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M-1 Challenge 84 Recap and Clips: Kunchenko Retains Title in Impressive Fashion, Frolov Becomes New Middleweight Champion

M-1 Challenge celebrated its 20th anniversary with their 84th event in St Petersburg, Russia. The card featured two title fights, a number of UFC veterans and several intriguing prospects.

Alexey Kunchenko (16-0) def. (TKO via punches in RD1) Sergey Romanov (12-1)

The main event of the evening featured Alexey Kunchenko putting his Welterweight title on the line against fellow Russian, Sergey Romanov. The two fighters brought in an impressive combined record of 28-1.

As the fight started it was evident that Kunchenko wanted to take the fight to the ground. Kunchenko caught Romanov’s kick and converted it into a takedown, however, Romanov demonstrated solid get-up ability. Back in the stand-up Romanov used his lengthy frame to work behind the jab whilst Kunchenko continued to look to take the fight down. The end came suddenly as Kunchenko connected with a crushing right hand and sent Romanov down to the canvas before following up with brutal ground and pound for the finish.

This win saw Kunchenko improve to 17-0 and stake his claim as one of the best Welterweights outside of the major promotions. However, it is unknown whether he will ever consider going abroad or if he is willing to remain in M-1 where he can continue plying his trade in his native Russia.

Artem Frolov (9-0) def. (UD) Caio Magalhaes (10-3)

In the co-main event, Artem Frolov claimed the biggest victory of his career so far with a five round decision over UFC veteran, Caio Magalhaes.

Both fighters looked to exchange power strikes from the off, with Magalhaes occasionally shooting for takedowns which were all impressively stuffed or reversed by Frolov. Frolov also found himself on the end of several illegal blows which lead to a yellow card (point deduction) for Magalhaes. Frolov responded with a low blow of his own in the third round. As the fight went on Frolov established his superiority in the striking department as well as demonstrating impressive takedown defense. At the end of the third round, Frolov dropped Magalhaes and followed with a series of short punches but was unable to get the finish. Championship rounds played out with Frolov pressing the action and landing the cleaner strikes despite Magalhaes occasionally landing big strikes.

Joe Riggs (46-17) def. (TKO via punches in RD3) Oleg Olenichev (9-4)

Joe Riggs used his veteran experience to defeat Oleg Olenichev and extend his winning streak to five since departing from the UFC as well as getting his second win under the M-1 banner.

The fight started off in a cagey manner until Olenichev landed a right hand which caused visible discomfort to Riggs’ eye, which prompted Riggs to shoot in for a takedown. The remainder of the round was largely spent on the ground with Riggs in control. However, it was Olenichev who won the second round with some solid grappling of his own. With the fight likely being even on the judges’ scorecards, it was Joe Riggs who took control with a slick back take after a well-executed sit-through. From there on Riggs threatened with the rear-naked choke before flattening Olenichev out and using his ground and pound to get the stoppage.

The other fights on the card saw former UFC Heavyweight, Phil De Fries, play spoiler to local prospect, Anton Vyazgin, and bounce back from his loss to Ivan Shtyrkov earlier this year. Meanwhile, TUF 22 veteran Sascha Sharma dropped a decision to Zalimbeg Omarov and put an end to his six-fight winning streak.

Full results:

Alexey Kunchenko (16-0) def. (TKO via punches in RD1) Sergey Romanov (12-1) to retain M-1 Welterweight title

Artem Frolov (9-0) def. (UD) Caio Magalhaes (10-3) to win vacant M-1 Middleweight title

Joe Riggs (46-17) def. (TKO via punches in RD3) Oleg Olenichev (9-4)

Bair Shtepin (4-2) def. (Submission via guillotine choke in RD3) Janne Elonen-Kulmala (15-5)

Roman Bogatov (3-0) def. (UD) Jani Salmi (9-3)

Enoc Solves Torres (20-10) def. (Submission via armbar in RD1) Andrey Seledtsov (7-4)

Phil De Fries (12-6) def. (MD) Anton Vyazigin (8-1)

Zalimbeg Omarov (8-2) def. (UD) Sascha Sharma (14-3)

Daniil Prikaza (7-2) def. (UD) Akhmadian Ozdoev (4-0)

Maksim Gravovich (5-5) def. (Submission via rear-naked choke in RD3) Tamerlan Sharipov (4-1)

Dmitry Tebekin (6-3) def. (UD) Vasily Volodko (0-0)

Ilya Bochkov (3-1) def. (T/KO via punches in RD2) Arkadiy Lisin (5-1)

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