Friday night’s M-1 Challenge: Bennett vs. Garner event from The Hangar in Costa Mesa, Calif. captured the attention of the crowd and those tuning in to the live telecast on SHOWTIME as fighter after fighter went down in a violent display of successive knockouts. With four out of the five televised bouts ending in dramatic fashion, Europe’s leading MMA promotion awarded two Knockout of the Night awards: the first going to middleweight warrior Arthur Guseinov and his spinning back-fist win over Tyson Jeffries while the second goes to sensational lightweight striker Mairbek Taisumov, who issued a statement-making US arrival with a devastating KO over Josh Bacallao.
In a contest expected to deliver on its Fight of the Night predictions, Taisumov and Bacallao wasted no time engaging each other from the sound of the first bell. Known for his speed, Taisumov quickly landed back-to-back snapping outside leg kicks that clearly dropped the hurt on his opponent. Not looking to take any more punishment, Bacallao was able to time the next shot, scooping the takedown in effort to issue a ground assault.
Only able to keep Taisumov on the mat momentarily, the pair popped up and jostled to take an offensive position. As the pair scrambled and sprawled, Taisumov fired a right down the pipes which Bacallao countered with a shot to the body. With the pair backing apart and establishing distance, Taisumov picked his opening, landing a straight right power shot that connected squarely on Bacallao’s jaw, flooring him to the canvass. Before referee ‘Big John’ McCarthy could bolt in and stop the action, Taisumov was already underway in delivering the insurance blow to his defenseless opponent, securing the knockout victory at 2:01 of the very first round. With the win, Taisumov improves to 15-3, rides a three-fight streak and is clearly in the division’s title hunt.
Thanks to his aggressive fighting style, Mairbek ‘Beckan’ Taisumov is seemingly incapable of producing anything other than action-packed fights; without a doubt he’s one of the most entertaining fighters Europe has to offer and one of the many reasons why M-1’s 155-pound division is deep with talent.
At 23 years of age, Taisumov is highly talented. He improves with every outing and his hand speed, precision and versatility is more than impressive. A promising young striker, he’s racked up an impressive record thanks to his highly aggressive offensive positioning, tactical stand-up and relentless ground and pound.
Taisumov won the 2010 M-1 Selection Western Europe lightweight tournament while putting on a striking and submission clinic, winning back-to-back-to-back first round finishes which quickly made him a recognized name throughout the European MMA circuit; his spectacular finish now has him marked as a recognizable fighter in North America as well.
With M-1 Challenge champions established in all five weight classes, a true contenders system will fuel events throughout 2011, driving M-1 Global’s growth as a leading brand in the US and international markets.
2011’s full slate of M-1 Challenge events held in the United States and Europe are primed to be mega-event spectaculars where Champions defend their titles and contenders jockey for position for a coveted shot at the gold. Feeding the contention system will be two Selection tournaments in 2011 with details being announced shortly.
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