Tybura Retains Heavyweight Belt, Kharitonov Stops Garner at M-1 Challenge 53 in Beijing

By Chris Nelson Nov 25, 2014
Chinese fighters may have come away winless at M-1 Challenge 53, but there was no shortage of stoppages for the crowd at MasterCard Center to enjoy during M-1 Global’s inaugural visit to Beijing on Tuesday.

Polish heavyweight Marcin Tybura made his first successful M-1 title defense and kept his perfect record intact, improving to 12-0 with a first-round submission of previously unbeaten Estonian Denis Smoldarev in the evening’s main event.

Tybura scored a trip takedown early in the proceedings and quickly attached himself to the back of Smoldarev, who attempted to stand and shake off the high-riding champion. The Pole maintained his position and peppered his challenger with punches, then began hunting for a rear-naked choke once Smoldarev dropped back to the mat. After a few attempts, Tybura secured the RNC and elicited a tap at the 3:35 mark, giving Smoldarev his first defeat after a 9-0 start to his career.

Pride and Strikeforce veteran Sergei Kharitonov overcame early adversity in his match with American Top Team representative Kenny Garner, who faded fast after controlling Kharitonov on the ground in the first round. As Garner tired, the Russian heavyweight began to find his mark on the feet, tagging “Deuce” with knees and uppercuts in the clinch. A steady stream of heavy right crosses had Garner’s left eye swollen shut by the end of the second frame, and at 2:01 of round three, referee Marco Broersen finally waved off the contest on the ringside doctor’s advice.

Ukranian featherweight Pavel Vitruk scored the knockout of the night with a blistering KO of former Jungle Fight champion Rafael “Gogo” Miranda. Vitruk sent Miranda crashing to the canvas with a huge right hook and then knocked the Brazilian senseless with follow-up punches at 1:44 of round one.

Clinch work and takedowns were the order of the day for Damian Grabowski, as the former M-1 heavyweight titlist grappled his way to a win against Konstantin Gluhov. The “Polish Pitbull” brought Gluhov to the ground for the final time in the third round and forced the Latvian to submit to an arm-triangle choke at the 1:47 mark.

Four-time wushu sanda world champion Muslim Salikhov put his technical striking prowess on display in a welterweight duel with Brazil’s Victor Sckoteski. Salikhov shut down multiple takedown attempts to crack “Kratos” with hard hooks and leg kicks, but it was a counter right hand behind the ear that sent Sckoteski to the mat for good at 4:27 of the opening round.

Honggang Yao brought the Chinese faithful to their feet with late surges of ground-and-pound, but the onetime Legend FC bantamweight titleholder could not secure a victory for the home team. Following two evenly matched rounds with Russian “Piranha” Nikita Chistyakov, a dominant third frame from Yao was not enough to sway the judges, who ruled the bout a majority draw. No scores were announced.

After being issued a yellow card for repeatedly grabbing the ring ropes to prevent takedowns, Sergey Morozov appeared to be on his way to losing a decision against China Top Team bantamweight Rijirigala Amu. The Russian fighter kept it out of the judges’ hands by flooring Amu with a knee to the jaw and dropping heavy hammer fists to force a stoppage from referee Vyacheslav Kiselev at 4:40 of round two.

In the evening’s opening bout, debuting bantamweight Movsar Evloev from the Russian republic of Ingushetia survived a knockdown scare to take the back of Chinese opponent Jianwei Hei and coax a rear-naked choke submission at 2:56 of round two.


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