M-1 Global fighters are back in action tomorrow and back on their home turf - St. Petersburg, Russia. The show is headlined by a great fight between current WW Champ Shamil Zavurov (19-1) and the latest M-1 signee Yasubey Enomoto (6-2) who fills in for the only man ever to beat Zavurov, Rashid Magomedov. But beneath the main event are several pretty remarkable fights for a free internet stream. As always, Bloody Elbow is here to break down the action. Who is called the "Italian Tank"? Is that Vinny from the Ultimate Fighter? Can there possibly be multiple fighters with the unlikely last name Magomedov? These questions and more will be answered in our M-1 Challenge XXV Primer.
Vinny Magalhaes (7-5) vs. Victor Nemkov (10-2)
Who They Are: You might recall Magalhaes from his stint on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He made it all the way to the finals where he lost to Ryan Bader, but most people recall his dramatic argument with opposing coach Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Vinny took heat for saying his Jiu Jitsu was better than Big Nog's. Of course, he was probably right and has the BJJ credentials and medals to back it up.Nemkov is a "Master of Sport in Judo" and a gold medalist at the Russian Combat Sambo Championships. Nemkov was crowned the winner of Russia’s first-ever MMA reality show "M-1 Fighter." I suppose this makes him the Russian equivalent of Forrest Griffin.
Why You Should Care: This is more than the story of two reality stars going to battle. The winner will be walking away with M-1 Global's Light Heavyweight Championship. It should be an interesting grappling battle as disciplines collide.
Fun Fact: Nemkov trains at the Red Devil Sports Club, most famous for producing a fighter you may have heard of - Fedor Emelianenko.
Who They Are: Although Semenov has fought all over the world (including twice in the UFC) visiting seven countires in his 40 fight career, St. Petersburg, Russia is his home. This will be his twentieth fight in Russia's second largest city where he will receive a hero's welcome. Fioravanti had mixed success in the UFC, going 4-5 with the promotion, but has been a ball of fire since being let go in 2009, going 8-3 with five decisive victories by knockout or submission.
Why You Should Care: Fioravanti, a former U.S. Marine, always fights with a lot of heart and passion. In Semenov, he'll run into a fighter who has seen it all in a thirteen year career. The winner is likely looking at a title shot against the new M-1 middleweight champion Magomed ‘The White Wolf' Sultanakhmedov.
Fun Fact: St. Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, the largest art museum in the world. It includes everything from Egyptian antiquities to works by Dutch masters like Rubens and Rembrandt.
Arsen Abdulkerimov (7-2) vs. Alexander Volkov (10-3)
Who They Are: Abdulkerimov is a Daido Juko fighter with a well rounded game. 2010 M-1 Selection Eastern European heavyweight tournament semi-finalist. Abdulkerimov is known for finishing fights, ending all his contests by knockout or submission. With less than eight months fighting experience, Volkov beat the formidable Ibragim Magomedov. He's amassed a record of 10-3 in less than two years and with training partners like Fedor Emelianenko seems destined for success in M-1.
Why You Should Care: Abdulkerimov cleaned house during the reality show "M-1 Fighter" to become the first season's heavyweight champion. He's a prospect that M-1 sees a bright future for but meets a firm test in Volkov. Standing a whopping 6-7, the Red Devil prospect has eight knockouts in a career that started in 2009. At 22, the sky is the limit for Volkov.
Fun Fact: Daido Juko, founded in 1981, is a Japanese martial art that initially combined Judo and Karate. The competitions today are an interesting mix of a variety of martial arts and competitions are staged in gi, gloves, groin protector, and head gear.
Also Streaming Live:
Maxim Grishin (224.75 Lbs) vs. Vladimir Kuchenko (287.0 Lbs)
Mikhail Zayats (201.25 Lbs) vs. Malik Merad (197.75 Lbs)
Murad Magomedov (181.75 Lbs) vs. Ramazan Emeev (183.75 Lbs)
Free LIVE broadcast coverage of the entire M-1 Challenge XXV event from St. Petersburg, Russia will be available to viewers worldwide on the official M-1 Global website (www.M-1Global.com) and here at Blood Elbow starting at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST on Thursday April 28th.