Simon 'Bad Bwoy' Marcus retained the GLORY World Middleweight Championship after a thrilling five-round war with Dustin Jacoby in the main event of GLORY 30 LOS ANGELES.
The clash was non-stop for the entire duration and will almost certainly make the nominations list for Fight of the Year at the end of 2016.
Jacoby found his way to the title shot by going on a five-fight winning streak – four of them being wins in four-man tournaments and all of them being inside the distance. The big-punching Denver man brought that heavy firepower into this fight as in all of his GLORY fights, throwing everything with bad intentions as he tried to end the fight decisively in his favor.
Marcus, a dominant champion in Muay Thai before crossing into kickboxing in 2014, showcased the incredible evolution he has undergone since that crossover, slipping, ducking and weaving under many of Jacoby's punches in a manner reminiscent of a professional boxer.
The Canadian-Jamaican also did excellent work with his body kick. A knockdown call against Jacoby in the first round was a little dubious but there was no arguing with the call in the fifth round: Marcus opened up Jacoby's defense perfectly then landed a huge kick directly across his midriff. Jacoby folded forwards and took a knee while he recovered.
Hard exchanges characterized the fight and even though the two ducked, dived and changed angles constantly, the pace and pressure from both was relentless. Also notable was the lack of clinching; Marcus won the title in February after former champion Artem Levin stormed from the ring in the wake of being docked two points for excessive clinching. In LA, Marcus wanted to make a point of showing that he is not the one trying to clinch with opponents.
Jacoby remained a threat in the fight until the final bell; he only needs to land one of those big punches to end a match instantly. Ultimately he wasn't able to find that shot or to outwork the surging Marcus, so he lost a unanimous decision. Even so, his stock rises – Jacoby, 0-0 as a kickboxer when he joined GLORY after winning a one-night tournament on 48 hours' notice, took on a multi-time world champion and gave him a real challenge.
Both now look forward to their next challenges. Jacoby aims to stay in the contender mix and cement himself as a top-tier middleweight while Marcus will take a rest then prepare for his next challenger. In pole position is Jason Wilnis, who won a decision over #1-ranked Joe Schilling in the main event of the Superfight Series card in Los Angeles that same night.