Veteran Russian fighters Alexander Shlemenklo and Alexander Volkov were the big winners in M-1 Challenge 64 action last night at Olympic Stadium in Moscow.
Shlemenko (52-9-0), a three-time Bellator champion, returned to M-1 Global in grand style, winning a close but unanimous decision over former 2-division M-1 Challenge division Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (28-3-0), of Russia, in their M-1 Global Grand Prix Middleweight Tournament match. Shlemenko advances to the championship final later this year to face the winner of the other semifinals fight (April 8) at M-1 Challenge 65 between reigning M-1 Challenge middleweight champion Ramazan Emeev (13-3-0) and Brazilian Maiquel “Big Rig” Falcao (35-8-0). Emeev was the 2015 M-1 Global Fighter of the Year.
M-1 Global’s newly signed Alexander “Drago” Volkov (25-6-0), of Russia, captured the vacant M-1 Challenge heavyweight championship, defeating Estonian strongman Denis Smoldarev (11-2-0) by way of a third-round submission via a triangle choke.
In the M-1 Challenge Bantamweight Semifinals Eliminator matches, Pavel Vitruk (13-2-0) and Ukrainian Vitaly Branchuk (21-5-0) both won unanimous decisions to advance to the championship final to determine the new M-1 Challenge bantamweight champion. Vitruk got past his previously undefeated Kazakh opponent Sergey Morozov (6-1-1), while Branchuk got the better of Antun “Killer” Racic (18-7-0), of Croatia.
Late replacement Vladimir Kathyhin (32-6-1), of Ukraine, won a decision over American middleweight Joe Ray (13-5-0) in the other main card fight.
On the preliminary card, Russian middleweight Magomed Mutaev (7-2-0), Russian welterweight Maksin Grabovich (3-2-0) and Ukrainian featherweight Andrey “Iron” Lezhnev (8-5-0) were all unanimous decision winners, respectively, against Ukrainian Vadim “Archie” Orischak (5-5-0), German Stefan Larisch (8-4-0) and Russian Timur Nagibin.
Russian heavyweight Kurban Ibragimov (4-1-0) knocked out Dmitriy Mikutsa (5-3-0), of Ukraine, in the opening round, while Russian middleweight Valery “The Russian Hammer” Myasnikov (9-1-1) locked in a rear naked choke on Ukrainian foe Vyacheslav “Bison” Bogomol (8-2-0) to win by second-round submission.
Complete results and picture gallery below (all winners listed first):
M-1 GLOBAL GRAND PRIX MIDDLEWEIGHT TOURNAMENT – SEMIFINALS
Alexander Shlemenko (52-9-0, M-1: 3-0-0), Russia
Vyacheslav Vaselevsky (27-4-0, M-1: 10-2-0), Russia
(Shlemenko advances to M-1 Global Grand Prix middleweight final)
VACANT M-1 CHALLENGE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Alexander Volkov (25-6-0, M-1: 9-3-0), Russia
WSUB3 (Triangle Choke – 0:32)
Denis Smoldaraev (11-2-0, M-1: 7-2-0), Estonia
(Volkov captures M-1 Challenge heavyweight title)
M-1 CHALLENGE BANTAMWEIGHT SEMIFINALS ELIMINATOR
Pavel Vitruk (13-2-0, M-1: 7-2-0), Russia
Sergey Morozov (6-1-0, M-1: 2-1-0), Kazakhstan
Vitaly Branchuk (21-5-0, M-1: 1-1-0), Ukraine
Antun Racic (18-7-0, M-1: 3-4-0), Croatia
(Vitruk & Branchuk advance to M-1 Challenge bantamweight title fight)
Vladimir Katyhin (32-6-1, M-1: 2-0-0), Ukraine
Joe Ray (13-5-0, M-1: 0-1-0, United States
Kurban Ibragimov (4-1-0, M-1: 3-1-0, Russia
Dmitriy Mikutsa (5-3-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Ukraine
Magomed Mutaev (7-2-0, M-1: 4-0-0), Russia
Vadim Orischak (5-5-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Russia
Valery Myasnikov (9-1-1, M-1: 1-1-1), Russia
WSUB2 (Rear Naked Choke – 2:37)
Vyacheslav Bogomol (5-2-0, M-1: 1-1-0), Russia
Maksin Grabovich (3-2-0, M-1: 3-0-0), Russia
Stefan Larisch (8-4-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Germany
Andrey Lezhnev (8-5-0, M-1: 2-1-0), Ukraine
Timur Nagibin (5-2-0, M-1: 1-1-0), Russia