GLORY, the world's premier stand-up combat league, today announced that the headline bout of GLORY 54 Birmingham has been elevated to a world title fight.
Originally slated as a three-round superfight, GLORY heavyweight champion Rico "The King of Kickboxing" Verhoeven (53-10, 16 KO, fighting out of the Netherlands) will now defend his title against No. 7-ranked heavyweight Mladen "The Scorpion Sting" Brestovac (56-12-1, 35 KO, fighting out of Croatia) in a five-round championship bout at Genting Arena on Saturday, June 2.
"With this being our long-awaited return to the UK, we wanted to do something special for the fans in Birmingham," said Marshall Zelaznik, CEO, GLORY. "We'll have back-to-back title fights capping off what's sure to be an unforgettable night."
Zelaznik added: "When we approached the fighters about increasing the stakes and potentially going two more rounds, there wasn't a moment of hesitation from either side. Rico and Mladen are both ready to leave it all out there for GLORY gold and personally, I'm excited to see it."
A win by Verhoeven would mark his seventh title defense since capturing the belt in 2014.
Because GLORY 54 Birmingham now includes two five-round match-ups, the fight card has been reduced to four total bouts. The bout between undefeated lightweight “Super” Elvis Gashi (20-0, 10 KO, fighting out of the United States) and Blackpool's William Goldie-Galloway (fighting out of England) has been moved to GLORY 54 SuperFight Series, a now seven-fight card taking place earlier in the evening.
Russian Muay Thai champion Aleksei Ulianov (22-4-1, 7 KO, fighting out of Russia) has been added to GLORY 54 Birmingham, stepping in for Anvar Boynazarov, who is unable to compete. Ulianov will face 20-year-old Bailey “Bad Boy” Sugden (11-2, 2 KO, fighting out of England), a local favorite hailing from Newark.
The complete fight cards for both GLORY 54 Birmingham and GLORY 54 SuperFight Series can be found below:
GLORY 54 Birmingham
Heavyweight Headline Bout: Rico Verhoeven vs. Mladen Brestovac
Welterweight Title Co-Headline Bout: Harut Grigorian vs. Alim Nabiyev
Featherweight Bout: Bailey Sugden vs. Aleksei Ulianov
Featherweight Bout: Adrian Maxim vs. Chenglong Zhang
GLORY 54 SuperFight Series
Light Heavyweight Headline Bout: Danyo Ilunga vs. Fraser Weightman
Lightweight Co-Headline Bout: Christian Baya vs. Josh Jauncey
Welterweight Bout: Richard Abraham vs. Adam Hadfield
Lightweight Bout: Marat Grigorian vs. Liu Xu
Lightweight Bout: Elvis Gashi vs. William Goldie-Galloway
Welterweight Tournament Semifinal Bout 2: Mark Timms vs. Dawid Blaszke
Welterweight Tournament Semifinal Bout 1: Jamie Bates vs. Tommie King
Tickets for GLORY 54 Birmingham and GLORY 54 SuperFight Series are on sale now, available for online purchase at theticketfactory.com or by telephone at 0844 338 0338.