Damir Ismagulov (pic: M-1 Global)

M-1 Challenge 94 Recap & Clips: Damir Ismagulov Scores his 11th Straight Victory, Retains M-1 Title

Orenburg, Russia – In the main event of M-1 Challenge 94 from Russia’s heartland, dominant defending champ Damir Ismagulov (17-1, #80 World) notched a third defense of his lightweight belt – though the triumph didn’t come exactly as planned for the Kazakhstani ace. Ismagulov made his name as a striker coming through the Russian ranks, but he scored with two nice single leg takedowns early in his contest with title challenger Artiom Damkovsky (22-11, #131 World). Following some skilled scrambling, the two returned to the feet where Damkovsky swung and connected with a wild left hook. Unfortunately for the Belarussian, his left forearm connected squarely with the top of Ismagulov’s skull and caused a nasty break. The bout was immediately waved off, with Damir Ismagulov taking home his belt and recording an 11th straight win by first round injury TKO.

M-1 Challenge 94 Co-Main Event @155:

W: Roman Bogatov (7-0, #304 World)
Sub-Von Flue Choke, Round 1
L: Raul Tutarauli (18-6, #208 World)

Hard-hitting recent M-1 title challenger Raul Tutarauli was expected to try to keep this bout with Roman Bogatov on the feet, but instead he indulged Bogatov in a grappling match that he wasn’t quite ready for. Bogatov assumed top position early but found himself fighting off frenetic submission attempts from the Georgian, including a combo inverted triangle/kimura effort that never came close to bearing fruit. While Tutarauli focused on hunting the sub, Bogatov worked toward dominant positions. The end came when Tutarauli held onto a guillotine for too long with Bogatov in side control, resulting in a Von Flue choke finish for the Russian. Great stuff from undefeated prospect Roman Bogatov, who wasn’t tested on the feet but showed that he’s a force to be reckoned with in his world on the ground.

M-1 Challenge 94 Main Card @185:

W: Valery Myasnikov (14-1-2, #156 World)
Majority Decision
L: Mikhail Ragozin (11-4, #102 World LHW)

Mikhail Ragozin tested out Valery Myasnikov’s bandage-wrapped knee with bountiful leg kicks early in their bout, and he exposed some holes in the Bulgarian’s takedown defense in round 3. But for much of this contest, Myasnikov showed off a sharper right hand and excellent standup defense. Aside from the leg kicks, Ragozin was unable to land much of note, though he did show solid clinch control in round 1. Following 15 closely contested, tactical minutes of action, the judges favored Valery Myasnikov’s moderate damage over Ragozin’s positional control (one judge saw it a draw).

M-1 Challenge 94 Main Card @155:

W: Rubenilton Pereira (20-5, #279 World)
TKO-Eye Injury, Round 1
L: Baktybek Oktom (4-1)

In 2016, 25 year old Rubenilton Pereira was tossed directly into the deep end of the pool in his first two M-1 bouts versus reigning champ Damir Ismagulov and ex-champ Alexander Butenko. Pereira toughed out decision losses against those top stars, then in the last year he went on a run of his own with three wins over solid regional prospects. The Brazilian made his fourth straight win look easy with a dominant performance versus Baktybek Oktom. Oktom tried hard for the takedown, but once on the mat Pereira used an elevated sweep to fluidly reverse position. With Oktom flat on his back, Pereira rained down nasty punches including a flying overhand right that cracked the Kyrgyzstani in the orbital. Oktom survived through round 1, but the fight was waved off via TKO due to the eye injury before round 2. Dominant work from Pereira, whose impressive win streak may have earned him another shot in M-1’s title picture.


M-1 Challenge 94 Main Card @170:

W: Maksim Grabovich (8-5, #260 World)
Unanimous Decision
L: Juho Valamaa (15-5, #140 World)

Finnish welterweight talent Juho Valamaa spent a ton of energy working for a takedown in the opening minutes, as recent M-1 title challenger Maksim Grabovich showed off stout defense. Valamaa managed one takedown apiece in rounds 1 and 2, but both times the Russian expertly swept to top position (once from mount). On the feet Grabovich landed a damaging flurry of punches in round 1, and really turned the tide in the latter portion of the fight with a six-pack of nasty standing knees to the face. By round 3 an exhausted, beaten Valamaa could do little more than hold on until the final bell. Maksim Grabovich picked up the win by clear-cut unanimous decision, his second straight victory and fifth inside the M-1 promotion.

M-1 Challenge 94 Undercard:

265: Brazilian journeyman Marcus Vinicius Lopes (12-7, #164 World) promised a knockout when he took on green Russian Maksim Yakovyuk (3-0). Instead, Lopes spent nearly the whole bout pinned to the mat. With just seconds left in round 2, the accumulation of ground striking damage forced the ref to wave the bout off in favor of Shlemenko protege Yakovyuk.

W125: Following over fourteen minutes of back-and-forth action, Russia’s Assia Klyutova (1-0) smashed her way to a very late round 3 TKO stoppage over Bosnia’s Zejna Krantic (0-2) to cap a rare M-1 Global WMMA matchup.

125: Three time amateur tournament champion Kiril Fomenkov (5-1) showed off pro caliber skills in his first contest down at flyweight versus Dimitar Kostov (9-6). The Bulgarian flyweight didn’t fare well in his first M-1 bout back in March, losing by choke, and Kostov fell by submission again in this one as Fomenkov cinched the first round Mata Leon (RNC).

185: Greek regional champ Leonardo Sinis (8-3-1, #319 World) made his first journey to Russia to battle Vlad Trusov (2-0), who debuted as a pro less than three months ago with a submission win at M-1 Challenge 90. Things didn’t go Sinis’ way, as the St. Petersburg native Trusov worked his way to a unanimous decision victory.

145: Traveling Frenchman Souk Khampasath (11-9-1, #454 World) may not have the prettiest record but he’s faced a range of impressive competitors in their home country, including Canadian star Jesse Arnett and UK ace Ashleigh Grimshaw. Khampasath, whose top victory to date is a win over RIZIN talent Manel Kape, added another solid win to his ledger when he kicked off M-1 Challenge 94 with a round 1 Mata Leon submission of Gegham Vardanyan (4-1).


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