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Savelyev steps in at M-1 Challenge XXIII

Byrd Vies to Shine in the Spotlight

Injury and illness are a common occurrence in the fight game and the upside to a fighter pulling out is the opportunity it creates for a replacement to step-in and turn an unfortunate circumstance into a barnburner; Igor Savelyev is the man to receive the call to duty, replacing Alihan Magomedov, and quickly preparing a game plan to combat undefeated light heavyweight contender, Byron Byrd. Fans worldwide can tune into the official M-1 Global website (www.M-1Global.com) on Saturday March 5th LIVE and for free to witness the battle with title contention effects play out; the action begins at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST.

Associated with the Sambo-70 fight team, Igor Savelyev had been on a tear and considered as one of Russia’s most talented, developing young fighters; with a successful mixed martial arts debut dating back to March 2005, the Nizhny Novgorod native quickly racked up outstanding victories. A recent string of mixed results has taken some of the shine off this rising star who now sports an overall 6-3-1 record; a rough 2010 with losses in the M-1 Selection tournament, specifically a tough one against light heavyweight contender Shamil Tinagadjiev, presented the need to take some bouts outside Europe’s leading promotion to get his career back on track. Coming back with a couple much needed wins over newcomers Go Te Ryu and Sebastian Libebe, Savelyev is making the return to M-1 Global’s big stage.

Outside of MMA, this ace striker maintains active by participating in numerous sambo tournaments, recently taking home silver medals in the Universal Combat World Championship and local 8-man single-elimination bracket buster as well as a bronze medal at the National Combat Sambo Championships.

Savelyev’s tilt with Byron Byrd is perfect stylistic matchup between two warriors who don’t shy away from trading leather on the canvas’ center logo but the Russian will need to adapt quickly and avoid staying in the striking of range of a much larger and faster opponent.

Rather than sideline himself after Magomedov withdrew, Byrd jumped at his chance to get back into action against his new foe; a win gets him an immediate title shot at the vacated light heavyweight crown against the winner of Narkun vs. Tinagadjiev taking place the same night.

With a perfect 7-0 combined amateur and professional MMA record, Byrd is on a quest for excellence in sporting competition. Throughout 2010, the Florida native and American Top Team standout put on a clinic through the M-1 Selection tournament, destroying all three of his opponents inside the first round and totalling a mere 3:33 of fighting on route to seizing the championship on the Americas side.

With the majority of his victories coming by way of first round TKO, Byrd’s striking is sharp to say the least with credit going to his Muay Thai and Boxing but his ground skills are equally as solid, as proven by the lightning quick triangle locked in on Daniel Vizcaya during their finals bout. Eventually going to the canvas, Byrd pulled guard and easily weathered Vizcaya’s rain of heavy shots and silenced critics who had wondered about his ability to withstand punches.

Raising the bar in the level of competition, Byrd’s sites are focused on defeating Savelyev; an optimistic and confident rising super-star needs to soak up the wealth of experience in his A.T.T. camp as they prepare him for the biggest fight of an extremely promising career. Byrd has all the elements to become a future champion and the stage is set for an incredible fight.

Fans worldwide can tune into the official M-1 Global website (www.M-1Global.com) on Saturday March 5th LIVE and catch the full card; the action begins at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST.

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