Euro Spotlight: Big M-1 Weekend Coming Up

(Russian lightweight Karen Grigoryan in action, courtesy of MixFight.Ru)

M-1 will continue their Eastern and Western Europe Selection tournaments on May 28th and 29th respectively.

On their way to determine the five winners form this year’s selection events, M-1 will hold the Eastern Europe semifinals on May 28th in Kiev, Ukraine and their Western Europe counterpart one day later in Helsinki, Finland.

The Eastern Europe fight card is packed with a plethora of tough Russian up and comers that are gunning for a spot in next year‘s M-1 Challenge. While most of them will ring no bell to the average fight fan, early favorites to win the tournaments are Arsen Timerkhanov (8-1) at welterweight, Alexander Sarnavskij (9-0) and Karen Grigoryan (10-2-1) at lightweight, Alexander Volkov (6-1) at heavyweight, Rasul Magomedov (6-0) at light-heavyweight and DREAM veteran Magomed Sultanakhmedov (12-4) at middleweight.

M-1 Selection Eastern Europe Semifinals

Tournament Semifinals (-70,3kg):
Karen Grigoryan (RUS) vs. Alexander Sarnavskij (RUS)
Arsen Ubaidulaev (RUS) vs. Artiom Damkovsky (BLR)

Tournament Semifinals (-77,1kg):
Shamil Zavurov (RUS) vs. Ramazan Abdulzhalilov (RUS)
Arsen Timerkhanov (RUS) vs. Magomedrasul Khasbulaev (RUS)

Tournament Semifinals (-83,9kg):
Magomed Sultanakhmedov (RUS) vs. Dibir Zagirov (RUS)
Alexie Belyaev (RUS) vs. Murad Magomedov (RUS)

Tournament Semifinal (-93kg):
Rasul Magomedov (RUS) vs. Shamil Tinagadjiev (RUS)
Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (RUS) vs. Alihan Magomedov (RUS)

Tournament Semifinals (+93kg):
Arsen Abdulkerimov (RUS) vs. Maxim Grishin (RUS)
Alexander Volkov (RUS vs. Alexander Romaschenko (UKR)

On May 29th, spectators in Helsinki will be treated to no less than sixteen mma fights. M-1 upped the ante for this event, as the Western Europe semifinal event will be full of super fights with established international talent.

UFC veteran David Bielkheden (15-2) will look to add his third straight win at 77 kilograms to his record after being cut from the UFC in early 2009. The Swedish grappling expert last fought in November 2009 when he punched the durable Finn Ville Rasanen into submission. Bielkheden is slated to square off with Russian M-1 veteran Rashid Magomedov (5-2).

Fellow UFC veteran Jordan Radev (22-4) will fight against “Mean Machine” Maro Perak (17-1-1). For this fight, the stocky Bulgarian wrestler moves up one weight class to light-heavyweight. Perak, the 27-year-old Judo stylist from Croatia, will once again try to break into the upper echelon of European MMA. His first try was squashed by Polish star Jan Blachowicz, who submitted Perak back in December of 2008 at KSW 10.

Russian lightweight Yuri Ivlev (12-5), who was one of the cornerstones of the Russian Legion’s 2009 M-1 Challenge win, will lock horns with Mario Stapel (16-12). The 33-year-old German Cage Warriors and FX3 veteran managed to revive his career with a move to Matt Hughes’ HIT Squad in Illinois. The stocky Russian Ivlev will provide a tough test for Stapel, who returns to the European scene.

Female mma fans will be pleased as well, as “The German Tank” Sheila Gaff (6-1) will put her striking prowess to test against Belgian Cindy Dandois (3-0), who upset Strikeforce veteran Marloes Coenen in her pro debut and has yet to taste defeat in MMA.

In further action, former European superstar Jani Lax (8-7) will return to action after a three year layoff against experienced Dutch fighter Danny van Bergen (7-6-3) and Shooto European champion Matteus Lahdesmäki (8-4-3) from Finland will duke it out with French grappler Jean Robert Monier (5-6-1).

Lightweight is without a doubt the Selection semifinals’ most interesting category. Former Chechen soccer player turned MMA fighter Mairbek Taisumov (10-2), the early favorite to win the tournament, will square off against undefeated Frenchman Julien Boussuge (5-0), who trains at the renowned Team Haute Tension. On the other side of the bracket, Dutch Muay Thai stylist Victor Kuku (7-6-1), who is famous for his deadly knee strikes, will fight against undefeated German Bundesliga-wrestler Sebastian Nowak (5-0) in a true clash of styles.

M-1 Selection Western Europe Semifinals

David Bielkheden (SWE) vs. Rashid Magomedov (RUS)
Cindy Dandois (BEL) vs. Sheila Gaff (GER)
Maro Perak (CRO) vs. Jordan Radev (BGR)
Yuri Ivlev (RUS) vs. Mario Stapel (GER)
Matteus Lähdesmäki (FIN) vs. Jean Robert Monier (FRA)
Enoc Solves (SPA) vs. Juha Saarinen (FIN)
Jani Lax (FIN) vs. Danny van Bergen (NED)
Mikael Grönfors (FIN) vs. Kriss Larcin (BEL)

Tournament Semifinals (-70,3kg):
Mairbek Taisumov (AUT) vs. Julien Boussuge (FRA)
Victor Kuku (NED) vs. Sebastian Nowak (GER)

Tournament Semifinals (-77,1kg):
Berrie Bunthof (NED) vs. Semih Arslan (BEL)
Miljan Jaksic (CRO) vs. Abner Lloveras (SPA)

Tournament Semifinals (-83,9kg):
Rafal Moks (POL) vs. Danijel Dzebic (CRO)
Jermaine Voetman (NED) vs. Ahmed Bayrak (TUR)

Tournament Semifinal (-93kg):
Thomasz Narkun (POL) vs. Timo Karttunen (FIN)

Tournament Semifinals (+93kg):
Drazen Forgac (CRO) vs Dawid Baziak (GER)

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