This GLORY 33 NEW JERSEY co-main event fight was a heavyweight contest with implications for the contender picture.
The established veteran Gerges is ranked #5 and a couple of wins would put him into a title contention. Inocente is a much newer name at the elite level and sits outside the top ten. A win over Gerges would rocket him up the rankings and into that possible future contender conversation.
Gerges is a warhorse in the old-school Dutch style, forever pressing forwards and looking to work high-low combinations over and over until the opponent breaks. His style is all about high volume and full power.
Inocente is almost the complete opposite. His style draws in large part from his childhood Capoeira base; the spin-kicks which that art is known for are his trademark weapon.
It was a key fight for the careers of both fighters and a lot was on the line. Both went in with well-defined gameplans, confident that they knew the weak points of their opponent, but the end result was far from definitive.
From the start, Gerges set about shutting Inocente's space down and denying him the room he needed to fully deploy his most dangerous kicks. His high level of output seemed like it was racking up points for him in every round.
Inocente took what chances he could with his spin kicks and made numerous efforts, though most fell short or detonated harmlessly on Gerges' guard. He had some successes here and there but on the whole seemed to be struggling to find the shot he really wanted.
For the most part Gerges seemed in control of the fight, so much so that Inocente at times appeared to be running out of ideas. So when the fight went the distance and to the judges' scorecards, it was widely expected that Gerges would be announced the decision winner.
Then, GLORY ring announcer Tim Hughes announced there was a split-decision. Suddenly the result was wide open. Sure enough, Inocente's name was the first to be announced, followed by Gerges'. Then it was Inocente's name again, declaring him the winner in the opinion of two out of three of the judges.
Gerges was absolutely furious and the amount of raised eyebrows around the ring suggested he was certainly not the only one who felt like a mistake had been made. He stormed out of the ring and into the backstage area, ripping his gloves from his hands and refusing – politely but heatedly - to talk to media who tried to ask him for comments.
The win is huge for Inocente and will move him far up the rankings and closer to the title shot he wants. It was by no means a bad performance from him but it was far from a clean-cut win. He will want to settle things in far more definite fashion in his next outing, which will surely be against another name opponent.