Andrey Lezhnev faces Nate Landwehr for M-1 Challenge Featherweight title / Pic: Facebook

Andrey Lezhnev faces the defending M-1 Challenge Featherweight champion Nate Landwehr on December 15 in Atyrau. The contest headlines the first MMA event the promotion presents in Kazakhstan in three years.

The 30-year-old Landwehr is a popular, entertaining fighter from the US. He captured his crown this past June at M-1 Challenge 95, when knocked out the former titleholder Khamzat Dalgiev with punches in the second round.

Ukrainian MMA veteran Lezhnev (18-7-0, M-1; 6-3-0) became top contender by winning nine of his last 10 fights, including the last three, and nobody has stopped him. He recently entered “The Rage” for a one-on-one interview about his Saturday’s title quest.

Talking his nickname Lezhnev said that he got it at the beginning of his career. That was a result of “a lot of difficult fights”.

“I took part in a free fight competition with many other strong athletes with different martial arts background like boxing, wrestling, judo or Muay Thai. I had a lot of difficult fights, and after the fights many of my opponents called me, “Iron”. My friends and teammates started calling me that and later my coach put this nickname into a form before a fight and it became official.”

When asked about his favoring fighting style, Lezhnev said he loved being an aggressor “because fans love seeing brawls”.

“I love fighting in a dominant style. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stand-up game or grappling, because when your opponent is stronger than you somewhere, it’s getting difficult to enjoy fighting him the way he wants. In general, I enjoy striking more, because fans love seeing brawls and I do my best to make my fans happy.”

Answering the question about mental strength and preparation Ukrainian Mixed Martial Artist outlined its importance, saying that there have been many examples when fighters do not show their best, because they were not ready mentally.

M-1 Challenge: Nate Landwehr vs. Andrey Lezhnev

Lezhnev also said that his upcoming fight against Nate Landwehr was just another fight against another opponent. In addition, he outlined that “trash talk” was a common thing.

“The only difference is the trophy [title belt]. Aside from that, it’s just another fight.”

“Such behavior [trash talk] is nothing special nowadays. Many fighters talk a lot to attract attention, so I’m used to it. If this style suits him, why not? Before each fight opponents talk different things about each other, so there is nothing to surprise me. If does not bother me at all, let him talk what he wants.”

The Nate Landwehr vs. Andrey Lezhnev is a scheduled for five rounds featherweight championship bout. The bout serves as the main event at M-1 Challenge Battle in Atyrau.