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Zhang comes to bang in GLORY 41 debut

  • News
  • May 19, 2017

GLORY's recent partnership with Yao Capital in China marked the start of a Chinese influx onto the roster. The 19-year-old Chenglong Zhang (39-5, 12 KO's) became the third Chinese fighter to make his debut for GLORY in 2017 when he faced fellow Wilson Mendes (5-3-1), also debuting, in a featherweight showdown.

In China the dominant form of stand-up fighting is SanDa, but Zhang comes from a solid Muay Thai background and has said that he considers himself equal in ability to Muay Thai fighters from Thailand.

At GLORY 41 his mission was to prove that he was also of equal ability to kickboxers born and raised in the Netherlands. Mendes' parents are from the Cape Verde islands off the coast of Africa but he is Dutch born and has been trained in the classic Dutch kickboxing style.

Speed is a trademark attribute of both fighters and the fight was fast-paced from the start, with even the strikes of the feeling-out period being thrown at near light-speed. Zhang – who looked a full weight class bigger than Mendes – held the center of the ring through the first round while Mendes circled outside and looked to dart in and out to land.

Flying knee from Zhang in the first ten secs of R2 is a KD call but he disagrees and says it was a slip only; probably wasnt a KD to be fair. Frantic pace follows as Mendes looks to score back but Zhang power is definitely being felt. Mendes flurried continually but never seemed to rattle Zhang's composure; even when clean shots would land, Zhang would calmly fire back with a power counter.

Mendes' forward pressure meant he had Zhang backing up for protracted periods of the late second round and much of the third, but the Chinese youngster still semmed to be landing the most effective shots.

That perception was confirmed when he dropped Mendes with a left head-kick thirty seconds from the end. Mendes beat the count but looked like he could be ready to be put away. Zhang sensed a finish being possible and really went after it but he couldn't find the decisive shots he needed and the clock ran out on him.

The decision was of course a foregone conclusion. With two knockdowns in his favor over the course of three rounds, Zhang scored a unanimous decision win in his official GLORY debut. On this showing he looks to be an interesting addition to the featherweight division and seems to have the potential to become a force.

Chenglong Zhang def. Wilson Mendes, Unanimous Decision, R3 (29-26, 29-26, 30-25, 30-25, 30-25)

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