This fight had the makings of a war from the moment it was announced. Wilnis and Marcus had met once before, in the final of the GLORY 20 DUBAI tournament, with Marcus taking a decision win. Ever since then, some bitterness has bubbled away between the two.
Marcus went on to win the title at GLORY 27 CHICAGO, former champion Artem Levin forfeiting the belt when he walked out of the ring in frustration. Marcus said he took “great satisfaction in making Levin break mentally”. Wilnis disagreed, saying Marcus “got the belt for free”.
The comment rankled with Marcus and he fired back, calling Wilnis “a B-level fighter” and saying his comments were “loser talk”. The back and forth continued all through the build-up to tonight's fight, with both promising to teach the other a lesson on fight night.
Things took very little time to heat up. The feeling-out process lasted about four seconds before they both clicked into top gear and began blasting each other with huge power shots. Bombs were traded back and forth relentlessly and it quickly became obvious that the fight would not be going the distance.
Marcus looked like the aggressor because he kept pressing forwards with right hands, left hooks and knee strikes to the midsection. Wilnis was happy with that though, as it was making Marcus' defense porous and allowing him to plow big punches of his own through on the counter-attack.
Countering is something Wilnis does very well. His leg kick flies out in response to almost any attack that comes anywhere near to touching him. According to FightMetric statistics he is one of the most effective leg-kickers in GLORY, throwing high volume and landing somewhere around 80% of them.
Leg kicks are a long-term strategy though, usually paying off towards the latter end of a fight when the opponent's leg can no longer take a hammering. Tonight's fight would be decided in more immediate fashion when Marcus' relentless attacking turned his defense from porous to almost non-existent, abandoned in favor of all-out attack.
Wilnis was able to first of all rock him, then turn the tables and back him up. Towards the end of the second round he had Marcus backed into a corner under heavy fire. A right hand landed flush on Marcus' jaw and he began showboating in response, rocking his head around wildly as if mocking Wilnis. But the referee saw something and jumped in to administer a count. The crowd questioned this move audibly but Marcus notably did not protest it.
In the third round Wilnis picked up where he left off, hitting Marcus with everything but the kitchen sink. Strategy went completely out of the window for Marcus as pride took over. He was determined to make a display of being unaffected and unafraid and that led him to marching forwards with his hands by his waist and winging bombs from there.
It was a mistake. Wilnis dropped him for his second count of the fight. Marcus jumped back to his feet and took an eight count. Instead of playing it safe he went right back to marching at Wilnis and into a heavy exchange. This time he was sent staggering across the ring and almost skidded out from under the bottom rope, leading to his second count of the round.
Back on his feet once more, pride completely took over for Marcus. He was seeing red and went charging at Wilnis. The result was inevitable – Wilnis was waiting for him and delivered the final blows which would put Marcus down, end the fight and take the belt from around his waist. The referee stepped in to wave the fight off under the three knockdown rule and Jason Wilnis became GLORY middleweight champion of the world one minute and fourteen seconds into the third round of the fight.