Bellator M-1 ProElite

New York, NY (April 18, 2011) – With time ticking down to M-1 Challenge XXV: Zavurov vs. Magomedov 2 on April 28th, Europe’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, M-1 Global, adds heavyweights Maxim Grishin and Vladimir Kuchenko to a card generating worldwide attention. Fans can capture all the action from the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, LIVE online on the official M-1 Global website, www.M-1Global.com and M-1 Global facebook fan page starting at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST on Thursday April 28th.

Red Devil Sports Club fighter Maxim Grishin is aiming to rebound after a tough loss to M-1’s undefeated heavyweight champion Guram Gugenishvili in his last outing this past March; Grishin was forced to tap due to being caught in a suffocating rear-naked-choke inside the title bout’s opening round. Kuchenko is making his return with M-1 Global a mission to put his fighting career back on track and build some much needed momentum.

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Joe Warren is just some regular dude.

He may have finished a former WEC bantamweight champion in his first fight, beat a revered Japanese legend known for wrecking opponents a weight class higher in his second, and has become a champion in under two years in the sport. I did that on my lunch break yesterday.

Warren has now set supposedly "lofty" goals of adding another Bellator championship belt to his collection and competing in the 2012 Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling. Hello? I'm totally thinking about making a grocery list later if I can find a pen, and these dishes aren't going to wash themselves.

Please reach down and bang on the sarcasm detector in your fanny pack if bells and whistles aren't going off. Joe Warren has embodied an ultra-talented, atypical fighter since he first set foot in the DREAM ring, etching his name on the list of Most Impressive Debuts in MMA History, and now the featherweight fireball is shedding a few pounds to shake up the bantamweight division.

Warren faces Nova Uniao black belt Marcos Galvao in a 137-pound catchweight bout that will headline Bellator 41 tonight, and Galvao is a sleeper who could spring some traps on the Team Quest juggernaut. The betting lines have Warren at -625 and Galvao at +425, so it's not a jaw-dropper that the reigning Bellator featherweight king is expected to be equally or more destructive against smaller opponents. Let's accept that Warren deserves to be the heavy favorite right off the bat and outline some spots that Galvao could be a handful.

First, a little about 9-3-1 Marcos "Louro" Galvao: he's a two-time Brazilian National Champion and five-time World Champion in jiu-jitsu.  His losses are to former WEC bantamweight champ Brian Bowles and home-run slugger Damacio Page by TKO and undefeated prospect Akitoshi Hokazono by decision.  He drew with former Shooto 132-pound champion Masakatsu Ueda, who holds wins over Akitoshi Tamura (another Shooto champ and former WEC and Sengoku fighter) and Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto.

Galvao topped the well-traveled Kenji Osawa (former WEC and Shooto fighter who once finished the UFC's Takeya Mizugaki with strikes and just beat Yoshiro Maeda in DREAM), Naoya Uematsu (featherweight with a win over Caol Uno and experience against Jens Pulver, Gilbert Melendez, and Urijah Faber in losing efforts), and Gracie Barra's Fredson Paixao (WEC-UFC featherweight with wins over Rani Yahya, Masakazu Imanari, and welterweight Thomas Denny).  This should imply that Galvao comes from one of the best teams, has a resplendent grappling pedigree, and has scrapped with some stout competition.

(Vinny Magalhaes)

Vinny Magalhaes vs. Victor Nemkov: Collision For Gold

Deserving Warriors Determine M-1’s Light Heavyweight Champion

New York, NY (April 5, 2011) – Adding a second title fight to M-1 Challenge XXV: Zavurov vs. Magomedov 2, Europe’s leading mixed martial arts promotion (MMA), locks down BJJ Ace Vinny Magalhaes (7-5) and submission specialist Viktor Nemkov in a battle to determine M-1 Global’s light heavyweight (205 Lbs) champion. The April 28th card’s main event pits current welterweight (170 Lbs) champion Shamil Zavurov (19-1) in his second title defense against top contender, Rashid Magomedov (8-1). Fans can capture the duo of title tilts taking place from the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, LIVE online on the official M-1 Global website, www.M-1Global.com and M-1 Global facebook fan page starting at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST on Thursday April 28th.

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Bellator 39 rolls out tonight with hot prospect Eddie Alvarez (21-2) putting his lightweight belt up for grabs against the highly resilient Pat Curran (13-3) in what most anticipate to be a thorough trouncing.  Will anyone really be surprised if Alvarez, the #6 lightweight in the world, devastates the unremarkable Curran, a contender many feel shouldn't even have advanced past Huerta and Imada?

