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USA East and Russia Legion headed to M-1 Challenge Championship Cup


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Sixteen teams began the season in the 2009 M-1 CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY AFFLICTION but now just two are left standing following Saturday’s semifinal playoff round at the Russian Sport Palace in Rostov on don, Russia.

Headed to the finals following dominating team performances are both USA East and Russia Legion, setting up a renewal of a classic sports rivalry that will be played out later this year at the M-1 Challenge Championship Cup.

While Legion entered the semifinals a favorite to advance, USA East’s 4-1 win over USA West came as a total shock to those who have been following the M-1 Challenge closely this season.

Following the USA East vs. USA West opener, the headline challenge fight of the night between Russia Legion and England was almost a mirror image of the matchup between the two USA team with Legion. Team England coach Ian Butlin caused quite a stir in the Russian media when he went on local television in Rostov this week and apologized in advance for his British teammates defeating the Russians on their home turf. The apology proved unnecessary, with Legion defeating England by a 4-1 score.

Entering the semifinals as the heavy favorite after winning Group D with a 3-0 team record and 13-2 individual record, Legion still felt the need to make changes with talented fighters such as Rustam Khabilov, Sergey Kornev, and Gadzimurad Omarov left off of its semifinal roster.

Yuri Ivlev helped Legion get off to a quick start by utilizing an impressive judo throw to ground former English Football player Scott Hewitt and earn a TKO victory due by result of ground and pound just 54 seconds into the fight.

The second fight between Legion and England ended even quicker with highly-touted Magomed Shikshabekov - voted the eighth best European MMA prospect by - submitted knockout artist Simon Phillps with a reverse heel hook just 15 seconds into round 1. With the win, Shikshabekov’s professional record is now 10-0 and he could be in line for a coveted spot on the second M-1 Breakthrough event, which is tentatively scheduled be held in late-2009 or early-2010.

Up 2-0, Legion punched its ticket to the finals with UFC veteran Ansar Chalangov requiring just 41 seconds to submit Matt Thorpe with a reverse heel hook. The fight was Chalangov’s first since November of last year and improved his lifetime MMA record to 13-4.

Legion sent a message and secured its fourth victory in the best-of-five clash when Besiki Gerenava halted an early charge by former professional water polo player Lee Austin courtesy of a unanimous decision.

Much like USA West saving face in its heavyweight matchup, England did the same with Rob Broughton submitting Akhmed Sultanov with a keylock at 4:31 of round 1. The win came less than a month after Broughton’s disappointing loss at HDNET FIGHTS PRESENTS M-1 BREAKTHROUGH and improved Broughton’s overall record to 10-4-1 and his M-1 record to 3-1.

Fight footage of the M-1 Challenge Playoff Semifinals will be made available in the United States in coming weeks on HDNet. Be sure to check and for an exact air date. will also reveal the date and the venue for the second annual M-1 Challenge Championship Cup to take place later this year, along with official lineups for both USA East and Russia Legion.

Official results with updated records are available below:

1. Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg)
Ivan Jorge (USA East/10-0) def. Steve Magdaleno (USA West/6-1) via unanimous decision.

2. Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg)
Delson Heleno (USA East/17-4) def. Fabio “Negao” Nascimento (USA West/10-5) via unanimous decision.

3. Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg)
Gerson Dos Santos (USA East/19-3) def. Joao Asis (USA West/9-5) via TKO (strikes) at 3:50 of round 1

4. Light Heavyweight (204.8 lbs./-93 kg)
Chuck Grigsby (USA East/19-5) def. Spencer Hooker (USA West/6-2) via unanimous decision

5. Heavyweight (+204.8 lbs./+93 kg)
Shane Del Rosario (USA West/8-0) def. Lloyd “Kadillac” Marshbanks (USA East/52-10) via TKO at 1:34 of round 1

Team USA East def. Team USA West 4-1


6. Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg)
Yuri Ivlev (Russia Legion/9-3) def. Scott Hewitt (England/2-1) via TKO (strikes) at 0:54 of round 1

7. Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg)
Magomed Shikshabekov (Russia Legion/10-0) def. Simon Phillips (England/10-4) via submission (reverse heel hook) at 0:15 of round 1

8. Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg)
Ansar Chalangov (Russia Legion/13-4) def. Matt Thorpe (England/13-8.) via submission (reverse heel hook) at 0:41 of round 1

9. Light Heavyweight (204.8 lbs./-93 kg)
Besiki Gerenava (9-1-1) def. Lee Austin (4-5) by unanimous decision

10. Heavyweight (+204.8 lbs./+93 kg)
Rob Broughton (England/10-4-1) def. Akhmed Sultanov (Russia Leagion/3-4) via submission (keylock) at 4:31 of round 1

Russia Legion def. Team England 4-1

The photo gallery for this event can be found here.

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