Glory 3 Rome preview: Giorgio Petrosyan looks to defend his position as the world's best kickboxer

World #1 Giorgio Petrosyan (left) looks to defend his status at Glory 3 Rome - Ben Pontier/GLORY

This weekend, Glory 3 Rome names a 70kg champion and unofficially crowns the world's top fighter. Will it be Giorgio Petrosyan again standing tall? Or can Robin van Roosmalen pull off another big upset?

This weekend sees high level kickboxing in action, as Glory stages their Glory 3 Rome Final 8 event. Glory 3 Rome takes place this Saturday, November 3 at 1 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT. The show will be available as a live stream for $15 at GloryWorldSeries.com and in select markets on Fight Now TV.

This is, clearly, the 3rd event for the new company, and so far they've delivered on previous events. But this particular show adds an extra degree of excitement, because it features the final 8 of their 70kg tournament. Here's the complete line-up for the show:

Glory 3 Rome Fight Card

Quarter-Final: Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Ky Hollenbeck
Quarter-Final: Shemsi Beqiri vs. Davit Kiria
Quarter-Final: Albert Kraus Yoshihiro Sato vs. Sanny Dahlbeck
Quarter-Final: Robin van Roosmalen vs. Tim Thomas
Semi-Final: Petrosyan/Hollenbeck vs. Beqiri/Kiria
Semi-Final: Kraus/Dahlbeck vs. van Roosmalen/Thomas
Finals
Reserve: Dzhabar Askerov vs. Yoshihiro Sato
Reserve: Fabio Pinca vs. Alessandro Campagna
Super Fight: Mustapha Haida vs. Jordan Watson
Super Fight: Marco Re vs. Alka Matewa

Obviously, that tournament is the highlight. The first round fights are nothing too notable (though I am intrigued by Kraus vs. Dahlbeck), though should still be fun. But truly this tournament is about one fight only - Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Robin van Roosmalen. A little backstory...

Petrosyan is the undeniable king at 70kg, and his name belongs up there with the best combat sports fighters of our day, period. The man is pure artistry in the ring, combining lightning precision with impeccable defense. His record speaks for itself - 75 fights, 1 loss. And those are not 75 fights against scrubs. Since coming to the K-1 MAX Grand Prix in 2009, Petrosyan has systematically wiped out every single top fighter in the division, defeating Andy Souwer, Artur Kyshenko, Albert Kraus, Yoshihiro Sato, and on, and on. He holds two MAX crowns, and is the final MAX champion before the FEG run K-1 went under. His lone loss came in 2007 in a Muay Thai fight in Thailand.

For the past few years, the big fight everyone wanted was Petrosyan vs. Buakaw Por. Pramuk. The two have actually met once before in 2007. At that time, Buakaw was the #1 70kg fighter in the world and the reigning MAX champion, undefeated in over 2 years. Petrosyan was 21. He fought the Thai great to a draw, and folks have wanted a rematch ever since. But with Buakaw seemingly on cruise control at this stage of his career, it's become clear that's not happening. Who was left to challenge The Doctor?

Enter Robin van Roosmalen. Robin has been quietly making his mark in Europe in recent years, thanks primarily to his exciting, heavy hitting style. But he always struggled with consistency, finding himself firmly in the middle of the pack. That all changed in one night last year.

In 2011, It's Showtime staged the Fast & Furious 70kg tournament. With K-1 MAX shut down at the time, this was the premiere 70kg tournament of 2011. Originally, Petrosyan was entered, but an injury forced him out. In a field that included favorites Kyshenko and Souwer, it was van Roosmalen who walked away with the upset win. He's been on a roll ever since, including a great win over Dzhabar Askerov in the qualifying round (though he did lose due to cut in his last fight).

Now, van Roosmalen represents one of the few names Petrosyan has not vanquished. He's the last man to hold a major tournament win - something that I'm sure Petrosyan wants to correct. The two seem to be on a collision course for the finals in Rome. Let's hope it happens.

Either way, the winner here will be the #1 fighter in the world at 70kg, and that alone should be all the reason you need to watch.

My predictions for the event? I'll take Petrosyan over van Roosmalen in the finals. Van Roosmalen is a thrilling challenger, but Petrosyan is just too good. Assuming his notoriously injury-prone hand stays healthy (and that's a big assumption), this is Petrosyan's tournament to take.

In the quarter-finals, I see Beqiri dealing with Kiria, setting up a fun Petrosyan vs. Beqiri semi-final, and I'll actually pick Dahlbeck to score the upset over Kraus, as Dahlbeck looked fantastic in his quarter-final win, while Kraus is showing signs of wear and tear after his 10 year career. Dahlbeck vs. van Roosmalen is a good semi-final, as is Kraus vs. van Roosmalen if the young Dahlbeck doesn't score the upset.

Should be a great day of fights. See you Saturday.

UPDATE: Glory has just announced that Albert Kraus is off the show due to illness. Yoshihiro Sato takes his place in the tournament. No word on how that impacts Sato's original opponent, Dzhabar Askerov. Bummer to see Kraus out, though this is good news for Sanny Dahlbeck, who should be able to push the pace against the slow starting Sato and take the win.


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