M-1 Challenge heavyweight champ, Guram Gugenishvili, maintains perfection and improves to 11-0 after sinking in his trademark, suffocating rear-naked-choke on Maxim Grishin this past Saturday night at M-1 Challenge XXIII; the RNC win earned Submission of the Night recognition, a back-to-back honour for the Makfight Team warrior who also took home the SOTN award with a standing guillotine over Kenny Garner in his last outing. The seemingly emotionless giant continues to impose his dominance as the king of his division and appears to be unstoppable; the monstrous Georgian powerhouse is proving to be a top prospect in MMA and the global MMA fan base has no choice other than to take notice.
Guram and Grishin were originally slated to square off this past October but Grishin was forced to withdraw after suffering a late training camp injury; healed up and ready for action, Grishin, the definitive underdog, entered the ring in hopes of dethroning the current champ and almost shocked the world in the early seconds of the battle when he floored the champ with a left hook. After being mounted and briefly punished, Guram looked to escape and gave up his back, leaving him in a momentarily precarious position to be choked out himself. With the dangerous situation short-lived, Guram got back to his feet and engaged Grishin quickly in an effort to sway the momentum back into his favour. After a brief exchange, the pair hit the mat with Guram working from his foe’s guard, landing effective blows through Grishin’s defence.
As Guram postured up and stepped over into full mount, Grishin made the fatal mistake of rolling over in an attempt to escape, giving up his back and exposing his neck; it took Guram a split second to recognize the position and he quickly wrenched in, locked his wrists under Grishin’s neck and worked to flatten his opponent out. Leaving no escape in sight, Guram forced the tap at 3:38 of the opening round and walked away from his first-ever heavyweight title defense victorious.
As an outstanding heavyweight, what’s most notable about Guram is his agility; at 6’4” and 250lbs, he moves around the ring lightly on his feet and stalks his opponents down. He’s methodical, calm and systematic in his movements.
As the inaugural M-1 heavyweight champion, Guram has defeated contenders Maxim Grishin and Kenny Garner and captured the 2010 M-1 Selection Championship by demolishing Jur Dekker, Valery Scherbakov and Alexander Romaschenko; the champ is now climbing the next steps of his professional career where the level and calibre of competition gets tougher.
No one has been able to expose holes in his abilities to date. All but one of his victories have ended early in the first round and seven of these come by way of anaconda-like rear naked chokes. Although extremely successful to date and able to manhandle his opponents at will, it’s inevitable to envision the type of fighter that Guram will evolve into with exposure to elite-level coaching and training in striking and jiu jitsu; incorporating these elements into his already powerful arsenal will make Guram a force to be reckoned with anywhere on the planet.
With Guram delivering a solid title-defense performance, he continues to proudly sport the gold around his waist and eagerly awaits confirmation of his next opponent and date; details on whether his next outing will be on April 28th in St. Petersburg, Russia or in the United States as part of a future televised event will be announced shortly.
With Challenge XXIII in the books, M-1 Global makes its return to US soil on Friday, March 25th for M-1 Challenge XXIV: Damkovsky vs. Figueroa from the Constant Center in Norfolk, Virginia. Current lightweight champ, Artiom Damkovsky gears up for his first title defense against 2010 M-1 Selection Americas winner, Jose Figueroa and Tyson ‘The Anti-Hero’ Jeffries faces Magomed Sultanakhmedov in a title fight for the vacant middleweight championship.
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