In scouring the world for mixed martial arts’ next top talents, M-1 Global has found their welterweight gems in Dagastan, Russia and Barcelona, Spain. The 17-1, Shamil Zavurov, and 11-4-1, Abner Lloveras, have won their respective 2010 Selection tournament regions and are now set to clash in a head-to-head battle to determine the promotion’s first-ever M-1 Challenge Welterweight champion. All the action goes down Friday December 10th from the Druzhba Arena in Moscow, Russia with fans worldwide tuning in LIVE online at the official M-1 website, www.M-1Global.com starting 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST.
At 26 years of age, Zavurov fights out of the Rusfighters camp and was considered the favourite to win the M-1 Selection Eastern European tournament welterweight brackets from the get-go.
Zavurov is a 3-time world champion in Combat Sambo, 2-time champion of the CIS in hand-to-hand combat, winner of international tournaments in wrestling and Wushu Sanda and champion of Dagestan in Wushu Sanda. He has more than 50 victories in combat Sambo, fifty victories as an amateur / semi-professional MMA fighter; clearly Zavurov is one to watch and has flown under the radar of North American fans since 2004 as he has won almost every competition available and in sound, devastating fashion.
The road to capturing the 2010 M-1 Selection Eastern European tournament crown came with three consecutive victories; Radik Oboyan in the opening bracket, Ramazan Abdulzhaliov in a hard-fought semi-finals decision and Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, where a text-book rear-naked-choke submission in the European Finals in Moscow this past July 22 secured him the win. Since closing out the Selections tournament, Zavurov has gone on a tear winning four bouts in the European mixed martial arts circuit through the month of October and bringing his current win streak to eight fights; the crafty Russian’s only defeat came over a year ago as he lost a close split-decision to Rashid Magomedov.
When Zaurov enters the confines of the M-1 ring on December 10th, standing across from him will be Spanish Catalan, Abner Lloveras who has ventured around the world leaving a trail of devastated opponents in his wake. As a Shooto and M-1 Global veteran, Lloveras has garnered an impressive record and is currently riding a six-fight win streak which includes his battles that won him the M-1 Selection Western European crown.
Dedicated to evolving his game as he continues to climb into the echelon of elite welterweights, Abner recently received his BJJ Purple Belt under Team Haubert’s Rafael Haubert, adding more slick submission abilities to an already potent ground arsenal. With a steadfast stand-up defense and text-book clinch, Lloveras has proven to be an effective fighter from any position within the ring at any range.
To kick off his run through the Selections tournament, Lloveras used a well placed knee to knockout a very tough Sunnat Ilyasov in the second round of the fight moving him forward in the brackets. In the semi-finals, Lloveras showed a well rounded game and finished Miljan Jaksic at the 4:20 mark of the opening round of their fight by rear-naked choke; the Finals’ knock-out win over Berrie Bunthof secured his title shot against Shamil Zavurov at M-1 Challenge XXII.
The bout between Zavurov and Lloveras is primed to deliver on ‘fight of the night’ expectations in front of a capacity crowd at the Druzhba Arena in Moscow, Russia. With M-1 Global’s welterweight division proving to be an extremely deep pool of talented athletes to draw from, the newly crowned champion will have his hands full come time for his first title defense in 2011.