This Saturday night GLORY stages its double-header event at The Forum at Los Angeles, California.
GLORY 17 LOS ANGELES airs live on SPIKE TV from 8pm ET and features a four-man Featherweight Contender Tournament plus Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic rematching Jarrell Miller and a key lightweight contender battle between Ky Hollenbeck and Andy ‘The Machine' Ristie.
The action then moves to pay-per-view with the GLORY: LAST MAN STANDING card.
Three world titles are on the line: the winner of the Middleweight Contender Tournament will be crowned champion at 185lbs, Daniel Ghita and Rico Verhoeven are disputing the vacant World Heavyweight Championship and welterweight champion Marc de Bonte is defending the strap against Canadian contender ‘Bazooka' Joe Valtellini.
Daniel Ghita (50-10-0, 39 KO's) vs. Rico Verhoeven (43-9-0, 10 KO's)
World Heavyweight Championship
Last Man Standing PPV
Dave Walsh: This is, for GLORY, the equivalent of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos. I mean that only in the way that these are the two best Heavyweights in the world meeting each other for the second time.
Daniel Ghita was the guy that quickly rose to prominence a few years ago by turning what was primarily a low-kick-oriented style to one of precision, powerful strikes. There have been a few bumps in the road for Ghita of late, but he's still one of the very, very best.
Verhoeven is an interesting case. He made his debut in the big leagues when he was a younger, less complete fighter and not many saw much in him. His movements were very labored, mechanical and stiff, which led to his strikes not having the gusto that they should when they connect.
Then something crazy happened, he fought Semmy Schilt and found himself able to not only survive against him, but do well against him, and everything else fell into place. All of a sudden Verhoeven was the fighter that everyone wanted him to be and now he's a favorite against Daniel Ghita.
My heart still says Daniel Ghita walks away with this after all of his ups and downs, but Rico Verhoeven is undeniably on a roll.
Fraser: Ghita vs. Verhoeven I was a classic underdog story, arguably the best kickboxing fight of 2013, with Rico Verhoeven toppling the heavy-handed, brutally powerful Ghita.
Now, Verhoeven has a chance to prove that he is at the top to stay. To do so, he'll need to use his technique to defeat Ghita's power-game.
O'Regan: I really can't call this one. Their first fight was incredibly close and this rematch has so much heat. I'm going to say either Ghita by KO or Verhoeven by decision. This could well end up being the Fight of the Year 2014 or the KO of the Year 2014. Or both.
Stetz: With 39 of his 50 career wins by knockout, Ghita possesses dangerous power in both his feet and his hands.
Verhoeven has gone the distance in ten straight fights. But while the former sparring partner of Ghita may not have a lot of KO's under his belt, he does know how to strategize and win fights.
It will be very interesting to see how Ghita responds after losing to Verhoeven in the GLORY 11 tournament final. Both have gone back and forth in the media about one another and tempers should be flaring come fight night.
Marc De Bonte (87-11-1, 28 KO's) vs. ‘Bazooka' Joe Valtellini (11-2-0, 10 KO's)
World Welterweight Championship
Last Man Standing PPV
Stetz: Valtellini, 29, is ranked #2 despite just 12 pro fights. "Bazooka Joe" is known for his explosive power and attacking his opponents with debilitating low kicks.
The Canadian fighter is also a High School teacher works with children who have special needs and teaches Phys Ed.
Valtellini lost to the No.1-ranked GLORY welterweight, Nieky Holzken in the tournament final at GLORY 12 in a fight many publications have called "Fight of the Year" for 2013.
De Bonte comes with more of a technical approach, while Valtellini will be attacking and trying to press and impose his will. This should make for a very entertaining welterweight title fight.
I think Valtellini wins by TKO in the fourth round to become the new GLORY welterweight champion.
Fraser: This is the first welterweight title defense for newly crowned champion De Bonte. It's also a supremely technical affair between two masters of the craft.
De Bonte won the belt against Karapet Karapetyan, while Valtellini looked very good making it to the finals of the Glory 13 Tokyo tournament. Both are young fighters who could be at the top for quite a long time - this is a great stylistic fight for the purists.
Walsh: What we've got in this fight is two guys who have never had the huge accolades but are now fighting for the GLORY Welterweight Championship. That is awesome.
De Bonte doesn't get the respect that he deserves. He is really good though. Look at his 2013 win over ‘Aussie' Ougzni: De Bonte spent his entire career floating between weight classes until he got to GLORY, found his home weight, then annihilated the guy that many saw as the best in the world.
He was left out of the GLORY 13 Welterweight Tournament in favor of Raymond Daniels then had two title fights with Nieky Holzken delayed.
The second time, Holzken was replaced by Karapet Karapetyan, which meant De Bonte was fighting his training partner for the vacant title at GLORY 16 DENVER. That was a nightmare fight for him but he got the split-decision.
Valtellini was a guy that not many people knew about before he showed up in GLORY. His fight with Holzken in the final of the GLORY 13 tournament was crazy and super-close. It was named Fight of the Year contender by anyone who really matters.
