Orange County's Hangar Hosts M-1 Challenge 26

By Mike Whitman Jun 7, 2011
M-1 Challenge 26 now has a venue, as the event will go down July 8 from The Hangar at the O.C. Fair and Events Center in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Sherdog.com learned of the event's location from a source close to the situation on Tuesday. M-1 Challenge 26 will feature two championship bouts, as Guram Gugenishvili defends his heavyweight belt against Pat Bennett, while lightweight king Jose Figueroa (pictured) puts his title on the line against Daniel Weichel.

M-1 Challenge 26 will mark the promotion's second of four planned trips to the United States in 2011. Like M-1 Challenge 24, the event is expected to air on premium cable network Showtime. Future events held on American soil are tentatively scheduled for October and December.

Undefeated through nearly two years as a pro, Gugenishvili is widely regarded as M-1's best heavyweight prospect. The Georgian-born Ukrainian has fought nearly the whole of his career under the M-1 banner, winning the promotion's heavyweight title in October by submitting Kenny Garner with a guillotine choke. The 24-year-old defended his belt successfully in March, submitting Maxim Grishin with a rear-naked choke at M-1 Challenge 23.

Like Gugenishvili, Bennett also began his career in 2009, facing future Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad in just his second pro fight at Bellator 17. Bennett rebounded from the loss by posting back-to-back wins in the M-1 Selection series, losing to the aforementioned Garner in The Americas Finals in September. Most recently, Bennett posted a win over Alexander Volkov at M-1 Challenge 22 in December.
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