“I told you! I told you I was going to do it!” said new featherweight champion and GLORY record-setter Robin van Roosmalen as he left the ring following his win over Gabriel Varga in the main event of the GLORY 34 DENVER SUPERFIGHT SERIES card.
The card aired live on UFC FIGHT PASS and legions of fans around the world watched live as Van Roosmalen put on a career-best performance and showed what high-level kickboxing is all about. Varga himself is also a master technician but he could not match Van Roosmalen for ferocity in tonight's fight.
Van Roosmalen set a high pace from the outset and Varga matched him, making the first round a full-contact ballet of technical kickboxing. But by the end of the round Van Roosmalen was clearly outlanding the defending champion and taking control of the bout.
Less than a minute into round two Van Roosmalen was rewarded with his first knockdown of the fight. He misdirected Varga to open his defense up and then thundered an uppercut into his jaw and dropped him. Ninety seconds later he did it again, herding Varga onto the ropes and taking his attention low with a body shot before crashing another right uppercut in.
Things actually improved for Varga in the third round as he rallied and had some good moments of his own, including a superb push-kick to the jaw which stopped Van Roosmalen in his tracks and briefly checked his forward pressure. Varga's knee up the middle was also dangerous throughout. But for the most part the forward pressure was simply relentless and that, coupled with the constant and varied output, ground Varga down.
Van Roosmalen, cornered by his father and coach Wilhelm, put on a textbook display of how to break an opponent down. He constantly works multiple target areas – inside the lead leg, the left side of the body, and the head – and when Varga would move his focus to defending one area, Van Roosmalen would simply change tack and start working a different target.
The result was that by the fourth round Varga's lead leg was purple from the knee upwards, inside and out, and he was wearing a huge welt under his left eye. Van Roosmalen cranked up the pace, merciless, and Varga endured a pretty torrid time of it, fighting off the back foot and being forced backwards around the ring.
It looked like another knockdown may be on the cards but then the round ended. The fighters returned to their corners and Varga clearly needed a miracle if he was going to win. But his corner had seen enough. They didn't see a miracle being likely and so they made the decision to pull their man out of the fight. Robin Van Roosmalen became the new featherweight champion of the world.
“I told you I was going to do it. I told everyone I was going to become the first fighter to win belts in two GLORY weight-classes and I did it. Gabriel Varga is a great fighter, a really great fighter, but I knew from the first round that I had it,” he said backstage afterwards.
“Next, I want to go after my lightweight belt again. I lost it to Sittichai in my last fight but that decision was bulls—t and I want my belt back. I'm going to hold two belts at the same time.”
Robin Van Roosmalen def. Gabriel Varga, TKO, R4