M-1 Global has announced a tripleheader of M-1 Challenge title fights to be held June 28 at M-1 Challenge 102 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
Kazakh Power will be on full display. Undefeated M-1 Challenge welterweight champion Shavkat Rakhnonov (11-0, M-1: 6-0), of Kazakhstan, defends his title against Brazilian challenger Tiago “Bahia” Varejao Lacerda (28-6-1, 1 NC, M-1: 2-1), while Rakhnonov’s fellow countryman, Sergey Morozov (14-4, M-1: 7-3), battles unbeaten Russian prospect Alexander Osetrov (5-0-1, M-1: 4-0-1) for the vacant M-1 bantamweight crown.
M-1 Challenge featherweight titlist Nate “The Train” Landwehr (12-2, M-1: 4-0) puts his title on the line against Russian challenger Viktor Kolesnik (15-3-1, M-1: 4-1-1) in a much-anticipated rematch.
M-1 Challenge 102 will be live-streamed from Kazakhstan 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 102 will also be is available onwww.FITE.TV(preliminary card is free, $7.99 for the main card).
Rakhmonov captured his welterweight title at the previous show, M-1 Challenge 101, on his home turf in Kazakhstan, defeating Danila Prikaza by way of a second-round stoppage on punches to extend his remarkable win streak to 11. The popular Kazakh fighter will face a very experienced Brazilian finisher, Tiago “Bahia” Varejao Lacerda (28-6-1, 1 NC, M-1: 1-1), in his initial title defense.
Never forced to go the full distance during his fantastic MMA pro career, Rakhmonov has finished all 11 opponents to date with six knockouts and five submissions on his impressive record.
Rakhmonov finishes off Prikaza
The 29-year-old Lacerda pulled off an upset in his M-1 Global debut last year, winning a close, yet sensational victory over always dangerous Sergey Romanov. Tiago then lost another close fight by split decision to Maksim Grabovich, brutally TKOing his Chinese opponent, Kurbanjiang Tuluosibake, in his last match. Varejao has an 82-percent finish rate and he will be ready to take on the Rakhnonov in M-1 Challenge 102 main event.
Earlier this year, M-1 Challenge bantamweight champion Movsar Evloev relinquished his M-1 title belt to sign a UFC contract. The 135-pound division in M-1 Global is stacked with great athletes and two of the best will fight for the vacant belt on June 28th in the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan.
In the co-featured event, Kazakh veteran fighter Morozov, who will be in his second title fight, faces Osetrov, a student of famed Russian champion Alexander Shlemenko, has won four of five M-1 fights along with one draw.
In his first title shot, Morozov lost to Evloev on his home soil in the mountains of Ingushetia. Morozov has won three fights in a row since then and now he has an opportunity to become the only the second M-1 Challenge champion ever from Kazakhstan.
The 22-year-old Osetrov has won all his fights by decision, In the last fight, he defeated the elder brother of the former champion, previously unbeaten Salem Evloev, to earn this title shot. If Osetrov wins the title, he will join his teammate, Roman Bogatov, on the list of M-1 Challenge champions.
The third title fight of M-1 Challenge 102 is a rematch of the 2017 Fight of the Year, in which Landwehr won a split decision over Kolesnik. Both fighters have since won two fights each, all four ending early, and now they are preparing for a huge rematch.
Nate Landwehr (L) and Viktor Kolesnik went toe-to-toe in a bloody war
Landwehr, 30, made his M-1 Global debut on September 23, 2017 at M-1 Challenge 83 in Kazan, Russia. The entertaining Tennessean knocked out Mikhail Korobkov (13-3-1) in second round. Up next was the aforementioned bloody war with Kolesnik, in Moscow, less than two months later at M-1 Challenge 85, when “The Train” won a split decision, snapping Kolesnik’s 13-fight unbeaten streak in the process.
Landwehr’s first title fight was against defending champion Khamzat Dalgiev (10-1), who had shocked the MMA world eight months earlier, upsetting M-1 Challenge featherweight titlist Ivan Buchinger, whose title reign lasted more than three years, by way of a shocking opening-round knockout punch.
Fighting for the first time in an M-1 Global main event, Landwehr successfully challenged Dalgiev at M-1 Challenge 95, punching his way to a second-round stoppage for the M-1 Challenge featherweight crown, on July 21, 2018.
Landwehr’s first title defense was this past December in Kazakhstan at M-1 Challenge Battle at Atyrau in Kazakhstan versus Andrey “Iron” Lezhnev (18-8-0), of Ukraine, who had won nine of his last 10 fights, including the last three in a row, and he had been stopped only once in 25 professional MMA fights.
Kolesnik rebounded from his loss to Landwehr by submitting his Brazilian opponent, David Souza, via a guillotine choke only 44-seconds into the opening round, followed by a victory against another American, Daniel Swain, who was unable to continue fighting after being on the receiving end of numerous leg kicks while he was prone on the ground.
Additional matches will soon be announced. All fights and fighters are subject to change.