Saturday May 3, Bloody Elbow presents fight coverage of Glory 16 Denver. Glory 16 airs live on Spike TV, Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. ET. We will have live fight night coverage and discussion right here. Here, we break down the Glory 16 card in our fight by fight preview.
#2 KARAPET KARAPETYAN (43-9-2) vs. #6 MARC DE BONTE (86-11-1) - Glory Welterweight Title
The main event of the evening at Glory 16 will crown the first ever Glory Welterweight champion. Already this year Davit Kiria and Gokhan Saki have claimed Glory gold - now either De Bonte or Karapetyan will join that list. This is a bit of a make-up fight, as the originally announced fight was De Bonte vs. Glory 13 tournament champion Nieky Holzken, however a Holzken injury forced him out. Holzken is the division's top dog right now, so it is a shame to lose him, but don't let that sour you on what is a fantastic and, yes, world title caliber, fight. It's also a rematch as these two met in 2012 with De Bonte taking a decision win.
The Welterweight division is one that has not traditionally been featured in kickboxing. As a result, it doesn't feature the kind of name recognition fighters you see elsewhere. This fight is a good example of that. Neither De Bonte or Karapetyan are particularly well known, and that's a shame because they absolutely should be. Both are supremely talented technicians who are woefully underrated. Where the Heavyweight fights on this card have the potential for some wild action, this is one for the technical purists.
#2 ranked Karapetyan comes in to this fight off a career high win over highly decorated veteran Artur Kyshenko at Glory 14. He's 3-1 in Glory with that one loss coming against Holzken (unfortunately, that Holzken fight is the only Karapetyan fight shown on Spike, so it is all some know of him). Karapetyan is a 10 year veteran who has fought many big names in Europe. A bit inconsistent over the years, he seems to have found a real groove in Glory, and has looked very impressive. Stylistically, Karapetyan is an extremely crisp, clean fighter with a high emphasis on technique. His strikes are precise and constant - an unending barrage of blows. What he is not is a power puncher, with the vast majority of his wins coming via decision. Karapetyan wins by applying more pressure and being more exact than his opponents, overwhelming them and winning the point battle. His style has qualities of Giorgio Petrosyan in it.
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De Bonte is similarly a solid technician with a background in the European scene. He comes in off a win over L'houcine Ouzgni, who himself holds 2 wins over Nieky Holzken. Based on that, it certainly would be fair to argue that De Bonte should be #1 in the world at Welterweight. As I said, De Bonte is also a technical fighter, who does an excellent job stringing his strikes together into combinations. What sets him apart from Karapetyan is his size. De Bonte is big for the division, and he uses that size to generate power, ending his combos with big shots that can drop an opponent if landed clean. He will easily have the power advantage here.
If there is a weakness in De Bonte's game, it is his willingness to engage in a shoot out, and to get himself into bad positions. De Bonte can get trapped against the ropes, and can abandon his technical game in order to blast his way out. That has worked for him at times, but it is also how Murthel Groenhart KO'd him in De Bonte's Glory debut at Glory 2.
For this fight, De Bonte will need to stay off the ropes. Karapetyan is good at using his offense to move opponents around, and if he pushes De Bonte into the ropes, he will be able to land a lot of shots on him. The trouble for Karapetyan here is that this is a 5 round championship fight. I have no doubt that Karapetyan can keep up his pace for 5 rounds, but he doesn't have the power to end it, and can he go that long without allowing De Bonte to land some heavy shots? I don't think he can.
Prediction: Marc De Bonte by KO