Nobody moves in the Glory arena quite like Karateka Raymond Daniels. One look at Raymond Daniel’s pre-fight corner routine should be all you need to know that he is anything but an orthodox fighter. Winner of eight NBL World Championships, two NAKSA World Championships among many accomplishments, he has taken his Karate skills to the Glory to earn a record of 2-1. He fights next in the 4-man Welterweight Contender of Glory 19, facing Brazilian Jonathan Oliveira in the first round. We break down how Daniels’ karate style has stood the trials of Glory.
Making it look easy is usually the first good indicator of some real talent. Daniels’ movement, timing, precision, accuracy and downright style are ridiculous. Raymond Daniels went an incredible 17-0-1 in World Combat League, a team-based kickboxing promotion founded by Chuck Norris.
Raymond Daniels’ Glory debut paired him against Brian Foster. Foster’s movement screams MMA fighter (his primary discipline). With quick movement and hands deceptively low to his waist, Daniels’ style screams karate. 5:25-5:30 indicate much about Daniels’ strengths and weaknesses in the ring. He tagged Foster in the stomach with a kick as he closed the distance and landed a left hook like a pro. However, when he is cornered and his movement is apprehended, Foster lands two left hooks on Daniels in open stance. Daniels’ bread and butter is to quickly strike, do his damage and utilize his movement to avoid danger. With enough time, distance and calculation, he’s able to to just that–sizing up the spinning back kick KO at 7:10.
At Glory 13, he met opponent Joseph Valtellini, who has extensive Muay Thai and Taekwondo experience. Much more experienced in kickboxing, Valetellini is patient at the opening bell with hands are up steadily in front. With enough time to gain the perfect position, Daniels scored a knockdown at 4:40 with a right hand from downtown. Daniels did a lot of damage in the first, quickly evading Valtellini’s range with his movement as he did in his first fight. When he’s able to deal push kicks and leaping punches and get out of trouble, he looks near untouchable.
Valtellini got tired of having to chase Daniels down and tried for a different approach in the second round. He relied on leg kicks that began to take away Daniels’ ability to move (7:24). At 7:50, you can see Valtellini look like he’s practically trying to TKO his opponent by breaking his leg. At 8:00, the second significant piece of the puzzle falls into place. With inhibited ability to move, Daniels gets cornered and suffers a hard combination from “Bazooka Joe.” In the third, Valtellini is able to repeat another punishing combination (10:55), leg kick and corner (11:16) and send home a head kick KO at 11:30.
Against François Ambang, Daniels would demonstrate long distance kicks with precision. Ambang stayed in the center of the ring, approaching with caution against the ever-moving opponent. Daniels was able to chose his strikes carefully and stay very light on his feet. Rather than defend by covering up, Daniels showed off some new skills and countered like a boxer at 5:23. Sizing up Ambang after the right hook knockdown, Daniels takes the opportunity at 5:48 to set up the “knockout of the century,” a two-touch jumping back kick.
Raymond Daniels’ karate style needs time and room to be the most effective. When the right moment presents itself, that’s all he needs for another highlight-reel knockout. His best defense is his movement, which is used both to avoid strikes and to find new angles to strike. See his style in action at Glory 19 in the 4-man welterweight tournament.