ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – The opportunity American featherweight contender Lee “American Bulldog” Morrision (13-3-0, 4 KO/TKO, 4 SUB) has trained so hard for finally arrives April 4 on M-1 Challenge 47: Battle in the Heart of the Continent,” airing free worldwide on M-1 Global.tv, live from Orenburgzhe Sport Hall in Orenburgh, Russia. Morrison takes on unbeaten M-1 Challenge featherweight champion Marat Gafurov (8-0-0, 1 KO/TKO, 5 SUB) in the highly-anticipated main event.
Unbeaten in his last eight fights, dating back nearly three years, Morrison will be fighting a long way from his home in Okanogon, Washington. The 28-year-old former collegiate wrestling star, at North Dakota College and Menio College in California, won his M-1 Global debut in his last fight (Oct. 20, 2013) with a hard fought split decision over Mikhail Malyutin at M-1 Challenge 42 to earn “Fight of the Night” honors. He also positioned himself as the No. 1 M-1 Challenge featherweight contender.
His first fight in Russia may have been somewhat surreal for him but this trip he’s on a mission to bring the coveted M-1 Challenge belt home to America. “Fighting in Russia the first time was quite interesting because it was like I was fighting alone in my head,” Morrison explained what it was like for him. “I traveled internationally to fight in a big organization. I had never been there and fans hadn’t see me before. Everything was breathtaking the last fight but this fight won’t be as much of a culture shock for me. Interest is even greater because a title is on the line this time.
“I’m coming to show what I’m capable of doing and hope to have my hand raised at the end of the fight. I’m a guy who is explosive. I’ve worked hard on conditioning; muscle movement – when to release and when to maintain – because I needed to prepare for a five-round fight. Seeing how I’ve been a wrestler all my life, I to try to stand-up and move around more in every fight. I’ve worked on my stand-up but I’m not really certain what will happen once the fight starts.”
The 29-year-old Gafurov is a jiu-jitsu world champion from Russia who won the inaugural M-1 Challenge featherweight championship Nov. 15, 2013, choking Vugar Bahshiev into a submission at M-1 Challenge 35. In his first and only title defense to date, Gaforov stopped Yuri Ivlev by way of punches in the second round, last November at M-1 Challenge 41.
“He’s undefeated, one of the top featherweight fighters in the world,” Morrison talked about his opponent. “Gafurov’s tough, very talented, strong and a Russian fighting at home. He’s the cream-of-the-crop. A win will elevate me to another level.”
An intriguing co-feature pits another American, ageless Jeff “The Snowman” Monson (49-17-1, 3 KO/TKO, 29 SUB), against French heavyweight Chaban Ka (6-3-1, 0 KO/TKO, 5 SUB) in a rematch of their 2011 fight that ended in a draw.
Monson is an MMA icon whose 16-year professional MMA career includes six fights in Russia (3-3-0), highlighted by a loss by decision to the great Fedor Emelianenko, as well as a win by submission (north-south choke) over Fedor’s younger brother,Alekander Emelianenko.
M-1 Challenge 47 will also be broadcast live on Russia 2, the terrestrial channel, throughout Russia and the Commonwealth of Individual States (CIS), as well as across the Middle East on Abu Dhabi Sports Channels.
Chief support on the undercard will be provided by a Special Heavyweight Attraction featuring unbeaten Polish heavyweight Marcin “Tybur” Tybura (9-0-0, 3 KO/TKO, 4 SUB) and always dangerous Croatian powerhouse Maro “Gladiator” Perak (23-3-1, 12 KO/TKO, 7 SUB).
Slovakian lightweight Ivan “Buki” Buchinger (25-4-0, 6 KO/TKO, 15 SUB) is out seeking revenge against Russian veteran Sergey Golyaev (23-10-0, 6 KO/TKO, 12 SUB), who in 2010 needed only 21 seconds to become the first to knockout Buchinger.
Another American invader fighting on the loaded M-1 Challenge 47 event, making his M-1 Global debut, is Floridian welterweight Julien “J-Smoove” Williams (4-1-0, 0 KO/TKO, 4 SUB), who faces unbeaten Russian grappling specialist Rasul Abdulaev (3-0-0, 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB), the 2013 National and European amateur MMA champion.
Also fighting on the undercard is a pair of featherweight prospects, Kamil Maron (4-1-0, 0 KO/TKO, 3 SUB), pf Poland, vs. Georgy Fursov (2-1-0, 1 KO/TKO), of Russia; Brazilian light heavyweight Luis Fernando “Hulk” Miranda (11-1-0) vs. Ukrainian National MMA champion Vasily Babich (9-2-0, 3 KO/TKO/5 SUB); Russian welterweight Alexei Kunchenko (2-0-0, 1 KO/1 SUB) tests himself vs. Ukrainian veteran Anatoly “Doctor” Safronev (19-20-0, 3 KO/TKO/8 SUB); andMurad Mirzabekov (1-0) vs. Said Maadziev (0-1-0) rounds-out this entertaining card in a battle of young Russian featherweights.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
The M-1 Challenge series has traditionally introduced a new wave of potential MMA stars, showcasing elite athletes from Russia and across Europe. M-1 Global is the No. 1 European MMA organization, as well as one of the oldest in the world, dating back to 1998. Superstar Fedor Emelianenko, considered by many to be the greatest fighter in MMA history, has been the face of M-1 Global around the combat sports world for the past decade.
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