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Glory 66 results and highlights: Cedric Doumbé defends title with KOTY contender

Check out this KO of the Year contender and more highlights from Glory 66.

Glory Kickboxing was back in action this weekend with a great card in Paris, featuring a trifecta of title fights and compelling matchups from top to bottom. Much to kickboxing aficionados’ delight, the card ended up delivering in the ring what it promised on paper.

In the main event, welterweight champion Cédric Doumbé was defending his title against top contender Alim Nabiev, the last man to beat him. In the first fight, Doumbé chose to fight on the backfoot, which allowed the taller Nabiev to use his boxing, stance switches and knees to take a close but clear decision. On Saturday, Doumbé used the more aggressive style he’s adopted since the loss to great effect. Doumbé’s pressure and his tremendous reach (despite giving up four inches in height, he still held a three-inch reach advantage) really thew off Nabiev’s usually great defense, he seemed to be unable to adjust to getting hit at a distance he’d deem safe against the vast majority of opponent.

Doumbé stunned Nabiev in the second round and then knocked him down with a right hook counter to a knee. Nabiev managed to beat the count, but his legs were gone and he should have been stopped then in my opinion but referee Paul Nichols allowed him to continue. Doumbé promptly went after him putting him down for good and sending the Parisian crowd into a frenzy. Doumbé has now avenged his only clear loss since 2015 and cemented himself as the undisputed best welterweight in the world.

In the co-feature of the evening, super-bantamweight champion and pound-for-pound queen Anissa Meksen also made short work of what was presumed to be a tough opponent in Sofia Olofsson. The French champion rocked and cut Olofsson with a beautiful left high kick early in the first. Though Olofsson was allowed to continue, she never seemed to really recover and with the cut worsened by a left hook, the doctor called a stop to the fight shortly afterwards. Meksen delivered an emotional post fight speech in which she said she thinks she has beaten every top fighter available, a tough assessment to disagree with. She is a truly exceptional fighter and one of the greatest to have ever stepped into a ring.

The last title fight of the evening pitted longtime light-heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov against the up and coming prospect Donegi Abena. The Russian champion let the bigger Abena tire himself in the first couple of rounds and took control of the late goings, but he seemed content to put himself just a notch above his competition. This lackadaisical approach almost cost him dearly in the fourth, when Abena brilliantly read Vakhitov’s tendency to slip to his right in southpaw, baiting him with a right hand into a left high kick. Vakhitov was able to ride out the fight and take a split but ultimately deserved decision, but he couldn’t really have complained much if it happened to go the other way. This was the second disappointing performance in a row for Vakhitov and his complacency lately doesn’t seem like the best recipe to keep his belt in the long term.

Elsewhere on the card, 23 year old Dutch-Morrocan welterweight Hamicha destroyed Adam Hadfield in under two minutes, stopping him with a nasty bodyshot. Doumbé called out Murthel Groenhart for a rubber match in his post fight interview but the prospect of a Doumbé vs Hamicha match up in the not too far future is extremely intriguing to me.

At light-heavyweight, Felipe Micheletti and Artur Gorlov beat Luis Tavares and Yegish Yegoian respectively in fights that weren’t much to write home about. The win might get Micheletti a shot at the belt and his size might pose a challenge to the champion. Stylistically, I’d probably be more interested in seeing Gorlov giving it a go but his previous defeats in Glory (a close split decision and a disqualification) might force him to get another win before he can hope for that.

Stoyan Koprivlenski spoiled Mohammed Jaraya’s return to lightweight, controlling him at distance with kicks and stopping him on cuts in the third round.

Antonio Plazibat and Nordine Mahieddine had a very fun heavyweight brawl. Mahieddine showed surprising speed for a man his size but Plazibat’s workrate ultimately prevailed on the judges card.

Top featherweight Aleksei Ulyanov easily read Japanese journeyman Masaya Kubo’s game and proceeded to give him a kickboxing lesson once he identified the left leg a the only threat.

On the prelims, Michaël Palandre threw a wrench in hyped prospect Vlad Tuinov’s Glory debut. Tuinov did well early with his powerful boxing, hurting Palandre multiple time with his right hand-left hook combo. Palandre managed to turn the fight around in the 2nd when he hurt Tuinov with a left middle kick. He kept hammering the body for the rest of the fight on his way to a split decision win. An excellent fight which puts him at 3-0 in Glory and should earn him a spot higher on the card next time out.

At middleweight, Matej Penaz rolled over Matthieu Cena and quickly sent him down 3 times for a TKO win. At 22 years old, the Czech is definitely one to keep an eye on.

William Goldie-Galloway showed heart and talent against Guéric Billet but he is probably just too small to deal with the physical impact of lightweights of this level. Billet sent him down with a brutal spinning back kick to the liver but Goldie-Galloway managed to get up and get back in the fight. Good win for Billet who is now 2-1 in Glory. I hope Goldie-Galloway gets another shot in Glory despite his 0-2 record and considers a drop in weight as he clearly is an interesting talent.

Super-bantamweight prospect Sarah Moussadak got a controversial unanimous decision win over newcomer Aurore Dos Santos. I disagree with the decision, but putting that aside the crowd was treated to a very nice prospect fight and I’m looking forward to seeing both fighters again.

A great card, as is often the case when Glory takes the trip to France. The organization now turns its eye towards the States, with their next card scheduled for July 5th in Orlando.