On Friday, Feb. 19, M-1 Global hosted the first half of the middleweight Grand Prix semi-finals in the form of a headlining bout between former Bellator champion Alexander Shlemenko and former M-1 middleweight champ Vyacheslav Vasilevsky. It marked Shlemenko's first fight since a positive drug test for elevated levels of testosterone led to a three-year suspension from the California State Athletic Commission. He eventually opted to break his suspension and compete in Russia, where commission regulations are insignificant.
The bout, which was billed as a legitimate mega-fight in Russia, surpassed all expectations for a three-round fight and ended with a somewhat controversial scorecard following a close and competitive battle. The winner will move on to the tournament final to face either Ramazan Emeev or Maiquel Falcao, who will meet in April at M-1 Challenge 65.
M-1 Global released the full fight video for the entire main event, which includes English commentary from UFC veteran Ian Freeman and BloodyElbow.com's own Karim Zidan.