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Aftermath: Controversy, contenders and shining new stars emerge from GLORY 21

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GLORY 21 SAN DIEGO went down on Friday night with fights in the heavyweight, middleweight and welterweight divisions. There is plenty of fallout to sift through from the event and it has thrown up some interesting future matches and discussion points.

Simon Marcus left roaring after Artem ‘The Lion' Levin retains title

The headline fight of GLORY 21 SAN DIEGO gave us one of the most bizarre backstage scenes in fight history as both Artem ‘The Lion' Levin and Simon ‘Bad Bwoy' Marcus were ranting angrily at officials after leaving the ring.

Levin retained the title by way of Majority Draw, possibly the least satisfactory way of winning a fight outside of disqualification. One judge actually scored the fight for Marcus but because the other two had it a draw, a Majority Draw verdict was rendered and that meant Levin kept the title belt.

Marcus cried out "This is bullshit!" when the verdict was announced and that was the sum total of his post-fight speech. Backstage he refused to speak to media, did not attend the post-fight press conference and was overheard "going mental" in his dressing room.

Levin was deducted a point in the third round for excessive clinching and this was the source of his ire. Had he not been deducted that point the two drawn scores (47-47) would have been wins in his favor, making for a Split-Decision victory.

The Russian was infuriated. "Every time I fight the referee takes one point! Why?! In future at the start of the fight I will tell the referee please, here is one point, take it away before we start, let me save you the trouble!" he fumed.

Unfortunately for Levin, he and his team are about the only people who think he should not have been docked a point. In fact a sizeable number feel he was lucky not to be docked a point again in the fifth and final round as his clinching tactic continued unabated.

The fight was a war at times but the constant clinching from Levin really broke the pace up. Ironically it was Levin who in the pre-fight talk had said that kickboxing was his world and that Marcus, a Muay Thai monster, would struggle under rules which prohibited clinch and elbow strikes.

Where does this leave us? Levin's next opponent is likely to be Joe Schilling, or the winner of a Joe Schilling vs. Filip Verlinden fight. As for Marcus, he will need to fight and win at least once to get another title shot, but both sides - plus GLORY CEO Jon Franklin - are already talking about a rematch.

From conversations with GLORY personnel, I get the impression that there will be a conversation between them and Levin about the meaning of the ‘active clinch' rule and the kind of performances the organization wants to see. Levin is an expert clincher and can be very damaging with it, but activity is the name of the game and token knee taps don't live up to the spirit of the rule.

Expect another fight between these two later in the year. Fingers crossed things will flow a bit better next time but don't count on it. Levin has his own way of doing things and doesn't take kindly to being told otherwise.


‘Real Deal' Daniels gives Baesman a raw deal

The win for Raymond ‘Real Deal' Daniels was expected but at the same time showcased the incredible skills he has. Daniels has probably the most unorthodox game in kickboxing - although Giga Chikadze is coming a close second on that score - and he is a difficult opponent for anyone.

The only two losses Daniels has in GLORY are to Joe Valtellini and Nieky Holzken, the champion and top contender respectively. Above him now in the rankings are Karapet Karapetyan and Alexander Stetcurenko at #2 and #3 respectively.

They seem like obvious choices for his next fight; taking out either one would be a huge statement for him. On the other hand, Daniels is a weird case of being both budding contender material and a fighter who is still learning the ropes when it comes to kickboxing, so I would have no objections to seeing him face another mid-tier opponent.

As for Justin ‘Raw Deal' Baesman, there is no shame in anyone losing to Daniels by way of one of his insane pieces o trickery. Even Holzken ate some back kicks from him and confessed afterwards they were incredibly painful.

For me, as Daniels has now stopped both Jonathan Oliveira and Justin Baesman with the same kick, a match between those two kind of makes sense. Oliveira has a much more straightforward fighting style and a fight between him and Baesman could well be an entertaining phone-booth kind of war.


Vigney blasts way through Heavyweight tournament but ‘Chopper' wins the war of words

Xavier ‘X-Man' Vigney is a giant of a man. He stands 6'8" and wears a size 17 shoe. ‘Chopper' Chi Lewis-Parry also stands 6'8" and is also massive. Pre-fight predictions had these two meeting in the final of the four-man tournament and they proved correct.

Vigney booked his slot in the final by starching the overmatched Maurice Jackson early in the first round. Jackson came to the ring with a 31-0 record which none of us have been able to verify. Judging by his style those wins are in point-karate rather than professional kickboxing. When Vigney started opening up, Jackson was quick to crumble.

Lewis-Parry had a much tougher time in his semi-final. Demoreo Dennis was the smallest fighter in the tournament but also probably the gamest. Lewis-Parry tried to make short work of him and instead ran onto a right hand that nearly ended his night early. Only when he calmed down and worked from distance did he find the way to open Dennis up and end his night with a massive right cross.

So, the final. ‘Chopper' had been baiting Vigney relentlessly in the build-up and created quite a lot of interest in himself in the process. Vigney had stewed in silence, the type to do his talking in the ring. It meant there was genuine bad blood in the fight and that lent it an edge.

As Vigney started to wear Lewis-Parry down the Briton's gas tank began running out. He also needs to work on his head movement because Vigney was catching him with a lot of straight shots (although to be fair Vigney also ate some hard jabs and crosses, but not in the volume Lewis-Parry did).

Winning the tournament books Vigney into the next Heavyweight Contender Tournament and that will have him facing the likes of Anderson ‘Braddock' Silva and Sergey Kharitonov, a stiff test but one he has the potential to meet.

I feel like Lewis-Parry coming runner-up was probably the right result for him; he's got star potential and has gone over really well with fans, but the fight with Vigney highlighted some areas for him to work on and now he has some time to sharpen those before he steps up to that contender level.

Jackson I would be surprised if we see in GLORY again, but Dennis acquitted himself well. In January he lost a close and controversial decision to Pat ‘HD' Barry and I would be quite interested to see that rematch take place in GLORY.


Late addition Giga Chikadze steals the show

GLORY does not have ‘Performance of the Night' or ‘Fight of the Night' awards. If they did, Chikadze would have been going home with pockets bulging. The show he put on against Ken Tran on the Superfight Series card was phenomenal, especially given that he took the fight on six day's notice.

Hailing from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, Chikadze is a very experienced lightweight (70kgs/155lbs) who has been pushing for a chance to fight for GLORY for some time. He used to be based in Holland but is now in California and trains with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, Huntington Beach.

Chikadze's kicking game is unreal. His variety, range, timing and speed were too much for the orthodox Tran, who quickly found himself bewildered, on the defensive and then on the floor in agony, in that order.

Tran gamely pressed forward against Chikadze but just didn't know how to deal with him. The flow of axe kicks, spin kicks, side kicks, rolling overhead kicks and general lower-limb violence was just too much.

Chikadze has decent hands too. It was these he used to set Tran up for the finish, making him cover his head then unleashing The Left Kick of Death to his body. One folded him up and put him down, a follow-on shot took him out for the count on the restart.

Debuts don't come much more impressive than Chikadze's. You can be sure the rest of the lightweight division has taken notice. Already he is talking about beating Robin van Roosmalen for the title and for my money it would not be at all unfair to throw him in at the deep end with a top-level contender fight. As for Tran, he will get another outing and at least he can be certain it won't be a nightmare style like Chikadze's.