Daniel Weichel aims to dethrone Jose Figueroa at M-1 Challenge 26 on July 8

Capitalizing on his opportunities inside M-1 Global’s five-rope ring, Daniel Weichel’s commitment and dedication to MMA has paid off big time.

With a late replacement win over Yuri Ivlev at Challenge XXI, one of the night’s most exciting fights, the talented lightweight from Michelstadt, Hesse, Germany was awarded with a 6-fight exclusive contract.

His first bout of the new agreement came against Magomed Khasbulaev and the slick submission specialist locked down a textbook triangle submission victory; these back to back victories launched Weichel into title contention and the vastly experienced warrior has been awarded with an opportunity to stand under the championship spotlights.

On July 8th, Weichel will meet newly crowned champion, Jose Figueroa in the United States in the co-main event of M-1 Challenge XXVI: Guram vs. Bennett.

At 26 years old, Weichel has been fighting professionally since 2002, racked up an impressive 26-7 record and has won eight of his last nine tilts.

North Americans fans are quick to recognize him thanks to bouts versus Thiago Tavares, Dan Hardy and Paul Daley.

With experience that has been hard-fought and earned through international passage with organizations including Shooto, King of the Cage, Cage Warriors and the UFC, one of his most notable victories comes against Dennis Siver.

Weichel made it clear he prefers to avoid the judges’ scorecards in favour of finishing fights in exciting fashion; he possesses the exceptional athleticism and dexterity and capable of scooping the single or double leg takedown effortlessly as a precursor to a submission.

Should Weichel end up in full mount or side control, expect to see contusion-creating knees to the body and a devastating ground-and-pound that will fire holes through even the most steadfast defence.

If the fight stays up, he’ll tag you from every angle and can issue skull-cracking knees at will. Simply put: Weichel adds some serious depth to M-1 Global’s lightweight division and is a considerable threat to the monstrous 6’3” Figueroa.

As a true lightweight by North American standards, Weichel fluctuated between weight classes early on which put him in unfavourable positions fighting significantly larger opponents.

Since being dedicated to the 155lb class, Weichel has achieved considerable success having won eight of his last nice matches, which include a rear-naked-choke submission victory over M-1 Selection Tournament lightweight finalist, Victor Kuku.

Taking the fight against Yuri Ivlev on short notice thanks to Eric Reynolds being forced to withdraw due to a late-training-camp knee injury, seems to be a blessing in disguise for Weichel who stepped into the spotlight of an already showcased bout and has made it an even larger focal point.

The victory made an impression with the M-1 Global brass. “Weichel’s domination of Ivlev was talked about for weeks after the event,” said M-1 Global’s Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan. “Daniel is the type of fighter we want secured within our organization – fighters with heart, talent and relentless desire to give it their all; he possesses all the traits of a future champion and now he has his shot to become one.”

Weichel’s clash with Ivlev was deserving of co-main event status as he electrified the crowd with his arsenal of skills.

With a packed house anticipating a display of supreme submission attempts, Weichel altered the game plan and elected to keep it on the feet and out-struck Ivlev in an epic stand up battle.

Riding a three fight streak of his own, Weichel will roll into the Unites States as the underdog against Figueroa when they meet July 8th.

But with his vast vault of experience, speedy striking and stealth submissions, he’s presented with a perfect opportunity to make the champ’s first defense a miserable and horrific experience.

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.

For additional information, go to the official M-1 website, www.M-1Global.com and M-1 Global facebook fan page.