M1 Challenge 50 Report – Astana, Kazakhstan, 3rd July 2015

M1 Challenge 50 Report – Astana, Kazakhstan, 3rd July 2015

Ian Butlin gives us the rundown from M-1 Challenge 59 live from Kazakhstan.

Kenny Garner vs. Sergei Kharitonov

M1 Global events go out to over 100 countries around the world on the TV and internet (m1Global.tv). The promotion has had over 150 events in the 18 years they have been going and is one of the premier MMA promotions in the world. Fights take place in ‘The Rage’, half ring/half cage which, in my experience calling fights over the last 10 years, makes for the least stalling of any fighting arena.

I’ve been involved with M1 Global for nearly 6 years as a fighter and then commentator with my partner on the mic Ian ‘The Machine’ Freeman, and we have been lucky enough to see some of the most spectacular and packed out venues the sport has ever seen from 23,000+ in the mountains of Ingushetia, Russia to packed out Ice stadiums in Moscow and casinos in Atlantic City and Kansas.

Astana, Kazakhstan is as spectacular as any of those and the love of combat sports was evident in the airport as Sambo was being shown on the flat screen TVs to the public waiting to travel. The much anticipated card could not disappoint…

The Undercard

The five fight undercard had a couple of real standouts for me. Arte Frolov of Russia in the opening fight came out to beat local fighter Inzhel Erkimbek with solid shots that dazed and dropped the Kazakhstan man and left him unable to defend a first round triangle.

Another Kazakhstan local and fan favourite Damir Ismagulov looked a future world beater with his first round destruction of very capable BJJ Black Belt Pedro Eugenio Granjo. Sharp striking and punches led to a destructive 1st round TKO by ground and pound.

The undercard finished with a very close 3 round war between Daniel Tabera (Spain) and Rashid Dagaev (Kazakhstan) which wouldn’t of looked out of place in a Rocky Movie, with both guys up and down off the canvas. The final knockdown likely claimed it for the local fighter.

Main Card

David Trallero (Spain) vs. Zaur Gadzhibabaev (Azerbaijan)

This heavyweight encounter saw the contest start with the combination punches of the Azerbaijan man competing with the high kicks of the fighter from Spain. Both guys moving light on their feet more like Middleweights. However, it was Tralleros covering up on the ropes too much that led to a TKO win for Zaur Gadzhibabaev

Andy Young (Ireland) vs. Sergey Morozov (Kazakhstan)

This Bantamweight fight, the first in M1 history, saw Ireland’s Andy Young fly out of the blocks straight into the clinch of the local man and end up suplexed on his head. This started a torrid round for the Irishman where it would be repeated 5 or 6 times, and left him defending a good rear naked choke attempt.

Round 2 saw Young come out much more controlled and he started to edge into the fight with great striking. As it was really starting to even up and become a 50/50 battle Morozov landed a spinning backfist that was followed by some fast ground and pound, signalling the end for the Irishman.

Luigi ’Italian Tank’ Fioravanti (USA) vs. Sergey Kovalev (Russia)

‘The Italian Tank’ came out swinging big bombs with right and left hooks and was looking totally in control until Kovalev caught a kick attempt and hit him with a big right hand counter. Unbeaten Kovalev could be excused for his slow start after 2 years out of MMA but, even after a good finish, maybe didn’t do enough to edge the first round.

In the second Kovalev badly dropped and wobbled Fioravanti and followed to the floor looking to finish. This would be his downfall as the American took the back and the Russian’s unbeaten record with a hand to hand Rear Naked Choke at 1.56.

Michal Wiencek (Poland) vs. Shavkhat Rakhmonov (Kazakhstan)

The standout star of the show was surely Rakhmonov. Fast sharp striking followed by an even faster guillotine saw him make a very good fighter in Wiencek look relatively ordinary. One to watch!

Main Event

Kenny ‘Deuce’ Garner (USA) vs. Sergey Kharitonov (Russia)

With a combination of nearly 250kgs and 50 fights between them, plus the fact it was a rematch after a Garner third round injury stoppage first time round, this was always going to be fireworks. Highly anticipated, opinions before the fight seemed completely split down the middle and you could feel the tension in the arena.

Garner came out with his Tyson-esque side to side movement, constantly bobbing and  using the jab followed by hooks from each side. Over time he stopped still for a second, though it was the jab of the Russian that seemed to shake him to his boots. In the last minute of the round the Pride Heavyweight GP veteran put a right hand on the end of the jab that dropped Kenny, heavily opening up a big cut.

It was an impressive win which will surely show this 23-5, 34yr old heavyweight is worthy of a fight with any heavyweight on the planet.

M-1 Challenge 59: Kharitonov vs. Garner 2 was full of amazing finishes and fights. Therefore M-1 Global had decided to give additional money bonuses to the certain fighters who showed their best at the event:

Сергей Морозов got his “Knockout of the Night” bonus for his amazing backfist KO over Andy Young.

Shavkat Rahmonov got “Submission of the Night” for his 1st round choke over Michal Wiencek.

And Luigi Fioravanti with Sergey Kovalev got “Fight of the Night” bonus for one of the most fiersome and unstoppable performance, full of knockdowns, comebacks and iron will shown by both fighters.

The next events are on the 5th Aug in Orel, Russia and 5th Sept in Beijing, China.
You can watch all events on M1Global.tv live and all previous events at the offer price of just 3.99 Euros.

Ian M16 Butlin
Twitter: ianm16butlin