Vienot is a rising star of the Muay Thai scene in his native France and holds a WBC Muay Thai world championship belt. Nabiyev had originally been set to face Nieky Holzken at GLORY 45 HOLLAND but that fight was cancelled due to Holzken pulling out injured.
On paper this had all the makings of a great fight and it did not disappoint. Styles make fights and the two matched almost perfectly, Nabiyev being a forward-pressure fighter and Vienot being a counter-fighter who likes to play matador as his opponent walks onto him.
Vienot’s composure and technicality proved a nightmare for Nabiyev in the first round: in the first three minutes of his GLORY career he got swept to the canvas twice via perfectly timed kicks from Vienot and he also ate a huge right hand which would have put lesser fighters on shaky legs.
Things heated up in the second as Nabiyev channeled his annoyance into his attacks, turning up the pace and power and forcing Vienot to keep moving. The action got intense at times as Nabiyev crashed into Vienot’s defenses and forced a firefight.
Vienot’s trickery was still causing Nabiyev frustrations in the second round but he was finding routes for his punches to land, most clearly illustrated by a right cross which cracked Vienot twenty seconds from the end and backed him across the ring. and there was a little scene between the two as they got into
Scoring was very even going into the third round and it was clearly going to be the decisive round of the fight. Nabiyev turned up the pressure another level again and also baited his counter-fighter opponent by standing in range and dancing, trying to bring Vienot forward.
Going in on Vienot remained a dangerous occupation but Nabiyev kept at it. In the final round he looked to be landing the most volume of the fight so far and he caught Vienot with some good clean shots more than once.
Vienot fired back with venom every time Nabiyev attacked, but counter-fighters always run the risk of being perceived as being on the losing side of a fight even when they are winning it. Vienot’s backwards movement and the fact he was being caught by Nabiyev probably looked worse for him than it really was.
If ever a fight looked set for an extra round to be ordered by the judges it was this one, but after five rounds the officials had decided a winner. Four had it for Nabiyev and one for Vienot, returning a split-decision for Nabiyev.
Alim Nabiyev def. Jimmy Vienot, Split Decision, R3 (29-28 NAB, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27)