Former M-1 Challenge featherweight champion Ivan “Buki” Buchinger hopes to bounce back strong from his title-losing loss against M-1 Global-debuting Andrey Krasnikov, March 10 in the M-1 Challenge 89 main event, at the new M-1 Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
M-1 Challenge 89 will be live-streamed from Russia in high definition on www.M1Global.TV. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV. Fans may watch all the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets. M-1 Challenge 89 is available on www.FITE.TV (preliminary card is free, $7.99 for the main card)
Buchinger (32-6-0, M-1: 7-2-0), fighting out of Slovakia, captured the M-1 Challenge featherweight title on October 17, 2014, stopping Tural Ragimov on punches in the fourth round, in the M-1 Challenge 52 Fight of the Night. Buchinger retained his title for more than three years, losing his title belt last November 24 at M-1 Challenge 86, when he was knockout by punches in the opening round by Khamzat Dalgiev.
“I did not suffer any injuries,” Buchinger reflected on his loss to Dalgiev. “Physically I felt good, but I was extremely disappointed because my opponent was so lucky to deliver a nice punch. It was just a lucky punch that knocked me out. Everything went as planned up until that moment, when I made a single fatal mistake. He was lucky that night, bit I don’t want to belittle Khamzat’s skills. He’s an excellent fighter and a great person.
“Would I win a rematch? I don’t want to make any predictions but, if we fight for the second time, we will see who is going to be the winner. But I am sure that I am a better fighter than him. Real champions do not care about who they fight, so I will fight any opponent to get my belt back. Everybody knows who the true champion is, so, as soon as I have an opportunity to win the title, I’ll do it.”
The road back to the top for Buchinger will not be easy. His opponent, Krasnikov (14-3-0, M-1: 0-0-0), plans to make a big splash in his first M-1 Global competition, positioning himself for a future M-1 Challenge title shot. The well-balanced Ukrainian, who has won 13 of his last 14 pro fights, is equally adept on his feet or ground.
“He is a young, strong opponent,” Buchinger spoke about his next opponent, “who is always ready to go until the end. I take all my fights seriously and the next one won’t be an exception. My coaches and team have watched some of my opponent’s fights and helped me to understand what I need to do in the fight, what I need to avoid. I am sure that I can get my strap back and this fight should become my first step. This time I feel a little bit different because I don’t feel any pressure, which I used to feel as champion.
“I am happy to fight in Saint Petersburg at the new M-1 Arena. I love Russian fans because they really understand MMA and are always very hospitable. I am going to make a huge comeback and win in style!”
Russian kickboxing specialist Viktor Kolesnik (11-3-1, M-1: 2-1-1) takes on M-1 Global first-time fighter David “Davi Boxer” Silva de Souza (7-2-0, M-1: 0-0-0) in an intriguing match-up of contrasting styles of fighting.
Former UFC and Bellator fighter, Canadian flyweight Chris “The Greek Assassin” Kelades (12-3-0, M-1: 1-0-0) may have found a new home in M-1 Global, but he faces a tough challenger, Vitaliy Branchuk (23-7-0, M-1: 2-3-0), of Ukraine.
The always popular heavyweights will also be in the spotlight as Zaur Hajibabayev (6-1-0, M-1: 4-0-0), Azerbaijan, attempts to extend his M-1 Global win streak to five against always dangerous Anton Vyazigin (8-2-0, M-1: 3-1-0), of Russia.
Rounding out the highly competitive main card is a lightweight match between another former UFC combatant, Frenchman Mickael “Ragnar” Lebout (16-8-2, 1 NC, M-1: 0-0-0) in his long-awaited M-1 Global debut, against veteran Sergey Faley (20-10-0, M-1: 4-1-0).
All fighters and fights are subject to change.