Nieky Holzken's return to his home country didn't go as expected. He still left the sold-out arena as GLORY champion.
The Netherlands native retained his welterweight title against countrymen Murthel Groenhart via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 49-46) in the main event of GLORY 26 on Friday in Amsterdam. The scores will come under scrutiny since statistically Groenhart outlanded Holzken. Holzken might have won three rounds, but scoring four for him, as one judge did, is questionable.
Holzken, 31, has won eight straight and has never lost a GLORY fight. He dropped the welterweight belt last year due to injury and won it again by beating Raymond Daniels in August with former champion Joseph Valtellini on the shelf.
Groenhart, 29, talked a lot of crap about Holzken heading up to the bout and backed up all of it. He clearly won the second and third rounds, cutting angles, countering and landing with leg kicks and jabs. Groenhart, known for his athleticism, fought a cerebral and tactical fight, but still did not come away with the victory.
In the other title fight in GLORY's first event in Amsterdam, Rico Verhoeven crushed Benjamin Adegbuyi via knockout at 2:12 of the first round. Verhoeven dominated the first two minutes and absolutely knocked Adegbuyi cold with an overhand right against the ropes. It was the highlight-reel KO that the Dutchman has been looking for to raise his profile.
Mosab Amrani punched his ticket to a GLORY featherweight title shot with a contender tournament victory on the card. He beat Maykol Yurk by knockout at 1:51 of the first round. Amrani caught York with a perfectly placed left kick to the liver and it finished things.
In the tournament semis, Amrani beat Chibin Lim by TKO after two body shot knockdowns at 1:32 of the first round. Yurk defeated Shane Oblonsky by TKO at 1:30 of the second round. Oblonsky, a California native, was coming into the fight just three months after the death of his sister Michelle.