M-1 Moves March 16 ‘Monson vs. Oleinik’ Event from U.S. to Russia

By Tristen Critchfield Feb 6, 2012
M-1 Global has changed the venue of its March 16 fight card, moving it from a yet-to-be determined location in the United States to St. Petersburg, Russia.

On Saturday, Showtime Sports officials added M-1 Challenge 31 “Monson vs. Oleinik” to the premium cable channel’s 2012 television schedule. A day later, the promotion confirmed the Showtime announcement on its website, but Monday, the post was removed and replaced by a flier announcing that the event would take place in Russia.

“M-1 Challenge 31, which takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, on March 16 isn’t on Showtime in the U.S.,” Evgeni Kogan, director of operations for M-1 Global, tweeted Monday. “It is live on Russia 2 from 8 p.m. [local time].”

M-1 held four U.S.-based events on Showtime in 2011, with its most recent stateside trip coming on Dec. 9 at The Hanger in Costa Mesa, Calif., for M-1 Challenge 30 “Zavurov vs. Enomoto.” It appeared that a similar schedule would be adopted for this year, but at the moment it is unclear how the sudden change will affect Showtime. As of Monday, the March 16 event was still present on its TV listings.

Emanating from the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, M-1 Challenge 31 is headlined by a heavyweight tilt between four-time UFC veteran Jeff Monson (Pictured) and sambo specialist Alexey Oleinik. Monson fought six times in 2011, losing a unanimous decision to Fedor Emelianenko in his most recent outing. Before he locks horns with Oleinik, the American Top Team product will face Alexander Illiasov on Feb. 11.

A former Bellator Fighting Championships competitor, Oleinik last fought in July, falling by technical knockout to Magomed Malikov in the first round. The 34-year-old Red Devil Sport Club representative has earned 27 of his 33 career victories by submission.

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