All week, Jarrell Miller told anybody who'd listen: he was going to avenge his controversial 2013 decision loss to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, and he was going to do it in style. But the Old Dog still had some fight left in him on Saturday, and at 39 years old, Filipovic stunned Miller for the second time in two years, taking a unanimous decision over the American at GLORY 17 despite fighting with a near 40-pound weight disadvantage.
Filipovic (23-8-0) started slow but he began to find his rhythm by the beginning of the second round, digging hard punches and kicks to Miller's ribs and working effective dirty boxing from within the clinch. Filipovic went to his trademark left high kick early and often, drawing a big nostalgic pop from the Los Angeles crowd each time. And while Filipovic never quite managed to land the hard shot on Miller (22-2-0) he was hunting for, this time the decision was far more clear-cut.
All three ringside judges scored the contest 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27 in favor of the legendary Croatian.
Yet while Filipovic's age-defying upset was indeed impressive, it was Gabriel Varga (25-2-0) who ultimately stole the show. The Canadian veteran defeated Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai (82-22-1) and Shane Oblonsky (9-3-0) in succession to emerge victorious from GLORY 17's four-man, one-night featherweight contender tournament.
Varga outlanded Sitmonchai by more than a 2-to-1 mark in the night's opening bout to take an easy 30-27 decision on the judges' scorecards. Though while the 29-year-old advanced into the finals, he did so with plenty of deep red and purple bruises decorating his left thigh -- pleasant reminders of Sitmonchai's relentless stream of low kicks.
By contrast, Oblonsky entered the final round far less worse for wear after soundly defeating Marcus Vinicius (9-3-1) in his semifinal bout. The American dropped Vinicius with a looping shot to the back of the head early in round one, then poured it on throughout the third frame to badly hurt the Brazilian and advance with three unanimous 29-26 scores.
Oblonsky ultimately ran out of steam, though, as Varga shined in the finals, pressuring his foe into the ropes and unloading a steady salvo of spinning strikes and wild looping exchanges. Oblonsky had his moments, but by the end of what developed into an electric and gutty contest, the verdict was clear: all three judges scored it for Varga -- 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 -- to earn the Canadian a spot in GLORY's upcoming featherweight championship tournament.
Elsewhere on the night, Andy Ristle (42-4-1) required just 35 seconds to rid the bitter taste left in his mouth from his recent loss to Davit Kiria. The Surinamese specialist waded inside of Ky Hollenbeck (46-4-0) and stunned the American with a hard left hook from the opening bell, then hung back and blasted Hollenbeck with another crisp left that sent the 27-year-old tumbling to the canvas for a decisive first-round knockout win.
For more, check out complete GLORY 17 results here.