Badr Hari, often called the “bad boy” of kickboxing, made a successful return to the GLORY Kickboxing ring, defeating Hesdy Gerges in the main event of GLORY 51, which took place at the Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The two previously faced off against one another back in May 2010 during an It’s Showtime! event. The fight came to a controversial end in the second round, when after knocking Gerges down, Hari kicked the fallen Gerges, prompting an immediate disqualification.
Hari started firing away right off the bat from the opening bell of the re-match; meanwhile, Gerges focused more on his defensive work. Gerges stayed patient, but it seemed he was allowing Hari to pick and choose the spots he attacked. Gerges’ defense did show some positive marks, as he prevented Hari from landing much from short range. Gerges got Hari against the ropes and began to unload. Hari, however, managed to land a heel kick. Gerges followed up with some low leg kicks, which looked to hurt Hari once Hari was heading back to his corner.
Gerges turned things around early on in the second, applying more pressure and forcing Hari’s back to the ropes a couple of times. Gerges fired away once again, and while Hari was able to land in some shots of his own, Gerges was in control until it seemed fatigue settled in. Hari was then able to score up top on occasion until the end of the second.
Hari fired away early in the third round, but after about a minute both fighters looked to be tired. Bari, however, seemed to get more off until the end of the fight. The judges’ scorecards reflected that, as all five judges gave the bout to Hari with scores of 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
Hari praised Gerges after the bout and thanked kickboxing fans around the world. When asked about the possibility of a re-match with heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven, Bari said his performance tonight was his message to him.
GLORY 51 also featured a welterweight contender tournament, with Thongchai Sitsongpeenong and Eyevan Dananberg making it to the finals with split decision wins over Alan Scheinson and Jimmy Vienot, respectively. While Thongchai did more damage with leg kicks during the fight, it was Danenberg’s striking to the head and body that gave him the judges’ decision and tournament title.
Tomas Mozny scored a decision win over Daniel Skvor, and Alim Nabiyev defeated former GLORY Welterweight Champion Cedric Doumbe to become No. 1 contender to the GLORY Welterweight Title.
GLORY 51 Main Card (3:30 p.m., ESPN3):
Heavyweight Headline Bout: Badr Hari def. Hesdy Gerges via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Welterweight Contender Tournament Final Bout: Eyevan Danenberg def. Thongchai Sitsongpeenong via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Heavyweight: Tomas Mozny def. Daniel Skvor via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Welterweight Contender Tournament Semifinal Bout: Eyevan Danenberg def. Jimmy Vienot (30-27, 30-27, 28-29, 28-29, 29-28)
Welterweight Contender Tournament Semifinal Bout: Thongchai Sitsongpeenong def. Alan Scheinson via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29, 28-29, 29-28)
GLORY 51 SuperFight Series Card (1 p.m., UFC Fight Pass):
Welterweight Contender Headline Bout: Alim Nabiyev def. Cedric Doumbe via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Welterweight: Mohammed Jaraya def. Miles Simson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Lightweight: Tyjani Beztati def. Anil Cabri via TKO (Rd. 1, 2:17)
Featherweight: Massaro Glunder def. Victor Pinto via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Middleweight: Kevin van Heeckeren def. Bart Kroon via KO (Rd. 1, 2:48)