Saturday June 21, Bloody Elbow presents fight coverage of the Glory Last Man Standing PPV. Last Man Standing airs live on PPV, Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. ET, and is preceded by Glory 17 Los Angeles live on Spike at 8:00 p.m. ET. We will have live fight night coverage and discussion right here. Here, we break down the Glory Last Man Standing card in our fight by fight preview.
The big draw for the PPV is the Last Man Standing Middleweight tournament. Glory has been running four man tournaments every show for some time - here they bring back the traditional single night eight man tournament. Eight of the best will step up, seven will lose, one will walk away the first ever Glory Middleweight champion. Here are the match-ups.
#1 ARTEM LEVIN (47-4-1 Overall; 3-1 Glory) vs. #7 ALEX PEREIRA (13-1 Overall; 2-0 Glory) - Quarterfinal
Ranked #1 in the world, Russian standout Levin has been the uncrowned champion of the division for some time. A decorated Muay Thai champion, he was the favorite to win the four-man Glory 10 tournament last year but was upset by Joe Schilling in a controversial extra round decision. He's since bounced back with a good win in Denver. Levin has a rather unconventional style, as you will often see him with his hands down, goading his opponent into a fight. He goes into this tournament looking for the world championship and revenge for his Glory 10 loss.
Brazil's Pereira earned this spot by winning the Glory 14 Zagreb Middleweight Contender tournament. An underdog in that event, former professional boxer Pereira punched his ticket with a brutal KO of Dustin Jacoby and a hard fought win over the world-class Sahak Parparyan. One of the tallest fighters in the division, Pereira will look to use his height and deceptive power to score another upset tournament victory.
It's possible I am severely underrating Pereira here, but this is pretty clearly Levin's fight to lose. He's arguable the best in the tournament, while Pereira is still developing as a fighter. Levin should have his way here. Artem Levin by decision
#4 FILIP VERLINDEN (42-11-1 Overall; 4-3 Glory) vs. #8 MELVIN MANHOEF (47-11 Overall; Glory Debut) - Quarterfinal
Belgian fighter Verlinden is an accomplished veteran who has fought at the highest levels of the sport. An incredibly durable fighter, Verlinden has gone the distance with the world's very best, including Tyrone Spong, Danyo Ilunga, and Remy Bonjasky. Verlinden has fought more of his career in the higher weight classes, often at a disadvantage due to either being outsized or putting on unnecessary mass to compete at Heavyweight. His 4-3 Glory record is more of an indication of him fighting out of his weight class than his actual talent. At Glory 15, he dropped down to Middleweight and looked good, taking a decision win to begin his Middleweight campaign. Gokhan Saki has shown that a fighter dropping down in weight can make a big impact. Can Verlinden replicate that success here?
Melvin "No Mercy" Manhoef is a veteran fighter who has competed for K-1, Strikeforce, and many more. This ferocious pitbull of a fighter made a name for himself in both MMA and kickboxing through his extremely heavy hands and brutal style. Just how heavy are Manhoef's infamous hands? In 2008, he KO'd Mark Hunt in just 18 seconds. Think about that for a minute. Manhoef is a longtime protégée of Mike Passenier and the superb Mike's Gym. He's a ferocious fighter, and even though he may be in the latter stages of his career, his power still absolutely makes him a danger.
Pretty clearly one of two things will happen here - Manhoef will be let off the chain, his fists will fly, and he'll KO Verlinden, or the more technical Verlinden will stay on the outside and use his kicks to take a decision win over No Mercy. My heart says the former. My brain says the latter. Filip Verlinden by decision
More Glory Fight Previews:
#2 JOE SCHILLING (16-5 Overall; 2-1 Glory) vs. #5 SIMON MARCUS (39-0-1 Overall; Glory Debut) - Quarterfinal
Los Angeles-based Schilling is an experienced Muay Thai fighter who has held multiple world titles. Schilling has done a good job transitioning those Muay Thai skills over to Glory's ruleset and is able to throw nice power shots. He scored a huge upset win when he beat Kengo Shimizu and Artem Levin to become Glory's first Middleweight Tournament winner, though lost some of that momentum in his subsequent Glory 12 loss to Wayne Barrett. An aggressive and dynamic fighter, Schilling will have big crowd support here in his hometown.
