On Friday night in Oklahoma GLORY Lightweight Champion Davit Kiria is set to make his first title defense against Dutch slugger Robin van Roosmalen in what will be the third time that these two men have met in the ring. What makes his fight so fascinating is that van Roosmalen holds not one but two victories over the Georgian Kiria, which has led to the world counting the champion out against the challenger.
Davit Kiria is a guy that, for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t be champion. I don’t mean that to insult him, I mean that because he has lost to Robin van Roosmalen twice already, which has kind of shut him out of being considered elite. On top of that, he has also lost to the great Giorgio Petrosyan. That means that Kiria could, at one time, only aspire to be the third best in the world. Of course, Andy Ristie shocked the world when at GLORY 12 he defeated both Robin van Roosmalen and Giorgio Petrosyan while Kiria watched from the back.
When Kiria met Ristie at GLORY 14 it was a foregone conclusion that Ristie would walk away champion. The thing is, nobody told Kiria that he was supposed to lose.
It was clear that Ristie was the aggressor throughout the bout and that he was aggressive, talented and had the skills to be the top guy in the division. You see, the thing about Kiria is that he is pretty small for the division and that his style is not as action-packed as guys like RvR or Andy Ristie. He’s a slower, more deliberate fighter who will every once in a while dazzle you with a crazy spinning kick from out of nowhere.
The last round of Kiria vs. Ristie was insanity. Just sheer, utter insanity.
Kiria is a bit of a slow starter. He trains with Semmy Schilt, which should come as no surprise because his style is incredibly similar to Schilt’s, he just lacks the god-given height and reach advantage that Schilt does, sadly. The thing is, these are five round fights for GLORY’s Lightweight Championship and against Ristie it was the last two rounds where Kiria really began to show not only signs of strength, but pure brilliance.
Suddenly the technical mastermind that was Andy Ristie found himself getting tagged and in trouble. This is what Robin van Roosmalen should be concerned with. He has defeated Kiria twice now, both times via decision through being more aggressive, but when it gets into the deep waters against Kiria that is when he really starts to shine. The problem with being aggressive is that fighters grow tired and the fact of the matter is, the last time that RvR saw a fourth round was in 2010 with a loss to Ajay Balgobind.
I’m willing to argue that we have seen the best Robin van Roosmalen in the past and that we’ve yet to see the best Davit Kiria just yet and that his win over Ristie will not only boost his confidence, but allow him to settle more into his style and be confident that in a five round fight he can be in the driver’s seat and to work his game.
This is why I’m so pumped up for GLORY 18 on Friday night and you should be as well. Many are going to see this as Kiria’s chance to prove that he’s the best, but honestly, he has nothing to prove.