Kenny Garner will get his rematch on Oct. 14. | Photo: Dave Mandel
A heavyweight title rematch between Guram Gugenishvili and Kenny Garner is now official, as M-1 Global announced Thursday that M-1 Challenge 27 will go down Oct. 14 from Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix.
Airing on premium cable network Showtime, the event will also feature a light heavyweight title tilt in the co-main event, as Vinny Magalhaes defends his belt against Mikhail Zayats. The event will be broadcast at 11 p.m. ET, delayed on the west coast.
M-1 Global's reigning heavyweight champion, Gugenishvili, 25, has yet to taste defeat as a professional. Born in Georgia but fighting out of Ukraine, Gugenishvili won the M-1 Selection Western Europe tournament to earn his shot at the world title against Garner last October.
The Ukrainian won the belt at M-1 Challenge 21, submitting the American with a guillotine choke just 52 seconds into round two. Gugenishvili has defended his belt once successfully thus far, finishing Maxim Grishin with a rear-naked choke on March 5.
Like Gugenishvili, Garner also won an M-1 Selection tournament to earn his shot at the belt, as “Deuce” emerged the victor in the M-1 Selection Americas draw. Since falling to the Ukrainian, Garner has looked sharp, knocking out two opponents in four months. Most recently, Garner finished Pat Bennett in the main event of M-1 Challenge 26, stepping up on short notice to replace the injured Gugenishvili at the July 8 event.
“I always said I’d get another chance to claim my belt,” Garner declare. “I made a mistake in my last fight with Guram, and I know it cost me my title. This time out, no mistakes. This is my opportunity to chase down my belt. I’ve been training hard, and I’m not losing to Guram; he’s not making it out of the first round.”