I think that Valtellini has the right skills to punch holes in de Bonte's game and to walk away victorious.
Andy ‘The Machine' Ristie (41-4-1, 21 KO's) vs. Ky Hollenbeck (46-3, 23 KO's)
Lightweight contender fight
GLORY 17 LOS ANGELES, Spike TV, co-headline bout
Fraser: Ristie's defeat of Giorgio Petrosyan and subsequent loss to Davit Kiria have opened up this division. The winner here will be in immediate title contention in what is historically one of kickboxing's deepest divisions.
Ristie needs to rebound from the Kiria loss and recapture that high-energy magic he showed at GLORY 12 while Muay Thai stylist Hollenbeck is out to show that he is one of the great American prospects.
Walsh: Ky is a guy who has been around the American Muay Thai scene for a while now and spoken about as one of the best, but has never been spoken of as the best because he gets overshadowed by names like Joe Schilling and Kevin Ross.
GLORY has given him a chance to stand out on his own and he's looked fantastic. This fight is his chance to show the world what he's made of.
This fight was supposed to happen at GLORY 14 ZAGREB for the vacant title but Hollenbeck was forced to pull out and Ristie went on to fight Davit Kiria, who staged an incredible comeback to beat Ristie in the fifth round and be crowned the unlikely GLORY Lightweight Champion.
Both Ristie and Hollenbeck have been around for a while in their respective scenes and have had a ton of hype around them, only to never get that breakthrough moment.
Ristie got that moment last year when he knocked out the #1 and #2 guys in the division in a tournament. Of course, as we saw in the Kiria fight, that was fleeting.
I think that Ky shocks a lot of hardcore kickboxing fans with a win over Ristie and we all get to see how unpredictable Lightweight really is.
Stetz: Ristie, 32, is one of the biggest and most athletic fighters in the lightweight division. Unorthodox and with a penchant for throwing powerful knee strikes, he shocked the kickboxing world after handing Giorgio Petroysan his first ever KO loss at GLORY 12.
The former middleweight then knocked Robin Van Roosmalen out in the final to win the tournament.
However, fortune was not on the Dutch-Surinamese fighter's side against Kiria at GLORY 14. After dominating the first three rounds he faded and was knocked out in the fifth.
Hollenbeck is known to be aggressive and has considerable punching power for his weight class. In a sport that is still dominated by Europeans, Hollenbeck will again be looking to prove that Americans stand with the best in the world.
Ristie needs to get back in the win column if he wants another shot at the lightweight belt.
This fight will be filled with aggression and should be a great display of violence and athleticism. I doubt very highly that it goes the distance.
I'll give the edge to Ristie here in what should be an absolute barn burner. Ristie wins by 2nd round TKO.
O'Regan: I've wanted to see this fight for a while now. These are both contender-level guys and are the two most unorthodox fighters in the division right now.
Hollenbeck has proved that he can beat fighters who have that typical Dutch style of forward-pressure and clean, constant combination work.
Now he has Ristie, who is both as awkward as they come and one of the hardest hitters in the division.
I think Ristie is going to press forward and look to sneak that KO shot in there while Hollenbeck tries to shut him down with his physically strong clinch game, then looks to hit one of his trademark spinning back-fists on the break.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (22-8, 12 KO's) vs. Jarrell Miller (22-1, 10 KO's)
GLORY 17 LOS ANGELES, Spike TV, headline bout
Stetz: This fight is hard to gauge. The two fighters battled mostly in the clinch the first time out and the rematch could look very similar, or Cro Cop could try to throw more leg kicks than he did the last time and try to mix it up.
Miller hasn't had a kickboxing match in a while, but his hands are still very dangerous and he is a better boxer than he was last time out. I'm not expecting a great and entertaining fight, but it's still possible.
Miller is the much younger fighter and barring getting cracked with a surprising high kick, I think he will be able to weather the storm of Cro Cop's kicking game, land more out of the clinch breaks, and tag the Croatian enough times to sway the judges in his favor. Miller wins by unanimous decision.
O'Regan: Miller has questioned CroCop's workrate in recent fights and I think he has a point. This one is going to be a question of activity. CroCop is the better kickboxer but he's 39 now - has he got the energy to outwork Miller?
The referee won't let the fight tie up in the clinch anywhere near as much as was permitted in their 2013 fight under the K-1 banner, so clean striking will be the order of the day. CroCop looked good in his last fight but age is really on Miller's side here.
Prediction: CroCop wins by KO, insanely powerful 2001-era left head kick, ten seconds into the first round. Golden ribbons rain down from above; fireworks bejewel the Los Angeles night sky.
Why? Because I am a massive Cro Cop fan and will never ever pick against him, that's why.
For more detailed previews of this Saturday's GLORY fights, check out Fraser Coffeen's individual fight breakdowns here.
For details on the event, broadcast and pay-per-view visit GloryWorldSeries.com