Despite having only accepted a fight on 36 hours notice, Team USA East heavyweight Lloyd Marshbanks was the deciding factor in his team’s come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Team Finland on Friday night in Kansas City.
Listed on some fight databases at 16-8, industry insiders believe that Marshbanks is 50-8, with many of his fights taking place in Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and also in California before mixed martial arts was legal. Marshbanks improved to 17-8 officially after submitting Toni Valtonen at 0:55 of round 2 due to a neck crank.
USA East opened its best-of-five series vs. Finland with a 1-0 lead after Ryan Gracie black belt Renato Migliaccio improved to 6-0 following a armbar submission over Niko Puhaka at 4:18 of round 1. However, Team USA East fell behind 2-1 after welterweight Janne Turlirinta TKO’d Anthony Ford in just 11 seconds in addition to middleweight Lucio Linhares’ first round knockout of Valdir Araujo.
Light heavyweight Rodney Wallace was next up for USA East against Marcus Vantinnen. Despite a dramatic reach disadvantage for Wallace, he used quick, explosive strikes to score points with the judges. However, it was Wallace’s exceptional wrestling skills that scored him a unanimous decision victory.
With the score tied 2-2, it was up to Marshbanks to bring home the win and allow USA East to improve to 2-0 in Group C. Valtonen, one of the most experience fighters in the M-1 Challenge, was unable to keep up with Marshbanks’ superb jiu-jitsu skills. Despite having top position on several occasions, Valtonen lost the advantage following sweeps from Marshbanks.
Marshbanks nearly ended the fight in the first round with a heel hook, the same submission move he used to Emil Samoilov this past March during an M-1 Challenge event in Bulgaria. However, Marshbanks lost control of a slipper Valtonen and the fight moved onto the second round.
In the end, Marshbanks’ superior ground skills proved to be no match for a tired Valtonen. The crowd erupted after Marshbanks’ win and a good portion of the crowd stayed after the fight in hopes of getting the man of the hour’s autograph.
In addition to USA East vs. Finland, Team England took on Team France while the World Team also went head-to-head with Turkey.
After defeating Japan in Tokyo on April 29 by a score of 4-1, many anticipated that England would clinch a playoff berth in Group A with an easy victory over a French team that lost its opener to Team Spain by a 3-2 score earlier this year. However, a rejuvenated Team France pulled off the 4-1 win over Team England.
Lightweight Makhtar Gueye helped France get off to a literal quick start with a nine second knockout of Ian Butlin of Team England. Welterweight Gael Grimaud then helped France move to 2-0 after he submitted British knockout specialist Simon Phillips with a triangle.
Christophe Dafreville then scored the clinching third victory after executing a triangle submission of his own against Matt Thorpe at 4:32 of round 2.
Despite having clinched the victory, it behooved France to keep winning with the first tie-breaker in the M-1 Challenge being individual victory. Despite it being his pro debut, Frenchman Johan Romming used his world class wrestling ability to submit the more experienced Danny Giblin. Rob Broughton then enacted a small measure of revenge for England after he was declared a winner at 2:02 of round 1 due to a corner stoppage.
In the opener, the World Team evened its record to 1-1 following its 4-1 win over Gegard Mousasi’s winless Team Turkey. The unofficial “Fight of the Night” honors went to a pair of light heavyweights who both had just been added to the event in the last seven days.
John Doyle, a man who once accepted a fight against Rafael Feijao in EliteXC on just eight days notice, made the decision to accept a fight vs. Extreme Challenge middleweight champion Ryan Sturdy on just 24 hours notice. Sturdy, also a late replacement, had just been added a week ago.
Doyle got off to a fast start and appeared to have almost knocked Sturdy out within the opening seconds of round 1. But a resilient Sturdy showed a strong chin and continued to engage in a back-and-forth fight that went the full two rounds. While it appeared that both Doyle and Sturdy had fought to a draw and that an overtime round would be needed, two of three judges scored the fight in favor of Sturdy.
In addition to Mousasi’s appearing in Kansas City as Turkey’s head coach, Fedor Emelianenko also made sure to attend the event while in the midst of his press tour to promote his M-1 Affliction “Trilogy” matchup with Josh Barnett on Aug. 1.
With five events for 2009 now in the books, the M-1 Challenge is set to return on July 4 in Seoul, South Korea. Additional information and complete lineups for the event will be made available at www.M-1Global.com in the coming week.
Official results for M-1 Challenge Kansas City are available below.
World Team vs. Turkey:
1. Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg.) – Akin Duran (Turkey ) def. Romano De Los Reyes (World ) via TKO (ground and pound) at 1:57 of round 3
2. Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg.) – Diego Gonzales (World ) def. Faith Dogan (Turkey) via TKO (ground and pound) at 2:16 of round 1
3. Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg.) – Nathan Schouten (World ) def. Ahmed Bayrak (Turkey) via TKO (ground and pound) at 3:21 of round 1
4. Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg.) – Ryan Sturdy (World) def. John Doyle (Turkey) via majority decision
5. Heavyweight (204.6-plus lbs./+93 kg.) – Michael Kitta (World ) def. Liron Wilson (Turkey) via TKO (ground and pound) at 3:27 of round 1
World Team defeats Turkey 4-1
England vs. France:
6. Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg.) – Makhtar Gueye (France) def. Ian Butlin (England ) via TKO (strikes) at 0:09 of round 1
7. Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg.) – Gael Grimaud (France ) def. Simon Phillips (England ) via submission (triangle 1:29 of round 1)
8. Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg.) – Christophe Dafreville (France ) def. Matt Thorpe (England – 183.9) via submission (triangle) at 4:32 of round 1
9. Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg.) – Johan Romming (France ) def. Danny Giblin (England ) via submission (North/South choke) at 1:59 of round 1
10. Heavyweight (204.6-plus lbs./+93 kg.) – Rob Broughton (England ) def. Soufian Elgarne via corner stoppage (injury) at 2:02 of round 1
France defeats England 4-1
USA East vs. Finland:
11. Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg.) – Renato Migliaccio (USA) def. Niko Puhaka (Finland ) via submission (armbar) at 4:18 of round 1
12. Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg.) – Janne Tulirinta (Finland ) def. Anthony Ford (USA) via TKO (strikes) at 0:11 of round 1
v3. Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg.) – Lucio Linhares (Finland ) def. Valdir Araujo (USA) via knockout at 1:25 of round 1
14. Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg.) – Rodney Wallace (USA) def. Marcus Vanttinen (Finland ) via unanimous decision
15. Heavyweight (204.6-plus lbs./+93 kg.) – Lloyd Marshbanks (USA ) def. Toni Valtonen (Finland) via submission (neck crank/side headlock) at 0:55 of round 2
USA East defeats Finland 3-2