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Taking His Title, An Interview with Glory Middleweight Title Contender Simon Marcus

AJ Camacho

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Live on Spike TV, May 8th, Glory 21 will feature a much-anticipated rematch against current Middleweight Champion, Artem Levin and Glory 20 middleweight contender tournament winner, Simon Marcus. What makes this match so compelling though is that this is the second time that both fighters have faced each other. Their previous match occurred over two years ago under Muay Thai rules at Lion Fight 9, with Marcus winning decisively by unanimous decision.

Since that time, much of the talent has made an exodus to the popular Glory kickboxing promotion where Artem Levin has flourished, winning his last four fights by unanimous decision and earning himself the Middleweight title. Meanwhile, Simon Marcus debuted in Glory in what would be one of the best fights in the promotion’s history, losing by KO to Joe Schilling at Glory 17. With that shaky start behind him, Marcus has dialed in his game for the new Glory rule set and is currently riding a two-fight win streak to face an opponent that he’s already beaten before.

I contacted Simon to see how his adjustment from Muay Thai to Glory has gone and to discuss the state of his left over rivalries in kickboxing. Below is the transcript as well as an embedded link to the audio from the full interview.

The transcript below is edited for brevity and clarity and may differ slightly from the recorded interview.

I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with me. I appreciate it.

No problem man, it’s a pleasure of mine.

So, on May 8th you’ll be challenging Artem Levin in San Diego for the Glory Middleweight Championship. This is going to be your second match against the Russian. The last time you and Artem met you defeated him via unanimous decision.

The main question I want to ask is, as a challenger, where is your head at going into this fight knowing that you’ve literally already beaten him before?

My head is focused, man. Ha ha, my head is focused right now. He did his thing on the Last Man Standing [Tournament] to win his title. So, that was his work, that was good for him, but I’ve had my eye set on the title since [our last match] and even before that day. So it’s my chance to get it now.

Regardless, I beat him before. I know I can beat him again. People question my ability to do well under kickboxing rules, but that just makes it more fun for me. I get to show everybody what kind of fighter I am and what I bring to the table. And I think a lot of people will be really excited to see the kind of fight, and kind of style we’re going to put together on May 8th. I’m ready to bring the title back to Canada.

Your last fight was against Jason Wilnes. You just had that fight last month. How’s your recovery been from that fight?

Simon Marcus defeating Jason Wilnis at Glory 20. Photo courtesy of Glory.

Simon Marcus defeating Jason Wilnis at Glory 20. Photo courtesy of Glory.

Recovery so far has been great. I had a couple bangs and bruises, but I got a great team back in Toronto. A chiropractor, a physiotherapist, and a massage therapist that has been just working me every day. Everything is coming together perfectly and I expect to be in 100% condition by May 8th.

Have you had fights this close together before?

Oh yeah brother, haha. I come from a background where I basically fought as much as I could, anytime I could, just to get experience and to get better and get that recognition. I’ve fought as much as seven times in ten days before –

Geez –

I’ve fought in tournaments… where I’m fight four fights in five days or twice in a night. I’m used to fighting a lot and I feel it’s something that… especially as a Thai boxer or kickboxer, you have to embrace fighting a lot to get the opportunities that are available to you. So it’s no problem to me.

And speaking of the difference in the rule sets, Glory versus Muay Thai, do you think the new rule set favors you in this match up?

Now that I’ve adapted [to the Glory rules] and become more comfortable using [my power] I think I’m going to be a more dangerous fighter…

I do because… I’m used to fighting a lot of boxers, boxing oriented fighters. At my weight, there’s not many Thai boxers, or there’s not many good [thai] clinchers, there’s very few. Most fighters that I come across they’re boxers, so in the past naturally I would use my clinch because that’s a strength of mine and a strength of Muay Thai that most people can’t really deal with. So it’s just been a natural thing but now that I had to make the adjustment to use more boxing, and more punching, and kicking from the outside I think it actually plays into my strengths, which is my power.

Now that I’ve adapted [to the Glory rules] and become more comfortable using [my power] I think I’m going to be a more dangerous fighter as appose to the opposite. It just took me a couple fights and a couple mistakes to realize exactly what I needed to do and work on to make that happen.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to it… in your last match up with Artem, it seemed like he was the one that was using the clinch to break your combinations. He was constantly trying to throw you through the ropes –

Exactly. Well, he felt that I had power and he really didn’t want to trade so we ended up in the clinch a lot and the ref was letting it go, so I was just working in the clinch. But on May 8th, we won’t be clinching so much. It’ll be a little more exciting and everyone will get to see what I have to bring to the table.

