M-1 Global’s heavyweight title picture became more interesting following M-1 Challenge 55, an event where both standout Denis Smoldarev and former champion Kenny Garner picked up key victories of in the case of Smoldarev a keylock victory. M-1 Challenge 55 took place February 21st at the Tbilisi Sports Palace with a main card broadcast on the Fight Network, a pay-per-view replay webcast is available at through the promotion’s website http://m1global.tv/.
First a little history is in order. The current M-1 Challenge heavyweight champion is Marcin Tybura who won the belt by defeating Damian Grabowski at M-1 Challenge 50 and is still undefeated at 12-0 with five of his last six fights ending in the first round. Six times Tybura has won by submission, four times by KO/TKO while the 29 year-old has only gone the distance twice.
The loss to Tybura was Grabowski’s first loss in six fights. Since then the fellow Polish fighter defeated Konstantin Gluhov in November to stand 20-2 with eleven victories by submission, six by KO/TKO, and three by decision to go with his one submission and one decision loss. Besides the loss to Tybura Grabowski’s only loss was to original Bellator champion Cole Konrad in a battle that was typical lay-and-pray for the larger American wrestler.
Tybura’s first defense was against previously unbeaten Estonian fighter Denis Smoldarev at M-1 Challenge 53. Smoldarev is dangerous with submissions with now four of his wins in his 10-1 record coming by armbar, kimura, or keylock but it was a rear-naked choke with which Tybura caught Smoldarev.
Smoldarev’s opponent at M-1 Challenge 55 was Maro Perak. Perak entered the bout with a loss to Tybura from M-1 Challenge 47, prior to Tybura’s capturing the title. Although coming off that loss Perak holds a win over UFC vet Travis Wiuff and Strikeforce vet Bob Sapp and went the distance in his loss to UFC vet and former ADCC Worlds champion Jeff Monson. At M-1 Challenge 55 Smoldarev handed Perak his second loss in a row, the first time in Perak’s 23-5 career he has dropped two straight.
In the co-main event former champion Kenny Garner defeated Aslambek Musaev by arm-triangle choke. Garner was briefly champion back in 2012 when he defeated Guran Gugenishvili for the second time out of their three fights but a four-loss skid from April 2013 through the summer of 2014 put Garner out of contention as Tybura and Smoldarev ascended. Garner turned his career around in the fall of 2014 with two wins but lost to Sergei Kharitonov last November.
No word is available on if Smoldarev or Grabowski will be Tybura’s next opponent. Grabowski makes more sense as he is a bigger name being a Bellator vet with a 2-1 record in that promotion as well as already having time to recover before starting a new training camp. That said it is of note the results press release form this show proclaim Smoldarev “positioned himself for another title shot” with this win.
M-1 Global have nine more events scheduled for 2015 with the next one being April 10th. Very little information is currently available on any of the upcoming fight cards, about all that is known is the April 10th card is currently headlined by Vyacheslav Vasilevsky vs. Ramazan Emeev for the middleweight title.
M-1 Challenge 55 results
- Raul Tutarauli def. Artur Alieve 1:45 R3 by rear-naked choke
- Artem Frolov def. Artur Odilbekov 1:37 R1 by guillotine choke
- Batraz Agaev def. Lukasz Borowski 2:09 R1 by rear-naked choke
- Enoc Solves Torres def. Ibrahim Tebilov 1:35 R3 by rear-naked choke
- Arsen Abdulkerimov def. Levan Razmadze 3:58 R1 by armbar
- Artiom Damkovsky def. Heydar Mamedaliev by unanimous decision
- Max Coga def. Pavel Vitruk 2:36 R3 by rear-naked choke
- Nodar Kudukhashvili def. Luigi Fioravanti by unanimous decision
- Kenny Garner def. Aslambek Musaev 2:50 R2 by arm-triangle choke
- Denis Smoldarev def. Maro Perak 3:05 R1 by keylock
- Kurbanali Abdusalamov def. Archil Taziashvili by unanimous decision
- Soso Nizharadze def. Shamil Alibekov by unanimous decision