Roman Bogatov vs Michel Silva headlines M-1 Challenge China
M-1 Challenge Lightweight champion Roman Bogatov (L) / Pic: Supplied

M-1 Global: press release

MMA promotion M-1 Global kicks off 2019 with an event scheduled for January 26 in Harbin, China. Top of the bill features undefeated M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Roman Bogatov making his first title defense against challenger Michel “Sassarito” Silva.

“We are excited to hold the M-1 Challenge 100 anniversary show in China,” M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein said. “This country is a very important partner for us. In China, people love MMA and in 2019 we are going to have several shows over there together with WKG.”

Bogatov (7-0-0), fighting out of Russia, is a submission specialist who captured his coveted title belt last September at M-1 Challenge 97, when he decisioned Rubenilton Pereira. His M-1 victims to date also include Raul Tutarauli, Tahir Abdullaev, Jani Salmi, Ricardo Franco and Alexey Sotnikov.

A superior wrestler, Bogatov has used his vast skills to maximum advantage, taking his opponent to the canvas, where he uses his grappling ability to choke-out his foe. His takedowns have made him virtually invincible to date.

Styles make fights and Silva (22-7-1), unlike Bogatov, is a powerful Brazilian striker who stopped 15 of his opponents by knockout/technical knockout, compared to zero for Bogatov. Silva has won his last three fights in a row, all in M-1 competition, to position himself for his first M-1 title challenge. In his most recent fight at M-1 Challenge 99, Silva used a Brabo-choke to force Magomedkamil Malikov into submission in round two.

The remainder of the main card is solid. American bantamweight Edward “The Ninja” Massey (5-2-0) meets local favorite Huoyixbai Chuhayifu (10-3-1), and veteran Russian welterweight and former M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Alexander “Iron Capture” Butenko (46-14-3) battles Brazilian Gian “Pitbull” Siqueia (16-3-0). Brazilian welterweight Tiago “Bahia” Varejao Lacerda (27-6-1) faces local favorite Kuerbanjiang Tuluosibake (23-9-0), while former M-1 Challenge bantamweight title challenger Rafael Dias (15-6-0), of Brazil, throws-down with Georgian MMA and Kick Boxing champion Vazha Tsiptauri (6-1-0).

Announced undercard bouts are Cuban lightweight Yoislandy “Cuba” Izquierdo (12-4-0) vs. Raul Tutarauli (18-5-0), of Georgia, and Russian National Amateur MMA champion Akhmadkhan Bokov (4-4-0) vs. Chinese featherweight Fu “The Knife” Kangkang (3-3-0).