Guram Gugenishvili (left) survived a scare from Maxim Grishin. |
Alex Taran/M-1 Global
Gugenishvili had to fight through a scare from challenger
Grishin, but the Georgian prevailed and retained his M-1
Challenge heavyweight crown at Saturday’s
M-1 Challenge 23.
The card’s other champion, welterweight titleholder Shamil
Zavurov, also kept his belt at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow
with a dominant second-round dispatching of American Tom
Grishin, a sparring partner of Fedor
Emelianenko, started out loose on his feet and knocked
Gugenishvili down with a left jab. In the ensuing scramble, the
champion found himself mounted and gave up his back, but the
Russian could not capitalize on the position by securing a
rear-naked choke. Once Gugenishvili reversed and returned to the
standing position, the fight began to go the way most had
Gugenishvili scored a takedown of his own after Grishin fell out of
the ring trying to avoid it. The Russian tried to stand at first,
but was sucked down to the mat every time, where Gugenishvili
worked to pass his guard. The champion quickly advanced to mount
and, in a deja vu moment, Grishin gave up his back. This time,
however, the attacker did cinch up a rear-naked choke, forcing
Grishin to tap at the 3:03 mark of round one.
Zavurov took more time, but had little difficulty against 2010 M-1
Americas Selection winner Tom Gallicchio. The RusFighters Sport
Club product took down the American and kept him on his back almost
for the entirety of round one. Remaining rather careful with his
ground-and-pound attack, Zavurov did manage to posture up for one
solid flurry, but his progress was stifled by the inability to pass
Zavurov pounded Gallicchio.
In lieu of a takedown in the second round, Zavurov cracked
Gallicchio with a massive right hook that sent the New Jersey
native crashing to the ground. While Gallicchio was not completely
detached from consciousness, he was dazed to the point that he
could not stop the follow-up punches of the Russian. Referee Marco
Broersen stopped the fight 71 seconds into the round.
In non-title action, Rafal Moks
was upset in his return to welterweight after relinquishing the M-1
middleweight title. Rashid
Magomedov withstood no less than three leg lock attempts from
Moks and eventually found a position from which he could
effectively strike his Polish opponent. Moks survived a significant
number of punches, but Magomedov never slowed down, and picked up a
TKO victory at 2:06 as a result.
M-1 staple Yuri Ivlev
lost two in a row for the first time in his career, as the “Cable
Guy” was finished by Austria-based Chechen Mairbek
Taisumov. Ivlev worked his preferred ground-and-pound in round
one, but also suffered a nasty cut above his left eyebrow that the
doctors closely inspected after the first stanza. The Russian got
nonchalant in the second, and Taisumov capitalized on Ivlev’s
lowered guard by rocking him with a right cross. The Chechen
followed up with more punches, downing Ivlev and finishing him off
for the TKO win 94 seconds into the second frame.
Sultanakhmedov punched his ticket to an M-1 middleweight title
fight with a victory over Brazilian Plinio Cruz.
The “White Wolf” looked to have a significant strength advantage,
methodically beating down Cruz on the floor before unleashing some
20 unanswered punches to force a stoppage at 1:11 of round two.
In the evening’s most controversial bout, German Daniel
Weichel earned a technical submission of Magomedrasul
Khasbulaev. Referee Mika Sinkkonen stopped the fight as
Khasbulaev struggled to defend Weichel’s triangle choke in the
fourth minute of round one. The Russian, who neither tapped nor
went to sleep, was so livid with the stoppage that he stood in his
corner even as Sinkkonen motioned him to the center of the ring for
the official decision.
American Top Team Orlando’s Byron Byrd
succumbed to a second-round arm-triangle choke from Igor
Savelyev after an otherwise evenly matched affair. Byrd
repeatedly charged in with wild strikes, allowing Savelyev to score
takedowns in both rounds, but the American once managed to reverse
and get some punches through. Round two saw Byrd swinging for the
knockout, this time lacking the stamina to execute a sweep as he
tapped out at the 2:12 mark.
Ismailov slammed Bulakhtin
early and often.
After taking a heavy beating on the feet, Poland’s Tomasz
Narkun emerged victorious over Shamil
Tinagadjiev in a fight of recent Vyacheslav
Vasilevsky victims. Tinagadjiev looked dominant in the standup
portion, but the battered Narkun still had the awareness to secure
a fight-winning triangle choke at 3:31 of the first round.
Heavyweight action saw Arsen
Abdulkerimov quickly defeat 300-plus pound Goncalo
Salgado of Portugal. Abdulkerimov cracked his man with an
uppercut-left hook combo and then secured an armbar from mount for
the submission victory just 2:29 into the bout.
On the undercard, two fighters picked up wins in their professional
MMA debuts. Light heavyweight Magomed
Ismailov dazzled with his wrestling skills -- including a
German suplex and a high-altitude slam -- in his second-round
rear-naked choking of the vastly more experienced Maxim
Kaushansky finished his own takedown-to-mount-to-back control
sequence with a rear-naked choke submission of Vusal
Bairamov in just 91 seconds.