Two bright young featherweight prospects faced off in a highly anticipated match on the Superfight Series card at GLORY 45 as Zakaria Zougarry and Massaro Glunder squared off.
The two 23-year-olds have been circling each other for a long time, having been in the same tournaments several times as teenagers but never having met in the ring until now.
Both were coming into the bout off impressive GLORY debuts, Zougarry having dominated Yetkin Ozkul in a ‘Fight of the Year’ contender at GLORY 41 and Glunder having scored a knockout win over Niclas Larsen in a GLORY 42 ightweight fight on less than three days’ notice.
A further layer of connection between the two came via Glunder having taken a same-day MMA fight with Zougarry’s coach Andy Souwer in the summer, despite having never trained or competed in MMA, and gone to the late third round before being caught with an armbar.
Glunder fights out Mike’s Gym and expectations were that he would bring the house style of relentless aggression to bear on the smaller and more nimble Zougarry. But in his pre-fight interviews Glunder warned that he would not be so predictable, and it was true.
Much of the first round involved the two feeling each other out, testing range and searching for openings. Glunder had the reach advantage and sought to use that, staying composed in his position and looking to hold the center of the ring while Zougarry darted in and out.
Some good left hook efforts caught Zougarry’s attention late in the first round and he responded by exploding into action with one of his beautifully flowing combinations. Zougarry really let his hands go and one of the punches seemed to make Glunder take a wobble just as the round was ending.
The fight remained fast-paced and close - sp close, in fact, that by the third round the two were neck-and-neck in terms of blows landed, having scored 79 strikes each. But in the final two minutes of the round Zougarry turned things up and edged ahead.
A jump knee attempt at the midpoint of the round prompted debate: Glunder entered a clinch with Zougarry after it but then ended up on his knees. If the referee had called a knockdown the fight would have been won for Zougarry there and then, but he didn’t and so Zougarry had to redouble his efforts.
After that knee it seemed that Glunder was not on steady legs at times; Zougarry piled pressure on and the last minute of the round was the only time in the fight that Glunder was not keeping pace with him.
The fight went to the judges and returned a unanimous decision in Zougarry’s favor, two judges giving him every round and the other three giving him two of the three rounds. It would not have been surprising to see the result be a split-decision either way, such was the closeness of it.
Zougarry now moves to 2-0 in GLORY and Glunder drops to 1-1, but has not lost value. Both remain interesting presences in the division. Zougarry is already setting his sights high; post-fight, he told champion Robin van Roosmalen via social media that he would be coming for him soon.