Only time will tell how many buys GLORY’s inaugural pay-per-view generated, but if one were to judge it on action alone, it was a rousing success.
The event featured a one-night eight-main middleweight tournament, and Artem Levin, the top-ranked middleweight and tournament favorite, was the star of the show. The 27-year-old Russian defeated three men in dominant fashion to become the promotion’s new 187-pound king.
Levin avenged his GLORY 10 upset loss to hometown favorite Joe Schilling in the finals of the tournament, held at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., defeating Schilling via unanimous decision. Levin said before the tournament that he wasn’t looking for revenge, but he helped erase the memory of Schilling shocking the kickboxing world when he beat Levin in the finals of the promotion’s one-night middleweight tournament in Sept. 2013. As a result, not only did Levin become the new GLORY middleweight champion, he also walked away with the $200,000 grand prize.
Levin avoided controversy late as he was deducted a point for holding with less than a minute left in the finals. However, that wasn't enough to force a sudden death fourth round, as Levin, who dropped Schilling with a spinning backfist in the first round, imposed his will throughout the fight.
That was the theme of the night for Levin, whose path to the finals was relatively easier than Schilling’s and it showed. He defeated Alex Pereira and Filip Verlinden via dominant unanimous decisions in the first two rounds.
Meanwhile, Schilling had to work a little harder on Saturday night. "Stitch ‘em Up," who was joined by MMA star Nick Diaz, a training partner of his, in the locker room, knocked out Simon Marcus viciously with a right hook in the sudden death fourth round of their quarter-final bout (pictured). He followed up that performance with a close split decision win over Wayne Barrett in the semi-finals, avenging his GLORY 12 loss to Barrett in November.
Speaking of Barrett, he scored arguably the highlight of the night when he stopped Bogdan Stoica mid-flying knee to knock him out in the third round of their quarter-final bout. Think Fedor Emelianenko's knockout of Andrei Arlovski at Affliction: Day of Reckoning in 2009.
Veteran MMA fighter Melvin Manhoef lost to Verlinden in the first round of the tournament, as well.
In other main card action, Rico Verhoeven proved his GLORY 11 tournament win over Daniel Ghita was no fluke, as the Dutch fighter withstood a stream of body kicks to defeat Ghita again via unanimous decision to become the GLORY heavyweight champion.
And Canadian Joseph Valtellini defeated Belgium’s Marc de Bonte via unanimous decision to become the new GLORY welterweight champion. "Bazooka Joe" rebounded from losing to Nieky Holtzken in the GLORY 13 welterweight tournament finals in December.