M-1 Challenge 75: Alexander Shlemenko to Headline
By Press Release
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (January 19, 2017) – M-1 Global has announced that 2016 M-1 Grand Prix middleweight champion Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko will headline M-1 Challenge 75 in Moscow.
It has also been announced that American lightweight Keon “The Black Assassin” Caldwell will make his M-1 Global debut versus former M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Maxim Divnich.
M-1 Challenge 75 will be streamed live from Moscow 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.
Shlemenko (54-9-0. 1 NC, M-1: 4-0-0), a three-time Bellator champion, defeated former M-1 Challenge champion Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (see picture above with Shlemenko on right) last year in the M-1 Grand Prix Middleweight Championship semifinals and championship final, respectively, by three-round majority decision and third-round submission (choke). Shlemenko vs. Vasilevsky I & II were the M-1 Challenge 68 & 64 Fights of the Night.
In a much-anticipated All-Russian middleweight showdown, Shlemenko was supposed to fight reigning M-1 Challenge middleweight champion Ramazan Emeev, who was unfortunately injured during training camp, forcing him out of that match. Vasilevsky replaced Emeev against Shlemenko in the championship final.
In his last action, Shlemenko stopped Kendall Grove in the second round of their main event fight on Bellator 162 last October in Memphis, Tennessee.
“Alexander Shlemenko fighting in Russia is always a significant event,” M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein said, “as he is a true legend of Russian MMA. His fights always sellout arenas, no matter who his opponent. We all know that the story we started last year at M<-1 Grand Prix 2016 isn’t over, yet. The whole country is waiting for the fight between Russia’s two best middleweights – Alexander Shlemenko and Ramazan Emeev.
“Ramazan was injured and Shlemenko had contractual obligations with Bellator. So, throughout the past month, we were waiting for Shlemenko to receive permission to fight in Russia. Now, we have arranged for him to fight on M-1 Challenge 75. We’ve done a great job to make this possible and now hope that, this time, we will be able to complete this exciting story.”
Undefeated M-1 Challenge welterweight champion Alexey Kunchenko (15-0-0, M-1: 7-0-0), of Russia, will defend his title against an opponent to be announced, due to originally announced Kazakh challenger, unbeaten Shavkat Rakhmonov (7-0-0, M-1: 4-0-0), withdrawing due to a knee injury.
Russian welterweight prospect Sergey “Streetfighter” Romanov (10-1-0, M-1: 3-0-0) faces Russian veteran Magomed “The White Wolf” Sultanakhmedov (18-5-0, M-1: 10-1-0) on the M-1 Challenge 75 card.
Caldwell (11-3-0, M-1: 0-0-0), fighting out of Georgia, is the US-based Island Fights champion. A powerful puncher who has nine knockouts in his 11 pro victories, Caldwell was supposed to compete in the 13th season of The Ultimate Fighter, but he withdrew due to personal reasons. He has had several fights in World Series of Fighting.
A Ukrainian fighting out of Moscow, Divnich captured the vacant M-1 Challenge lightweight title in 2014 at M-1 Challenge 54, stopping Dzhambulat Kurbanov in the third round on punches in the Fight of the Night. In 2015, Divnich lost his first title defense by third-round knockout to Mansour Barnaoui at M-1 Challenge 57. In his last fight, Artiom Damkovsky knocked out Divnich with a kick in the second-round of their fight this past September at M-1 Challenge 70.