Alexander Volkov (left) outpointed Denis Goltsov at M-1 Challenge 25. | Photo Courtesy: M-1 Global
Vinny Magalhaes had to fight through serious cardio problems against Viktor Nemkov to claim the vacant M-1 Challenge light heavyweight belt at M-1 Challenge 25 on Thursday at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In the event’s second championship bout, Russian Shamil Zavurov edged 2010 Sengoku welterweight grand prix runner-up Yasubey Enomoto in a five-round affair.
Magalhaes looked for the takedown from the start of the fight, but Nemkov reversed his first clinch and outside trip. Once he put the Brazilian grappling ace on his back, Nemkov immediately found himself defending multiple submission attempts from the rubber guard. A finalist on Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Magalhaes was close to tapping his foe with a tight omoplata; however, the Red Devil Sport Club product escaped the tight technique. In the second round, Magalhaes started to show signs of fatigue, but he still secured mounts on two occasions and threatened Nemkov with a belly-down armbar.
The clearly gassed Brazilian entered the third round desperately looking for takedowns. Even though the Russian knocked him down face-first with a right hand, Magalhaes somehow put Nemkov on his back. Once again, it took little time for the Brazilian to move to the mount, where he transitioned to a gogoplata position and forced Nemkov to tap with a twisted neck crank 1:40 in the third round.
Zavurov had to endure a taxing five-round battle to make the second successful defense of his M-1 Challenge welterweight strap against the late replacement, Enomoto. The Switzerland-based Peruvian shut out Zavurov’s trademark ground-and-pound attack with a rubber guard control. The first round of the championship bout was fairly even, as Zavurov got two takedowns and Enomoto clinched his hands from the guard.
The next two rounds went to the Peruvian, as he was close to finishing the Russian with a kimura attempt in the second stanza and then scored big in the third with straight punches and knees in the clinch on the visibly tired rival. The titleholder came back in the championship rounds. Exhausted, he scored multiple takedowns, and even though he did not do much damage otherwise, Enomoto did even less, reducing his activity to inefficient rubber guard. After five rounds, all three judges rendered a decision in favor of the local fighter.
In an anticipated middleweight showdown, Russian veteran Andrei Semenov proved he had lost no step after a two-year hiatus from the sport, when he outpointed UFC veteran Luigi Fioravanti to a unanimous decision. Semenov was a much faster fighter over the course of the bout, scoring with heavy hooks and leg kicks. Fioravanti constantly tried to take the fight to ground, but the Russian fighter defended all those attempts with ease. Semenov put the stamp on his victory in the third round, when he took advantage of Fioravanti’s slip to batter him with punches on the ground; he later scored a knockdown with a right hook.
In a battle of welterweights, Alexander Yakovlev handed German prospect Christian Eckerlin his first loss with a rear-naked choke submission 3:14 in round two. Yakovlev won the first round, getting takedowns and occasional ground-and-pound. After the break, the Russian once again brought the fight to floor. When Eckerlin tried to scramble back to his feet, Yakovlev took his back, put the hooks in and applied the fight-ending choke.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Zayats delivered an impressive beatdown to Frenchman Malik Merad in their light heavyweight contest. He took his opponent down right away and started a methodical ground-and-pound attack, hitting Merad with punches to the head and elbows to the body; he even tried to apply a straight neck crank. Merad made it to the second round, but he was once again quickly put on his back. Zayats trapped his right hand behind the back and finished the fight with a series of unanswered right hands 49 seconds into the round.
Fedor Emelianenko’s main training partner, heavyweight Maxim Grishin, needed more than 13 minutes to put away journeyman Vladimir Kuchenko. Grishin landed more than a dozen leg kicks in the first two rounds but gave up two takedowns and a side position in the process. The damage to the leg caused the end of the fight 3:14 in the third stanza, when Kuchenko collapsed to the canvas after he had eaten another precise kick to his thigh.
Even though Alexander Volkov showed no improvement in his defensive wrestling against the less-experienced Denis Goltsov, the lanky heavyweight polished off his compatriot 3:05 in the second stanza. The Red Devil representative could not stop any of his opponent’s takedown attempts, but he was clearly superior in the standup. In the second, the fighters traded mount positions, and Goltsov was even close to securing a triangle choke. However, when Volkov got on top, his solid ground-and-pound prompted referee Marco Broersen to stop the fight.
Welterweights Juan Manuel Suarez Montesdeoca and Arsen Temirkhanov put on a back-and-forth, albeit sloppy, grappling battle. The Spaniard was close to finishing the fight when he countered Temirkhanov’s backfist with an overhand right that knocked him down. The Russian recovered from the battery of punches and went on to win the third stanza. However, this was not enough to secure him a win, as all three judges awarded Suarez the victory.
Dagestanian middleweight Ramazan Emeev survived first-round kneebar and third-round triangle choke scares from Murad Magomedov to wrestle his way to a unanimous decision.
In the event’s welterweight opener, Ramazan Esenbaev dominated Albert Akhmetov with freestyle takedowns and earned the stoppage with a series of punches from the mount position 2:49 into the second round.