GLORY 57: Sitthichai Edges Out Grigorian

Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong successfully made a fifth title defense, continuing his two-year unbeaten streak with a decision victory over Marat Grigorian in the main event of GLORY 57 at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center in China.

This was the fourth time the two have faced each other in their career, with Sitthichai winning all of the fights by decision. Sitthichai scored a split decision victory in a title defense back at GLORY 36 in December 2016, a unanimous decision victory in a lightweight contender tournament final back at GLORY 28 in March 2016 and a majority decision in Kunlun Fight’s World MAX Tournament 2015 quarterfinals.

The two began the bout with a close, feeling out first round that saw Grigorian come out slightly more aggressive than the defending champion, working his kicks and combinations. Sitthichai, however, had a more defensive effort and counterstruck to win the round on four judges’ scorecards. Grigorian came back to put on more pressure, however, and worked the low kick. Sitthichai, however, still won three of the five judges’ cards in round two.

Sitthichai continued to eat the boxing and low kick combos from Grigorian in round three, but the champion was landing more of his strikes. Still, most of the judges gave the third to the challenger. While Sitthichai continued to land a decent volume in the fourth, the challenger clearly had damaged his leg with low kicks. Sitthichai, however, took three of the cards, bringing everything down to the fifth. And in the final round, Grigorian looked to have used up all his energy, as Sitthichai landed the strong strikes.

In an outcome similar to their GLORY 36 bout, while one judge scored the contest 48-47 in Grigorian’s favor, the remaining four judges scored it 48-47 for Sitthichai, allowing him to retain the title on a split decision.

Elsewhere on the card, Cedric de Keirsmaeker scored a victory over Kaiyin Zhang in the co-main event, winning by split decision. Lightweight Khaial Dzhaniev and featherweight Asa Ten Pow picked up wins of their own, while a bout between featherweights Chenglong Zhang and Nafi Bilalovski went to a No Contest after Bilalovski was knocked out by an illegal forearm shot.

In SuperFight Series and prelims action, a lightweight qualification tournament was held, with Liu Xu edging Wengshang Zhang in the finals, guaranteeing him a spot on the GLORY roster and making him a prospect to watch out for.

GLORY 57 Results:
GLORY Lightweight Championship: (c.) Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong def. Marat Grigorian via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
Welterweight: Cedric de Keirsmaeker def. Kaiyin Zhang via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Lightweight: Khaial Dzhaniev def. Julio Lobo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Featherweight: Chenglong Zhang vs. Nafi Bilalovski goes to a No Contest (accidental illegal forearm KO) (Rd. 1, 2:43)
Featherweight: Asa Ten Pow def. Yuhang Xie via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28, 27-30, 30-27)

GLORY 57 SuperFight Series Results:
Lightweight Qualification Tournament Final: Liu Xu def. Wenshang Zhang via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Featherweight: Chenchen Li def. Masaya Kubo via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Super Bantamweight: Jia Liu def. Zaza Sor Aree via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Lightweight Qualification Tournament Semifinal: Wenshang Zhang def. Li Deng via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Lightweight Qualification Tournament Semifinal: Liu Xu def. Chao Wang via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

GLORY 57 Prelims Results:
Lightweight Qualification Tournament Quarterfinal: Wensheng Zhang def. Lei Feng via split decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 28-29)
Lightweight Qualification Tournament Quarterfinal: Li Deng def. Alimjan Tursun via TKO (Rd. 1, 2:51)
Lightweight Qualification Tournament Quarterfinal: Chao Wang def. Tiehan Xu via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Lightweight Qualification Tournament Quarterfinal: Liu Xu def. Junchen Zhao via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

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