European Throwdown: From Iberia to Siberia

By Tim Leidecker Mar 1, 2008
The first M-1 Global Challenge takes place Sunday within the framework of the muay Thai show Slamm IV.

In an IFL-style team confrontation, UFC veteran Remco Pardoel and vale tudo bad boy Bob Schrijber (Pictures) captain the hosts from Holland against neighboring rivals Germany with former WKO champion Human Nikmaslak at the helm.

In the other team battle, five up-and-coming fighters from Russia's famous Red Devil Sport Club will square off against an interesting selection of athletes from France. The Red Devils are coached by none other than Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures), while Bushido veteran Bertrand Amoussou is in charge of Team France.

The purpose of the challenge events is to find and breed new talent. Besides the four countries competing this weekend, squads from Finland, Poland, Spain, Japan, Korea, Brazil and the United States are expected to go at it in future shows.

M-1 has already entrusted Fight Festival's Petteri Maunu and FinnFight's Marko Leisten with assembling the strongest Finnish and Scandinavian fighters. Maciej Kawulski of Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki will scout the Polish and Eastern European market, and influential Spanish coaches Chinto Mordillo and Alejandro Iglesias will cover the Iberian Peninsula. No representatives have been named for the remaining four countries.

The following M-1 Global Challenge event is scheduled for April 4 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The teams competing will be from Russia, Japan and Europe.

Although the Russian fighters competing in the Netherlands fall under the "future talent" label, M-1 is certain to bring on most of its established stars for the April 4 event at the state-of-the-art Ice Palace, which has room for 12,300 spectators.

According to the official Web site of M-1 Mix-Fight, Aleksander Emelianenko (Pictures), Roman Zentsov (Pictures) and Amar Suloev (Pictures) have already been booked for the show.

Full card for the Slamm IV / M-1 Global Challenge Holland event:

Muay Thai: Germaine de Randamie (NED) vs. Maria Verheye (BEL)
Brian Douwe (NED) vs. Rody Troost (NED)
Robert van Nimwegen (NED) vs. Mosab Amrani (NED)
Ali Gunyar (TUR) vs. Farid Villaume (FRA)
Anthony Kane (IRE) vs. Thanit Im-On (THA)
Emil Zoraj (CRO) vs. Naruepol Fairtex (THA)
Denis Schneidmiller (GER) vs. Malaipet Sasiprapa (THA)

Holland vs. Thailand
Hassan Ait Bassau (NED) vs. Anuwat Kaewsamrit (THA)
Rachid Belani (NED) vs. Sengchai Sor Kingstar (THA)
Menno Dijkstra (NED) vs. Samranchai 96Penang (THA)
Andy Souwer (Pictures) (NED) vs. Yodsanklai Fairtex (THA)

M-1 Global Challenge
Holland vs. Germany
Bogdan Cristea (Sportcentrum Kops) vs. Sven Scharley-Wegschneider (German Best Team)
Romano de los Reyes (Van Os Gym) vs. Franco de Leonardis (German Top Team)
Jason Jones (Pardoel Sports) vs. Daniel Weichel (Team Jiu-Jitsu Fighter)
Gegard Mousasi (Pictures) (Sahinbas Sportcenter) vs. Steve Mensing (Fightmonsters Rostock)
Jessie Gibbs (Team Agua) vs. Alexander Murawski (Fight Club Dresden)

Russia vs. France
Mikhail Malutin (Red Devil Sport Club) vs. Bendy Casimir (Haute Tension)
Erik Oganov (Pictures) (Red Devil Sport Club) vs. Farouk Lakebir (Gracie Barra IDF)
Dmitry Samoilov (Red Devil Sport Club) vs. Karl Amoussou (Pictures) (Team Amoussou)
Mikhail Zayats (Red Devil Sport Club) vs. Christophe Daffreville (Haute Tension)
Kiril Sidelnikov (Red Devil Sport Club) vs. Martin Soltisyk (Team France)

Dave Dalgliesh (Team Schrijber) vs. Bruno Carvalho (Team Edson Carvalho)
Oktay Karatas (Golden Glory) vs. Mehmet Uygun (Turkish Top Team)
Lopez Owonyebe (Free Fight Academy) vs. Kamil Uygun (Turkish Top Team)

Lithuanian Stars Gather at Bushido Super Tournament

Shooto Lithuania will start the 2008 season March 16 with its "Super Turnyro" (super tournament, also known as MMA Bushido "The Battle Field"). The event, scheduled to take place inside the largest and most modern indoor arena in the Baltic -- the 12,000-seat Siemens Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania -- will pit most of the country's most established fighters against an international cast of opponents.

