M-1 Challenge UK Report (Part 1)
The following in a report on last Month’s M-1 Challenge show, which has been adapted from the official report at www.m1mixfight.com.
M-1 Challenge 7th Edition
Saturday 27th September 2008
Harvey Hadden Sports Centre, Wigman Road, Nottingham, NG8 4PB.
Part 1 - Russian Legion vs. Team World + More
It was a long, long time ago that Robin Hood fought the evil Prince John out of Sherwood forest. The fighters that entered the ring of the 7th M-1 Challenge in Nottingham did not use bow and arrows or swords but they faced each other fair and square in a man to man battle in the toughest fightsport there is; Mixed Martial Arts.
Not only did Tony McDonagh from Warrior Promotions bring the Worldwide Challenge to England, he also organised and staged a seminar which featured Alexander Emilianenko and the UK’s own MMA legend Ian “The Machine” Freeman who came out of retirement at 42 to conquer the Cage Rage Championship (back in May). At the same afternoon a few exhibition techniques were also shown to the Seminar goers by the new UFC signee; Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy, the newly crowned Dream Middleweight GP Champion; Gegard Mousasi and the Leicester Tigers RFC squad also made an appearance alongside the British Welterweight fighter “Judo” Jimmy Wallhead.
The venue of the event was the Harvey Hadden Sport Center and as usual the TV production was done by Jerry Millen, commentators were Jimmy Smith and Sean Wheelock, camera and pictures were handled by Kevin Hewitt and the ring announcer was the six time UFC veteran Ian “The Machine” Freeman.
Chief of the officials and rules enforcer was Ino Alberga. Referees as well as judges were Marco Broersen from Holland, Mika Sinkkonen from Finland and Marc Goddard from the UK. Barry Foley was invited as a judge and the timekeeper was Rachel Wheatley; a School Teacher and submission grappler who reached the Abu Dhabi finals in 2007. Whilst Marc Cau lkin, Adam Layland and Phil Watson from ” Cage Medics” were there to treat the injuries of fighters.
The show was well attended, in fact it was a full house and a boxing event in Mansfield was canceled due to the competition they had from the M-1 Challenge.
Russian Legion vs. World Team M-1 Challenge Bouts
Both sides were forced to make four changes to their line-up with only Sultanov (Russian Legion) and Deputter (World Team) being the only unchanged fighters for this five bout series.
Musa Khamanaev (69.7 kg) vs. Wim Deputter (69.8 kg)
Referee: Mika Sinkkonen
Khamanaev is the 2008 Russian combat Sambo champion, whilst the Belgian fighter Wim Deputter is a ground specialist who is ranked as one of the top ten European lightweights. Deputter entered dancing and was applauded by the crowd who cheered for him, as he made his way to the ring.
Deputter was coached by Dream GP champion Gegard Mousasi but in the first round it was all Khamanaev who made the effort to finish the fight while the Belgian was defending, looking for a counter submission. Despite Deputter nearly getting a leglock in round one, the Russian fighter controlled the action from top position and did enough to get a fairly comfortable decision win.
Winner - Musa Khamanaev via Majority Decision after 5:00 of Round 2
Sergey Verdesh (75.8 kg) vs. Jason Ponet (75.9 kg)
Referee: Mika Sinkkonen
Verdesh is another combat sambo champion, who won the title in 2006. The unknown Jason Ponet from France replaced fellow countryman Norman Paraisy who was injured following his win in Korea on August 29th.
The first round was quite even on the ground and there was little stand-up action at all. The second round saw Verdesh looking for the thunder punch to knock Ponet out, whilst the Frenchman kept him off with inside lowkicks.
When the action went to the floor Ponet was the one making the effort to win the fight with his ground attacks and striking, which was enough to claim a unanimous decision win.
Winner - Jason Ponet via Unanimous Decision after 5:00 of Round 2
Sergey Kornev (83.9 kg) vs. Rosen Dimitrov (83.2 kg)
Referee: Marco Broersen
Kornev came into the fight on the back of a 9 bout win streak which saw him win the Pancrase Cup, the Championship Legion Fights and the WUFC tournament in Portugal in August. The unknown Bulgarian Dimitrov replaced the experienced UFC veteran Jordan Radev and was in for a hard night against the more experienced Russian.
Although Dimitrov was more of a boxer than a grappler, Kornev was strong enough to make it an even fight on the feet. However once the action hit the mat Kornev’s skill set shone through and after 2.59 in the second round, the referee stopped the fight after the Russian had utilized some heavy ground and pound to force the stoppage.
Winner - Sergey Kornev via TKO/Referee Stoppage (Ground and Pound) after 2.59 of round 2
Gadzhimurad Omarov (92.4 kg) vs. Nills van Noord (90.7 kg)
Referee: Marco Broersen
Omarov, a former Pancrase cup winner and the European Pankration Champion faced the young Dutchman Nils van Noord. In a touch gruelling contest neither man was able to dominate the action, and for the first time ever in the Challenge, a fight went to the overtime round, as the Judge’s scorecards were tied. Omarov then dominated the extra round and took the unanimous decision victory after five extra minutes.
Winner - Gadzhimurad Omarov via Judges Decision after 5:00 of the overtime round
Akhmed Sultanov (104.4 kg) vs Sylvester Oleksy (106.2 kg)
Referee: Marc Goddard
Sultanov who defeated the 154 kg King of the Cage Super Heavyweight Champion Eric Pele in BodogFIGHT, took on the Polish fighter Sylvester Oleksy who made his MMA debut at the M-1 Challenge.
The first round ended with Oleksy bleeding from a cut above the right eye, but the second round he surprised everybody by scoring often with punches against the Russian, who seemed as exhausted as his inexperienced Polish rival. However Sultanov was able to claim another victory at the end of two rounds and secure an impressive 4-1 win for the Russian Legion.
Winner - Akhmed Sultanov via Unanimous Decision after 5:00 of round 2
Russian Legion defeat Team World 4-1
Christian Smith (83.9 kg) vs. Cliff Hall (83.5 kg)
Referee: Marc Goddard
This bout saw a clash of styles between two local fighters as Smith (the striker) took on Cliff Hall (a grappler). Both were looking forward to impress the attending M-1 scouts with their skills, as they looked to be selected for the UK M-1 Challenge team next year.
The crowd went berserk when the two British heroes entered the ring as their local support whistled, yelled and shouted as loud as they could. And what a fight it was, words fail to describe it. As the Muay Thai “puncher” Smith dominating the first round which caused Hall to go on the defensive as he narrowly escaped being KOÂ´d on the ground due to Smith’s powerful ground striking.
However just 33 seconds into round 2, Hall was mounted again and this time lady luck left him, as he was TKO’ed after a heavy ground attack by Smith, who secured a great win in this fantastic superfight, in his comeback fight .
Winner - Christian Smith via TKO/Referee Stoppage (Ground and Pound) after 0:33 of Round 2
That ends the first part of this report. To see what happened to the Red Devils as they took on Team USA. And to read what happened in the night’s final two superfights, go to the second part of this report.
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