Two championship bouts have been made official for M-1 Challenge
26, as Guram
Gugenishvili defends his heavyweight title against Pat Bennett
Figueroa puts his lightweight strap on the line against
The event, which goes down on July 8, will mark the promotion’s
second trip to the United States this year. An exact location for
the show has not yet been announced. Two more M-1 Challenge events
are expected to take place stateside later in 2011.
“M-1 Global is fully engaged in preparations for this year’s second
U.S.-based ‘Challenge’ event,” M-1 Global Director of Operations
Evgeni Kogan said in a statement. “The European fighters who
participated on the March card enjoyed great success in their North
American debuts, setting the bar extremely high for those coming
from overseas in July. This group of fighters is eager to put on
exciting performances for the fans.”
Gugenishvili (Pictured; file photo) is undefeated through 11
professional outings. The Ukrainian captured the M-1 Global
heavyweight title last year, submitting Kenny
Garner with a guillotine choke in the second round. Most
recently, Gugenishvili successfully defended his belt for the first
time, finishing Maxim Grishim with a first-round rear-naked choke
A member of Team Bombsquad, Bennett is a four-time veteran of M-1
competition. Beginning his professional career in 2009, the
heavyweight took on current Bellator Fighting Championships
heavyweight king Cole Konrad
in just his second pro fight. Though he fell to Konrad by unanimous
decision, Bennett went on to post a 3-1 record inside the M-1 ring.
Most recently, the American bested Alexander
Volkov at M-1 Challenge 22 in December.
Figueroa rides a three-fight winning streak heading into his first
title defense. The American Top Team Orlando representative comes
fresh off his title-winning performance against Artiom
Damkovsky in March, when Figueroa sealed the deal by delivering
unanswered ground-and-pound in the second frame.
A King of the Cage and British Association of Mixed Martial Arts
veteran, Weichel has won eight of his last nine contests, including
three straight in the last year. The German is undefeated in M-1
competition, holding a perfect mark of 4-0. Weichel most recently
Khasbulaev with a triangle choke at M-1 Challenge 24.