It was fifth time lucky for Armenian fighter Marat Grigorian today. He finally defeated his nemesis Sittichai Sitsongpeenong winning the Glory lightweight title in the process.

The lightweight title fight took place at Glory 65 in Utrecht. The two had met on four previous occasions with Sittichai winning all four, the last two by way of split decision.

They first shared the ring in the final eight of the Kunlun World Max 2015 tournament and Sittichai took a majority decision win. He also beat Grigorian by unanimous decision in the Glory Lightweight Contender tournament.

Two title fights both ended in split decision wins for Sitthichai and the most recent, at Glory 57 last August, was so close that Grigorian was granted a third shot at the promotion’s lightweight belt.

Sitthichai body kick

Early aggression

In the opening round Grigorian attacked with his customary aggression, pushing forward and opening up with fast push combinations often followed by a solid kick. The Thai looked more cagey, as he used a lot of lateral movement to stay away from his opponent’s right cross.

It was in round two that the whole complexity of the fight changed. Grigorian came forward with the same determination seen in the previous round, backing up Sittichai with some heavy looking hand combinations and peppering him with solid kicks.

Sittichai looked untroubled at first and came back with some sharp counter shots, but with just 40 seconds left in the round Grigorian connected with an overhand right followed by a fast left hook, that dropped the champion for an eight count.

Grigorian punches Sitthichai

Renewed purpose

Sittichai came out with a renewed sense of purpose in the third. Knowing that he had a lot of work to overcome the points deficit from the knockdown he pushed forwards, attacking Grigorian with some heavy punches and hard body kicks.

The Armenian never faltered though and came back at Sittichai with some hard right counter punches. With a minute to go in the round he switched to southpaw and started to back up the champion again.

In the fourth Sittichai pushed forwards with more hard punch combinations and kicks. Grigorian soaked up the attacks comfortably though and countered back throughout with more solid rights.

Sitthichai punches Grigorian

Smart strategy

Again Grigorian turned up the heat in the final minute of the round, suggesting a gameplan to catch the judge’s eyes by putting Sittichai on the back foot in the closing stages of the fourth.

The challenger looked to cruise through the final round. Sittichai was the more active of the two but seemed to lack the spark needed to really turn the fight on its head, allowing Grigorian to control the ring and take the decision at the final bell.

In the post fight interview an emotional Grigorian explained how it had been a tough lead up to the fight, with a lot of stress and overthinking due to the four previous losses. He explained that kicking more, being patient, working on counters and believing in himself helped finally secure victory at the fifth attempt.