Gabriel Varga is once again the featherweight champion of the world.
The Canadian reclaimed the belt from Serhiy Adamchuk over the course of five difficult rounds in the main event of GLORY 32 VIRGINIA. Adamchuk took the belt from Varga at GLORY 25 MILAN and this was Varga's first fight under the GLORY banner since then, making it for him an instant rematch.
Adamchuk's November win over Varga was not without controversy however. The young Ukrainian received numerous warnings from the referee for excessive clinching but was not deducted a point. Had he been docked, the final tally would have resulted in a draw and Varga keeping the belt, instead of it changing hands via a narrow decision win.
Varga was particularly annoyed by a cut he received during one of the clinches, complaining that Adamchuk was leading with the head. The cut did not hugely impact the fight but was a concern as cuts easily get wider in fights and can cause the doctor to intervene and stop the bout.
Concern had been expressed that Varga and Adamchuk have styles which cancel each other out and that the Virginia rematch would be a rerun of the first meeting. You can imagine Varga's delight then when in the very first round Adamchuk's head collided with his during a clinch entry and opened a cut over his right eyebrow which caused the doctor to come over and take a look at it.
Fortunately the cut wasn't too bad, but it lent weight to the theory that this second fight would be a replica of the first. Once the doctor cleared him to continue Varga heaved a sigh and went to work at a faster pace, clearly thinking that he might need to try and get Adamchuk out of there early in case the cut deteriorated further the longer the fight went on.
Maybe that was the catalyst which made for a different fight. Whatever it was, this one did not replicate the first. Clinching was still an issue at times, when the shorter Adamchuk would seek safety against the taller fighter, but Varga had prepared responses this time. He had a neat way of leaning Adamchuk over to one side to bring his head into range for a knee, which made the clinch a much less safe place for the Ukrainian.
The second round had some good exchanges and saw Varga putting the pressure on Adamchuk. The key moment came when Varga rolled under an Adamchuk punch and came up with a left hook which landed flush and dropped the defending champion. This is apparently the first knockdown Adamchuk has suffered in professional competition and was a huge confidence boost for Varga.
Adamchuk came back strong in the following rounds, deploying his infamous trickery to good effect numerous times. Varga had his own playbook wide open as well though; when the fight was in full flow there was some very high level stuff going on. Adamchuk's leg kick setups in particular are a lesson any fighter can learn from.
Things were closely contested until the final bell and they went to the judges. One had it a draw, the other two had it for Varga, making him the winner by majority decision. He now takes the belt back to Canada with him, a home it will recognize from its last stay there, and waits for GLORY to produce the next featherweight contender.
Gabriel Varga def. Serhiy Adamchuk, Majority Decision, R5 (48-47, 48-46, 48-48)