Ukraine’s Guram Gugenishvili
and Belarus’ Artiom Damkovsky
were crowned M-1 champions, while Russian prospect Magomed Shikshabekov
suffered defeat for the first time at Thursday’s M-1 Challenge 21
at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Gugenishvili, a Georgian national based in Kiev, choked out the M-1 Americas Selections winner Kenny Garner
to win the vacant M-1 heavyweight title.
The first round was filled with scrambles, as both fighters escaped from the bottom of one another multiple times. It ended quickly when the second period began, however: Garner moved in to clinch and Gugenishvili quickly gripped a guillotine, locking up Garner’s arm and rendering the American unconscious just 52 seconds into the round.
With the win, Gugenishvili moved his record to an unbeaten 10-0 with nine submissions.
M-1’s lightweight title went to Belarus with Artiom Damkovsky
, who forced Mairbek Taisumov
to quit in the third round of their back-and-forth tilt.
The first 10 minutes of the affair were wild: Damkovsky was the better striker, pelting Taisumov with low and mid-kicks, but in the second round, Taisumov got a takedown and crushed Damkovsky with heavy ground-and-pound. As he neared being stopped, Damkovsky reversed position, taking full mount on Taisumov and returning the favor in the last minute.
In the third round, Taisumov was too tired to keep driving for takedowns and had to take his chances standing with the Belarussian. Halfway through the round, Taisumov was poked in the eye by Damkovsky. Though the doctor cleared him to continue, Taisumov declined to continue fighting and Damkovsky was declared the winner and the M-1 lightweight champion at 2:52 of the third round.
England’s Che Mills
handed hot prospect Magomed Shikshabekov
his first career loss by four-round unanimous decision after an extension round.
Shikshabekov, who had needed only 95 seconds on average to claim victory over his prior opponents, struggled with the size and strength of the British veteran. Though Shikshabekov managed to get Mills to the ground with his first attempted throw and then worked diligently for leglocks, Mills defended the Russian’s subsequent takedowns, taking over the fight with clean, hard knee strikes.
In the third round, Mills mounted the Shikshabekov for more than four minutes and completely dominated proceedings. Sherdog.com scored the bout 29-26 for Mills, considering the one-point deduction Mills received pre-fight for missing weight by four pounds. However, the judges somehow returned with a draw, forcing an extension round.
The fourth round was of no benefit to Shikshabekov, who was too exhausted to mount any offense. Despite a dubious stand-up while in full mount, Mills won the round handily, earning the unanimous nod.
“Knockout of the Night” honors went to unbeaten Russian muay Thai stylist Alexander Sarnavskiy
, who improved to 11-0 in spectacular fashion, dispatching Victor Kuku
in just 13 seconds. Sarnavskiy connected on a beautiful spinning back fist that sent Kuku crashing to the mat, setting up a torrent of punches for the dramatic stoppage.
German Daniel Weichel
scored a minor upset victory over hard-hitting Yuri Ivlev
. Weichel worked through the Russian's haymakers and completely shut down his clinch game by transitioning to a Thai plum, throwing knee strikes every time his opponent got in range. One of those knees opened a big gash on Ivlev's temple that forced the doctors to stop the fight 2:32 in the final round.
forced Gadzhimurad Omarov
to taste defeat for the first time in his career. Though Omarov controlled the first 10 minutes of the bout on the floor, he was halted by the doctor 28 seconds into the final frame due to his eye swelling shut from Samoilov’s strikes.
coasted to a decision win over Igor Araujo
, surviving a small submission scare from the Brazilian grappler late in round two.
picked up a late rear-naked choke victory, tapping Matias Baric
in round three.
Alexei Belayev tapped out Alexei Nazarov
with a guillotine in the second round.
M-1 newcomers Denis Goltsov
and Vusal Bairamov
picked up first-round stoppage victories over Marat Aliashkabov and Joakim Apie by armbar and TKO respectively.