By Rob Tatum (courtesy of GLORY Kickboxing)
The GLORY 55 main event from Madison Square Garden in New York featured a rubber match with the middleweight title on the line as Brazilian champion Alex Pereira (27-6, 17 KO’s) squared off with Tunisian challenger Yousri Belgaroui (24-4, 12 KO’s).
The pair met previously at GLORY 40 and GLORY 49, with Pereira getting the victory in their most recent encounter for the title.
Pereira wasted little time closing the distance on the taller Belgaroui. He backed the challenger against the ropes and delivered a knee, looking to repeat his performance from their previous title clash.
Belgaroui was able to separate and fired kicks to the body. Pereira stalked Belgaroui around the ring, but ate a stiff right hand along the way.
The tide quickly turned as a massive overhand right from Pereira connected with Belgaroui’s jaw and put the Tunisian out cold in the center of the ring.
The referee began a count, but Belgaroui never attempted to get up after the devastating shot.
Pereira put an emphatic end to the pair’s trilogy with the knockout victory, retaining his title in the process.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure to fight in this arena. I was sure the knockout was going to come sooner or later,” said the champion of his dominant performance.
Asked about who his next challenger would be, with a battle of former champions Simon Marcus and Jason Wilnis slated for GLORY 56 in Denver, Pereira said “I cannot predict what will happen between them, but I would like to fight [Jason] Wilnis.”
The Brazilian earns his 28th career victory and sixth inside the GLORY ring.
Alex Pereira def. Yousri Belgaroui knockout (overhand right). Round 1, 2:29 (For Middleweight Championship)