Schilling's opponent is a huge signing for Glory whose record speaks for itself. 40 fights, no losses. Marcus holds wins over tournament participants Levin, Schilling, and Verlinden plus numerous high-level wins literally all over the world. The big question mark with Marcus will be how he adjusts to Glory. Like Schilling, he comes from a Muay Thai background, and though he has fought in varied rulesets in the past, he is far less experienced with Glory rules. This is particularly notable for Marcus, as his clinch work is his greatest weapon in Muay Thai. But make no mistake, if he can successfully make the needed adjustments, this multi-time world champion could very well take Glory gold back to Canada on his first night in the organization.
This is actually the third fight between these two rivals. Marcus leads the series 2-0, though there was some controversy surrounding his first win. That controversy, plus some heated talk between the two, has led to considerably animosity between these two men over the years, so expect this to be a heated affair. Though Marcus has those two wins over Schilling, both were under Muay Thai rules. Still, Marcus has great skills. He will push forward with heavy single shots that will hurt Schilling. If Schilling can push the pace and use his combos, he can reverse his fortune, but Marcus's power and deliberate pace should be the difference maker. Simon Marcus by decision
#3 WAYNE BARRETT (4-0 Overall; 3-0 Glory) vs. #10 BOGDAN STOICA (38-5 Overall; Glory Debut) - Quarterfinal
Don't let the record of Wayne Barrett fool you - this American fighter is a serious threat. An experienced amateur boxer, karate fighter, and Muay Thai stylist, Barrett made his professional debut just last year, and has fought all but one of his pro fights under the bright lights of Glory. His Glory run includes two major highlight reel KO's and a win over Joe Schilling, who was fresh off his own tournament victory; a potential Schilling vs. Barrett rematch is one of the big stories to watch for here. Thanks to his amateur experience, Barrett fights with the confidence of a veteran fighter. His technique is solid, and he has big power that he can unleash when needed.
The "Bucharest Bad Boy" Bogdan Stoica is a product of the excellent kickboxing scene in Romania. There, alongside his brother and fellow Glory fighter Andrei Stoica, Bogdan earned quite a reputation thanks to his fearsome power and exciting style. In 2012, a motorcycle accident nearly ended Stoica's career, but he has since made a full recovery and is back to his hard-hitting ways. Watch out for his high-flying antics and his ability to end a fight at any given moment.
Despite having considerably more fights, Stoica is the decided underdog here, as Barrett is the superior all around fighter. Stoica's best chance is an early assault for the quick KO, so expect a fast start from him. But Barrett should be crafty enough to deal with that, then dish out his own offense for the KO. Wayne Barrett by KO
SEMIFINALS & FINALS
For semifinal #1 I have Artem Levin vs. Filip Verlinden. Verlinden is a good enough veteran that he will be able to deal with Levin's odd style and force him into an actual kickboxing match. He'll make this close - maybe even forcing an extra round, but in the end, Levin is too good and should take another decision win.
Semifinal #2 for me is Simon Marcus vs. Wayne Barrett in a great fight. Again, assuming Marcus can adjust his game for Glory, he will bring too much to the table for the less experienced Barrett, but it should make for a fantastic clash. One potential storyline to keep an eye on though is Marcus's endurance. He's been in single night tournaments before, but I expect the Schilling fight (and this fight) will both be tough physical outings for him. The accumulated damage of the night could catch up to him.
Finals: Artem Levin vs. Simon Marcus in a rematch from a much anticipated Muay Thai fight last year. Marcus took the decision win there, again heavily relying on his superb clinch work to get the job done. With that taken away, he'll need to keep pushing Levin back, landing those heavy blows, and sneaking in individual knees off the clinch whenever he can. I see him keeping Levin off his game and pulling off the upset tournament win.
Prediction: Simon Marcus wins the Middleweight title