Betting odds as high as -600 for the Philly-based champ indicate that annihilation is imminent, and -- don't get me wrong -- that's not hard to fathom.  But rather than explain how Alvarez might overwhelm Curran like he's done to all but two of his twenty-three opponents, just go watch his highlight reel; let's consider a few stylistic problems Curran might present instead with analysis of how these two stack up in each of the three phases of combat.

Free Movement / Striking Phase

Pat Curran does nothing flashy, fundamentally unsound, or foolish.  He's the perfect definition of patient, accurate, and judicious on the feet.  He mixes the whole enchilada of strikes to keep his adversary guessing, including low, mid, and high kicks interlaced with punches, and is very cerebral in selection and timing.  With a stout one-two and a strong left-hook anchoring his sequences, Curran also likes to use a straight front-kick in place of a jab.

M-1 Challenge XXIV: Damkovsky vs. Figueroa

‘The People’s Champ’ is Crowned

Norfolk, VA (March 26, 2011) – Patience pays off for Jose ‘The People’s Champ’ Figueroa. Since winning the 2010 M-1 Selection Americas lightweight tournament in August of last year, Figueroa’s training paid off big time with a commanding win over Artiom Damkovsky in M-1 Global’s debut event on SHOWTIME® Friday night; the win cements him as the new M-1 Challenge Lightweight Champion.

M-1 Global Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan, was quick to praise the warrior’s win. “Figueroa seized an unprecedented victory in his first title shot headlining M-1 Challenge XXIV. He made an impact with fans around the world and especially to the North American fans tuning in to the broadcast. Congrats to the champion; revel in the victory and prepare to defend against a tough roster of contenders.”

The UFC is not the only MMA happening tonight.  Bellator 37 takes place, starting at 7PM ET on MTV2 and they've put together a very nice card for their Featherweight Quarterfinals.  One fight I am particularly interested is the Kenny Foster vs. Eric Larkin match up.  I know Kenny pretty well, and he's an excellent fighter as well as a funny dude.  Kenny trains out of Team Bombsquad in upstate NY, and I am expecting him to perform really well tonight.

Also on the card is Wilson Reis, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master, so keep an eye on him too.  Here's the complete card:

Plinio Cruz is a very good fighter and friend of mine and he's over in Russia right now preparing for his fight on Saturday at M-1 Challenge XXIII.  Plinio is well rounded and combines his striking game and ground game for a total package.  Looking forward to him winning this fight and returning to NJ with the win.  Here's the complete details of the fight:

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Bellator FC has announced they've acquired former Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro, though he will not participate in the promotion's upcoming 145-pound tournament in March.

Now 17-2, the Nova Uniao fighter began his career by blazing a 12-0 trail, earning most of those wins in the Shooto Brazil and Pancrase organizations.  Sandro was then picked up by Sengoku Raiden Championships (SRC) in Japan as a participant in their 2009 Featherweight Grand Prix.  Sandro quickly became a tournament favorite after submitting Matt Jaggers and blitzing Nick Denis, advancing to a semifinal matchup against former WEC and current UFC fighter Michihiro Omigawa.

Omigawa, a wily Yoshida Dojo judoka, handed Sandro his first loss in the form of a split "must decision"; an outcome made highly controversial due to Omigawa's coach holding a seat on the judging panel.  Speaking to TheGARV.com after the fight, Sandro offered the following statement on his first loss.

Your loss to Omigawa was very controversial, and many feel that you should've won the fight.  How much do you think the decision for Omigawa was influenced by the scoring of the judge Ioshida, whom Omigawa is a student of?

MS: "I´m certain this fact was an influence.  That result can happen anywhere in the world that allows someone to be a judge in an organization who stays close to the fighter as a coach."

With Bennett vs. Volkov’s draw possibly being the worst decision of 2010, it came to no surprise that the New Jersey native and Team Bomb Squad contingent filed an immediate, formal appeal to have the bout reviewed. With the appeal process set into action, the bout was dissected by a special IMA judging panel that has re-scored the fight and have submitted their ruling; at the recommendation of head IMA judge, Ino Alberga, and the IMA panel, the decision in Pat Bennett’s one-sided battle has been overturned with the win being rightfully awarded to Bennett after three rounds.

According to M-1 Global’s Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan, “The appeal process is in place to provide fighter’s an avenue to request a review of highly controversial decisions and Bennett’s appeal was extremely warranted. Although the overturning of a decision is rare, the independent IMA panel and it’s head judge felt it necessary to alter the outcome based on Bennett’s takedowns, ground control and aggression.”

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