicta Fighting Championships, but there will be no mixed martial arts rules in this bout. Instead, it will be Alkayis, who is one of the world’s most successful kickboxers, looking to make her mark in the GLORY ring by taking the title away from Van Soest. That might be easier said than done though, as Van Soest is on a three fight winning streak and possesses some of the scariest kicks ever thrown by a lady.
Also on this top-notch card is another welterweight showdown between Richard Abraham and Daniel Morales. Chicago native Abraham is a tombstone engraver by day and looking to chip out a win on his record after two tough losses in a row. He will be facing Morales, another Chicago native, who is coming off an impressive win over Pawl Jedrzejczyk at GLORY 38.
As I write this, the card is still coming together but fan favorite Cătălin “The Carpathian Death” Moroșanu (44-10, 26 KO, fighting out of Romania), will also be on the card in a heavyweight tilt.
So as fights are added let’s pour some focus into the main event of the evening at GLORY 44.
GLORY 44 MAIN EVENT PREDICTION
Cédric Doumbé (C) (67-4-1, 39 KO) vs. Murthel Groenhart (66-22-3, 38 KO) Welterweight Championship
Cédric “The Best” Doumbé goes from one rival to the next as he is set to defend his GLORY Welterweight Championship against another long time nemesis in Murthel “The Predator” Groenhart. Ever since Doumbé defeated Groenhart back in March 2016, the two have been at each other’s throats on social media. Now they get a chance to put words into action.
Doumbé is riding a four-fight winning streak under the GLORY banner which includes two victories over the great Nieky Holzken. He just came off his second win over Holzken back at GLORY 42 last June, and showed once again why we have entered the Doumbé era in the welterweight division.
Meanwhile, Groenhart is on a three-fight win streak including a vicious KO win over Harut Grigorian, also at GLORY 42, which almost caused a full out brawl after a couple of fans jumped into the ring and attacked him.
It was a crazy scene, to say the least, but now Groenhart needs to look past that and continue doing what has made him the #1 contender. The focus should be on creating a better game plan than what he tried to execute the last time these two faced.
Doumbé dominated the three round affair back at GLORY 28 by utilizing quick combinations from the outside, nice leg kicks and great in-ring psychology. Groenhart, who fought mostly out of a south paw stance, appeared slow and flat footed. It was clear he wasn’t going to be able to land his vicious knees and maybe that was partly because he fought with emotion instead of smarts.
If there is one thing that Doumbé is an expert at, it’s getting under the skin of his opponents both before and during fights. The 24-year-old lives by the philosophy that mental warfare is just as important as throwing kicks. You combine that with a very unorthodox style and you have a fighter who might be standing on top of the welterweight mountain for a long time.
For Groenhart to win this fight, he needs to stay calm and work with the tools that got him to the dance. He needs to find a way to utilize his brutalizing knees and head kicks. He has to throw more punches and land them. The key will be for him to throw and land counter shots which will be the best way to slow his opponent down. Most of all, he can’t look slow and flat footed or else Doumbé is going to dance around him for all five rounds.
In what could be a slightly more competitive fight than the last go around, I just don’t see Groenhart with any of the tools that will defeat one of the hottest and fastest rising stars in the kickboxing world.
Predicted Winner: Cédric Doumbé (via decision)