ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (January 16, 2017) - M-1 Global has announced that M-1 Challenge lightweight champion Alexander "Iron Capture" Botenkpwill take on challenger Abukar Yandiev (8-1-0, M-1: 2-1-0) in the M-1 Challenge 74 co-feature on February 18, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The previously announced main event pits undefeated M-1 Challenge light heavyweight champion Rashid Yusupov (6-0-0, M-1: 4-0-0), of Russia, defends his title against former titlist Stephan "T-800" Puetz (15-2-0, M-1: 6-1-0), of Germany.
M-1 Challenge 74
will be streamed live from St. Petersburg in high definition onwww.M1Global.TV
. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV
. Fans may watch all of the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets.
Also announced is a fight between top bantamweights Vitaly Branchuk andMoktar "Le Kabyle" Benkaci will also be in action with the winner positioning himself for a potential title shot with M-1 Challenge bantamweight championPavel Vitruk in the not-too-distant future.
A strong Ukrainian with superior wrestling skills, Butenko (42-11-2, M-1: 9-1-0) is an eight-year MMA veteran who has found a welcomed home in M-1 Challenge competition and he has taken advantage of the opportunity. Riding a six-fight win streak, the 29-year-old Butenko captured the vacant M-1 Challenge lightweight title belt last June at M-1 Challenge 67, when he took a five-round unanimous decision over Artiom Damkovsky
In his last action, at M-1 Challenge 71 in October, Butenko won a unanimous three-round decision against Rubenilton Pereira in a non-title fight.
Butenko's first title defense will be against one of the most popular MMA fighters in Russia, the fighting powerhouse Yandiev, who also is a strong wrestler, plus a solid Judo background. The rising lightweight star will be a certain fan favor because of his nationality as well as his style of fighting, resulting in first-round endings in all his pro fights to date.
Last June at M-1 Challenge 68, Yandiev used an armlock for a first-round submission of Tony Christodoulou, fought at a 177 ½ lbs. catchweight.
Like Butenko, Branchuk (21-6-0, M-1: 1-2-0) also fights out of Ukraine. The 25-year-old fighter is a former M-1 Challenge bantamweight title challenger, who was riding an eight-fight into his last fight, in which he lost by fourth-round submission (choke) to the aforementioned Vitruk (see accompanying picture to left). In M-1 Challenge competition, Branchuk defeated Antun Racic
one year ago, by way of a three-round split decision at M-1 Challenge 64
Benkaci (13-7-0, (M-1: 2-1-0) is a grappling specialist from France. Known and highly respected for his great conditioning and endurance, he lost a disputed three-round decision in his M-1 Challenge debut to Nikita Chistyakov
1-½ years ago, but the talented Frenchman bounced back to knockout his last two opponents, Vadim Malygin
respectively, by knee and punch.
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