GLORY Redemption: Verhoeven Survives True Test

In his return to his home country of the Netherlands, GLORY Heavyweight Champion Rico Verhoeven got his redemption. Verhoeven defeated Jamal Ben Saddik to retain his title in the main event of GLORY Redemption, which took place at the Ahoy Rotterdam.

Saddik is one of only two men to ever knockout Verhoeven, and this contest was anticipated to be nothing less than emotional. And that was evident from the opening bell, as both men actually traded headbutts early on in the clinch.

This was followed by a sight rarely ever seen, and one not seen in a while — Verhoeven actually being forced into retreat, as Saddik pummeled him around the ring. Saddik continued to out-strike the defending champion in round two. In fact, through two rounds, Saddik had landed 36 strikes compared to Verhoeven’s 20. But Verhoeven defended better in the second, and the bout was even at one round apiece.

A controversial moment came in the third, as Verhoeven attempted to throw a kick, he was caught with an overhand punch by Saddik, and his knees and gloves touched the canvas. However, the referee ruled that Verhoeven’s fall was due to a slip from the kick attempt and not Saddik’s punch, so there was no knockdown. Verhoeven would go on to sweep the third round on all five judges’ scorecards.

Fortunately for Verhoeven, it was also at this point where everything changed. Round four looked almost exactly like the first, except that it was Verhoeven chasing down Saddik this time around. And in the fifth, a point where Saddik had never gone before, Verhoeven rained down on the challenger with strikes in the corner, forcing the referee to administer a standing eight count. After the count, Verhoeven’s barrage continued until Saddik dropped down to the canvas and the referee stopped the fight.

The co-main event of GLORY Redemption saw a rematch of 2016’s Fight of the Year, as Michael Duut faced Danyo Ilunga. Ilunga entered the fight trying to not get into a war like the last fight at GLORY Collision, which saw Ilunga lose after being knocked down in the extra round. Ilunga seemed to live up to his word and employed perfect defense against Duut in the first.

Duut managed to catch Ilunga with a few shots in the corner but for some reason stopped and didn’t pursue the attack, which could have led to a knockdown. Ilunga was on wobbly legs late in the second round but was saved by the bell.

Then, in the third, all it took was one right hand from Ilunga to knock down Duut for the count and give Ilunga the knockout win.

In the first two featherweights bouts of the card, Chenglong Zhang came up short in his first GLORY appearance since winning the GLORY 46 tournament in China, as he fell to Bailey Sugden. Meanwhile, Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao scored a spectacular third-round knockout of Zakaria Zouggary to earn himself a future title shot.

GLORY Redemption Results (4:00 p.m. ET, PPV)
GLORY Heavyweight Championship: (c.) Rico Verhoeven def. Jamal Ben Saddik via TKO (Rd. 5, 1:10)
Light Heavyweight: Danyo Ilunga def. Michael Duut via TKO (Rd. 3, 2:26)
Featherweight: Bailey Sugden def. Chenglong Zhang via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Featherweight No. 1 Contender Bout: Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao def. Zakaria Zouggary via KO (Rd. 3, 4:09)

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