Glory's massive double header is complete. Glory 17 Los Angeles and Glory Last Man Standing featured a lot of action - 14 fights in total, 3 world title fights, nearly 6 hours of action. In short, there was a lot to see and a lot to unpack in the aftermath. So let's look both back at the night that was, and ahead to what comes next for Glory.
Here are the 10 fights we must see in the wake of Glory 17 / Last Man Standing:
1) Andy Ristie vs. Davit Kiria II
This is the fight I am most excited for in Glory's future. The first meeting between these two was epic, and was my Fight of the Year until Joe Schilling and Simon Marcus topped it last night. A rematch was always going to be exciting, but Ristie's 35 second KO of Ky Hollenbeck at Glory 17 only increased expectations. Kiria is a super tough opponent and Ristie could not put him down last time. Can he do it in a rematch? Last night says maybe he can, but the first fight says otherwise. It's a tough question, and one we need an answer to.
2 & 3) Nieky Holzken vs. Joseph Valtellini II; Nieky Holzken vs. Marc de Bonte
The Welterweight world title fight between Joseph Valtellini and Marc de Bonte was a tremendous fight, hurt for some by a controversial decision. The two men showed that they are absolutely among the sport's elite, but the man notable in his absence here was Glory 13 tournament champion Holzken. Until he fights for that Welterweight crown, there will always be questions over who truly deserves to be #1. A rematch with newly crowned champion Valtellini is likely next, and considering their first fight was my Fight of the Year for 2013, a rematch is certainly welcome. As for Holzken vs. de Bonte - that has been on again off again for quite some time. It's a fight that simply MUST happen, title or no title.
4) Daniel Ghita vs. Mirko Cro Cop
I imagine this is a pick that will make some unhappy, but it's the right fight to make. After his second loss to Rico Verhoeven, Ghita is now Urijah Faber - he'll beat every single contender you put in front of him, and he'll do so in an entertaining beating that makes you want him to be in a title shot, but he won't win that title shot. At least for now. That's a tough spot to be in. When you have that fighter, you put him in interesting fights, and this is an interesting fight. Is it likely to end in the destruction of Cro Cop? Sure. But there's only so long you can protect the veteran before you give him a fight like this, and in all honesty, you wouldn't get excited for this and the prospect, however slim, of Cro Cop pulling it off?
5) Rico Verhoeven vs. Errol Zimmerman III
Speaking of Verhoeven, the newly crowned Heavyweight champion should be up against Glory 16 tournament winner Zimmerman next. The two men are 1-1 against each other, and the Bone Crusher came into Glory 16 highly motivated and looked incredible there. A motivated Zimmerman is a scary Zimmerman, and while he'll be the underdog here, it's a fight to see.
6) Artem Levin vs. Joe Schilling III
Maybe another controversial choice, largely because of many fans' dislike of Schilling, but consider this: Schilling has fought on three Glory shows. In those three appearances, he's turned in a fight of the year contender against Levin at Glory 10, a fight of the year contender against Barrett at Glory 12, and my current fight of the year against Simon last night. Say what you will, but Joe Schilling puts on fun fights. This is a needed rubber match, and the two deserve to meet outside of a tournament at this point. Plus, it's totally going to happen, so you might as well embrace it.
7) Simon Marcus vs. Wayne Barrett
A downside to the 8 man tournament is that it eliminates all potential title challengers, leaving champion Levin short on credible opponents. This is a perfect fight to name the next title challenger after Schilling. Both men suffered the first losses of their pro careers at Last Man Standing, and either one could be viewed as a viable threat with a win here. Plus, it should just be a good fight.
8) Featherweight Title Tournament
If you tuned in late last night, you missed the show-stealing Featherweight contender's tournament, which was fantastic stuff. Featherweight is now the lone division without a champion in Glory, and it's time to remedy that, ASAP. A four man tournament is the solution. Obviously, Glory 17 winner Gabriel Varga is in, and you also must include #1 ranked Mosab Amrani and Glory 8 FW tournament winner Yuta Kubo. The fourth slot is a bit more open. Liam Harrison is a good pick, especially if it's in the UK; Masaaki Noiri would be great if he were to return to Glory, and I would love to see how Kevin Ross would do, particularly if the show is in the US.
9) Melvin Manhoef vs. Bogdan Stoica
10) Giorgio Petrosyan vs. Aikpracha Meenayothin
These two were not at Glory 17 or Last Man Standing, but just as Holzken's absence was felt during the Welterweight title fight, Petrosyan's absence was notable from the talk of Ristie's upcoming title shot. The former Lightweight king has not yet returned from a broken hand suffered in the Ristie fight, and it's high time we got him back in the Glory ring. While Ristie and Kiria rematch, get Petrosyan back in the ring for a return fight. A clash with Thailand's Aikpracha, who looked great in his Glory debut at Glory 14, would just be a hell of a fight.
That's it from me. What about you - what potential Glory fights are you most excited about?