You talk about adjustments you’ve made getting acclimated to the Glory rule set. Specifically, what are those personal adjustments you’ve made?

It’s more a mind set and getting my head more into fighting from a distance than fighting close. I’m very used to hitting someone with a combo and then grabbing them right away. Or looking for the elbows or working the knees but now that the clinch is very limited, [depending on] the referees in Glory.

It’s just getting used to not going inside as much… staying outside and doing more damage from afar than from close range. That’s pretty much the main adjustment I had to make.

Do you change your combinations? Do you extend them longer now knowing that it’s less likely you’re going to get grabbed?

I’ve worked on a few things but that’s not something I’ve necessarily concentrated on. It’s just more of a natural thing that will happen with not going inside. You will hit a little bit farther, a little bit longer to setup your kicks and your punches as appose to going inside to step in. So, it’s not necessarily something I change but it just naturally comes out that way.

In the last few fights that you had, I’ve heard you mention that you’ve been approaching your matches more strategically. Can you explain what you mean by that compared to how you used to fight, or how you used to approach your matches?

Basically, I’m a power fighter. I hit hard. I like to fight, I like to mix it up, and… I don’t necessarily have a game plan or a strategy but just recently, with going into Glory, with a couple of losses, I just felt I had to be a little more precise, and a little bit more clear on exactly what I was expecting and how I was gonna adapt to what was happening in the ring.

I’m just basically trying to use more technique and a little less power all the time, to set up my fight. And not rush, use my brain a little bit more, think a little bit more… which I’ve done a lot in the past. But again going into the Glory rules setting with a lot of punching… I tend to want to fight and I tend to want to go for the knock out and hit hard. It’s just [about] taking a little bit more time to think, set up, be a little calmer in the ring, and use more technique. Hitting what’s open and not just kind of rushing it. That’s pretty much it.

[Artem] won the last four fights by decision but none of them have been against me…

Artem has won his last four bouts by decision. Are you concerned with going the distance with him? Do you want to finish it early, because he seems like he has the game strategy of point fighting [nailed] down?

He’s won the last four fights by decision but none of them have been against me, man. I think when we fight, regardless… I will go for the knockout because that’s just how I fight. I always try to get the knockout if possible, but at the same time… I believe I can beat him decisively by points as well.

When I step into the ring on May 8th, it’s going to be a different story. It’s not going to look like he’s [picking me] apart and scoring points. It’s going to be a fight. I believe fullheartedly I’ll win that fight and everybody will see it, including the judges. So I’m comfortable either way it goes but of course any fighter would rather not leave it in the judges hands.

MMA isn’t really what I love to do. I love to standup and fight. So at this time I’m 100% focused on Glory, Muay Thai, and kickboxing.

Now, Artem is obviously one of your rivals and then you have another rival with Joe Schilling, who’s left to MMA. Have you thought about possibly crossing over to get a chance to finish that rivalry?

At this time in particular, I can’t say I haven’t thought about it… but it’s not really my sport. MMA isn’t really what I love to do. I love to standup and fight. So at this time I’m 100% focused on Glory, Muay Thai, and kickboxing. But who knows what the future holds? If certain opportunities open themselves or if in the future I feel like I want to make a change, or my heart tells me to do that then I’ll go with it. But at this time it’s not going to be something that I consider as a realistic option.

If Schilling were to come back to kickboxing, is that a match you would be looking for?

Absolutely.

You’re 2 to 1 on that rivalry with him.

I feel that the fight with Schilling was a great fight. You know, a lot of people call it the best fight in Glory history and it took fight of the year. It was a great show and it only makes sense for us to fight again. I came up on the short end but I felt like the fight was really, really, really close right until the last – punch, where we even exchanged as I went down.

I mean, I take nothing away from Joe, he put on a great performance that night and fought his heart out, and so did I, but I’d love to make it even on the Glory playing field.

Looking beyond the championship, do you see any other great match ups you’d like to have?

No one in particular that I would. In Glory right now I believe they got pretty much most of the best fighters our weight class in the world. Any fight would be a great match up for me. I put on an exciting style regardless of who I fight. Whoever tends to be the number one contender can get a shot at me after I win the title. It really doesn’t matter for me, personally.

Is there anything else you want to add before we wrap up? Any shout outs or anybody you want to thank?

