Champion Shamil Zavurov nabs M-1 Challenge XXIII’s knock out of the night

Successfully defending the welterweight strap in his first outing as M-1 Global’s 170-pound top dog, Shamil Zavurov notched his record to an impressive 19-1 after a complete domination of American scrapper, Tom Gallicchio this past Saturday night at M-1 Challenge XXIII. With the victory never in question, Zavurov’s definitive performance earned him the evening’s Knock Out of the Night award and confirmed why the Dagestan native is considered one of Europe’s top welterweight fighters.

Starting the opening frame, Zavurov had to react to Gallicchio’s aggressive and reckless initial exchange which he made the American pay for with a small cut under his right eye. From this point forward, Zavurov put Gallicchio on his back and forced the Team Peligrino fighter to work from guard for the reminder of the round. While Gallicchio worked through a series of submissions which were defended with relative ease, Zavurov continuously unloaded powerful shots to the head and body; when hammer-fists weren’t flying, Zavurov would briefly take to his feet, swipe Gallicchio’s legs to the side and drop right-hand bombs to his foe’s head that was pinned down to the mat. Although surviving the first round, Gallicchio was forced to expel nearly every ounce of energy he had.

Touching gloves after the first one-minute break, the RussFighters team standout smelt blood as Gallicchio showed serious signs of fatigue; utilizing elusive head movement, Zavurov set up a devastating, fatal right-hand that rocked Gallicchio to the canvas. With Gallicchio dazed and nearly out but refusing to quit, Zavurov mounted a punishing, unstoppable ground-and-pound attack that forced the referee to intervene just past the one minute mark of the second frame. The stoppage cemented Zavurov’s first successful defense of the inaugural M-1 Challenge welterweight belt and solidifies his position as the gate-keeper in the division’s extremely deep talent pool.

At 19-1, the crafty Russian’s only defeat come over a year ago when he lost a close split-decision to Rashid Magomedov, who was in action later on the card and also came out victorious. Without hesitation after his own win, Magomedov was quick to call out the champ who walked confidently into the ring and accepted Magomedov’s challenge; Zavurov will next put his belt on the line against Magomedov in the main-event bout at M-1 Challenge XXV, April 28th in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Come April 18th, Zavurov will aim to leverage his vast vault of experience and make his second outing as champion a successful quest.

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