The crowd support was behind Polish lightweight Rafal Dudek (20-12, 9 KO’s) when he entered the ring to face Minnesota’s Nate "The Natural" Richardson (10-2, 5 KO’s), many in attendance having some connection to Chicago’s huge Polish diaspora.
Dudek debuted in New York last month on the GLORY 43 card but lost a decision to Itay Gershon of Israel. Richardson rode a five-fight win streak into tonight’s GLORY debut, with three of those wins coming inside the distance.
Born in Liberia, West Africa, Richardson moved to the US at the age of ten when his family relocated there following the outbreak of civil war in their homeland.
Richardson says that his family’s exit from Liberia was accompanied by bombs and bullets. Bombs were present at the start of this fight with Dudek too, as Richardson swarmed him at the opening bell and looked like he was trying to finish him off before the fight could even get going.
Dudek weathered the early storm but found himself under heavy pressure in the first round, being sent spinning several times by heavy leg kicks and on one occasion being sent crashing to the canvas, though that was ruled a balance failure rather than a knockdown.
In the second round the shorter, stockier Richardson had slowed considerably and Dudek was able to get into the fight and start scoring, though much of it was scrapped work which involved one or two blows being landed and then both fighters tying up in a clinch.
A common feature of fights which have a shorter fighter pressing forwards against a taller opponent who fights defensively is that they often end up caught up in a clinch. Richardson and Dudek were a classic example of this, the Pole fighting his shorter off but tying him up when he came in.
Clean scoring opportunities were few for either fighter: although Richardson seemed to have landed the harder blows, Dudek appeared to have the volume advantage.
The fight wasn’t a stellar showing for either fighter, but Richardson has considerably less experience than his veteran opponent and was able to overcome that and get the job done and take the win in his GLORY debut.
Nate Richardson def. Rafal Dudek, Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)