Currently, Shooto and K-1 veteran Marius Liaukevicius (Pictures) is expected to headline the show against former karate world champion Ireneusz Mila from Poland. In the co-main event, Bushido veteran Egidijus Valavicius, who has graced the ring with Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) and Andrei Kopylov, will fight Italian slugger Matteo Minonzio.

Full card:
Erikas Petraitis (Pictures) (LIT) vs. Masanori Kanehara (Pictures) (JAP)
Gediminas Zabotkus (LIT) vs. Denis Schneidmiller (GER)
Maksim Nevolia (LIT) vs. Ichiro Kojima (Pictures) (JAP)
Rolandas Agrba (LIT) vs. Phillip Höhne (GER)
Petras Markevicius (LIT) vs. Noufel Ammelouk (MAR)
Egidijus Valavicius (LIT) vs. Matteo Minozio (ITA)
Marius Liaukevicius (Pictures) (LIT) vs. Ireneusz Mila (POL)

Khalidov Rejects UFC Offer, May Enter Dream Grand Prix

Chechen light heavyweight Mamed Khalidov, one of the breakout stars of 2007, has turned down an offer to fight in the UFC. The 27-year-old fighter has cited the same reasons Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) did, saying Zuffa's contracts are too restrictive.

Khalidov trains at Grappling Krakow in Southern Poland. He is a huge star in his adoptive country and is scheduled to headline the next KSW event, Eliminacje 2, on March 29. Shuttling back and forth between the UFC and KSW would not have been possible if he had signed with Zuffa.

Still in the running for the services of the "Cannibal," whose fighting style resembles a young Mauricio Rua (Pictures), are M-1 Global, Dream and EliteXC, according to a recent interview. An admitted Pride fan, it is likely that Khalidov will sign for the new coalition between K-1 promoter FEG and former members of Dream Stage Entertainment.

A small light heavyweight at only 195 pounds, the Chechen Top Team member could very well cut down to middleweight and participate in Dream's middleweight grand prix, which commences April 29.

‘Hasa' Signs Exclusive Deal with HCF

Czech featherweight Michal Hamrsmid, one of the premier 143-pound fighters in Europe, has signed an exclusive three-fight contract with Canadian promotion Hardcore Championship Fighting.

The 27-year-old submission specialist has competed all over Europe in his seven-year career. He will drop down a weight class to make his North American debut March 29 against undefeated Canadian bantamweight Bill Boland.

To pursue the chance to fight for HCF, "Hasa" had to turn down an opportunity to fight for the vacant Free Fight Championship featherweight title on May 4 in Leipzig.

European Flavor at UFC Fight Night 13

The next UFC Fight Night, set to take place April 2 just outside of Denver, promises to be the biggest show of its kind. The 12-fight card is filled with fighters who have fought on pay-per-view or who have even headlined shows in the past (Florian, Aurelio, Guida).

Very pleasing from a European perspective is the inclusion of the Armenian-Californian trio Karo Parisyan (Pictures), Manny Gamburyan and Roman Mitichyan as well as Frenchman Samy Schiavo (Pictures). While Schiavo will be making his UFC debut, Gamburyan and Mitichyan will try to work their way up the latter in the lightweight and welterweight divisions.

Karo Parisyan (Pictures) is already much further ahead in his career. The 25-year-old judoka had the chance to fight for the welterweight title in November 2005 but had to cancel the bout against Matt Hughes (Pictures) due to injury. Now he is working hard to get a second chance. With eight wins in his last nine fights, he can't be far away from getting the shot.

For more mixed martial arts news coverage in German, log on to Ground & Pound at
<h2>Fight Finder</h2>