Yeah, I want to thank my sponsors, In Fight Style. People can look out for my clothing brand coming out soon. It’s called Original Bad Bwoy Gear. It’s going to be some big stuff coming, t-shirts, shorts, and apparel. Also, you can follow me on twitter @SimonMarcusNo1. Thank you everybone who supports me and [for] everyone to look forward to May 8th, Glory. It’s going to be a fight you won’t forget and you can look forward to seeing me as the new Glory Champ. I’m going to hold it down, thank you.

Simon Marcus winning the Middleweight Contender Tournament, Final. Photo courtesy of Glory.

Simon Marcus winning the Middleweight Contender Tournament, Final. Photo courtesy of Glory.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card

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Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.

Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.

This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.

Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK

  • Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
  • Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)

Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK

  • 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
  • Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
  • Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
  • 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
  • Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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EXCLUSIVE: Jack Shore talks Cage Warriors 87 Opponent Change, Pressure and Being Ready for A Big Opportunity

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Jack Shore, a promising up and coming Welsh Featherweight who will be fighting on his fourth main Cage Warriors card in only his sixth professional fight. Despite his opponent, Federico Mini, dropping out days prior to the event, Shore isn’t concerned ahead of the opponent change. “Just another fight, I’m ready for anything come fight night and I’m looking forward to the challenge”. Cage Warriors have confirmed that Shore will now be fighting Italian, Mattia Galbiati.

Shore last fought at the Newport Centre, Wales at Cage Warriors 83, defeating his opponent Konmon Deh convincingly with a first-round submission. The crowd was electric for both his entrance and when his opponent tapped due to armbar, “I have a massive following and they like to make themselves heard on fight night, it’s getting bigger and bigger every time!”

Whilst using his extensive grappling to win the fight, the Tillery Combat MMA Academy fighter was very aggressive with his strikes on the ground, “I believe my grappling style is very different to what people are used to seeing and that’s why it’s entertaining to watch. I’m always looking to advance and put the pressure on, but I also try to use punches and elbows to set up my transitions.”

Being undefeated throughout his amateur career (including winning the IMMAF European Championships), to then continue being undefeated throughout his early professional career, Shore has a mature mindset for such a young fighter to how the sport works, “Obviously no one wants to lose but you have to be aware that it’s a possibility because anything can happen in this sport. But by being aware it allows me to train and prepare correctly to do everything I can (do) to prevent that from happening.”

Whilst growing up, Shore states that he wasn’t the most confident of people, “As a kid growing up I was never the world’s most confident person.” Cage Warriors being on BT Sport within the UK, being the biggest European MMA promotion, and having the following Shore has, he feels no pressure of fighting, “But as far as MMA is concerned I don’t feel any pressure at all. There’s obviously the fight day nerves but anyone will tell you I deal with them very well and am more than comfortable in that environment.”

With the current revolution of MMA in Wales occurring, former Cage Warriors fighters Brett Johns, Jack Marshman and John Philips all in the UFC, Josh Reed who has just come off a title shot with Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel Wood, Lewis Long being the best Welterweight in the UK. It brings a realistic opportunity of making the UFC, “Definitely. Since the first bunch of Welsh guys have been signed to the UFC it’s shown for guys like me, Lewis Long and Josh Reed that what we are pushing for is no doubt achievable. I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing then that dream won’t be too far away.”

Whilst having such a successful start to his professional career, and with the attention, this young Welshman is bringing, Shore is in no rush for the Cage Warriors belt, but is prepared if the opportunity arises. “I’m just taking one fight at a time. I’m aware that I’m still young in terms of my pro career so I will continue to fight whoever Cage Warriors put in front of me. Should a big opportunity like that present itself I’ll make sure I’m ready.”

Shore seems to be mature for someone of the age of just 22, the future seems bright for the young Welshman. Jack Shore fights on the up and coming Cage Warriors 87 card Saturday, 14th October at the Newport Centre, Newport, Wales. The event will be free-to-air on UK sports channels FreeSports, as well as be on UFC FightPass and via the red button on BT Sport.

Check the main card out for Cage Warriors 87 below:

Lewis Long vs Roberto Soldic (Welterweight)
Craig White vs Matt Inman (Welterweight)
Jack Shore vs Mattia Galbiati (Featherweight)
Aiden Lee vs Ludovit Klein (Featherweight)
Aaron Khalid vs Ross Houston (Welterweight)

By Ieuan Thomas.

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