PRESS RELEASE; Tacoma, Washington – A total of thirty fighters representing six teams all hailing from different countries weighed in on Friday for tonight’s stacked 2009 M-1 Challenge season opener at the Emerald Queen Casino. All 30 fighters met their specified weight and medical examination requirements and are locked in for tonight’s 15-bout card.
Tonight’s event will feature the five-man Imperial Team’s (Russia) begin the defense of their 2008 M-1 Challenge championship. Standing in their way will be a South Korean team led by heavyweight Sang Soo Lee (11-5), who is slated to face Alexey Oleinik (23-4) of the Imperial Team in what will be one of the night’s most anticipated fights. Another fight the M-1 insiders are expecting to tear the house down at the Emerald Queen is a lightweight bout between Mikhail Malyutin (9-6) taking on Do Hyung Kim (5-5), who will be moving down from welterweight.
Led by owners Roy Engelbrecht and Steve Bash as well as head coach Colin Oyama, Team USA West is all set for their maiden voyage in the M-1 Challenge. Newcomer Dave Jansen (7-0) is set to represent the U.S. as its lightweight representative just two weeks after recording a first round submission against Matt Lee during a World Cagefighting Alliance event in Atlantic City, N.J. Facing Team Brazil Naja’s Flavio Alvaro (22-5), the 29-year old Jansen is anticipating an all-out war. U.S. Team West member Dylan Clay (6-0) will also have his hands full against former IFL superfight participant Eduardo Pamplona (9-2).
Also slated for action is a head-to-head matchup between Team Benelux and Team Finland. The best-of-five series between the two countries will see 21-year old rookie heavyweight Sander Duyvis (2-1)of Team Benelux attempt to fill the large shoes of Jesse Gibbs when takes on the returning Toni Valtonen (17-8) of Team Finland. Valtonen was one of the top light heavyweight competitors during the 2008 M-1 Challenge but is excited about his move to heavyweight. The lineup change was made to accommodate teammate Marcus Vanttinen’s (8-1) move to light heavyweight. Vannttinen finds himself in another one of the night’s many intriguing matchups, as he’s slated to take on Team Benelux’s Jason Jones (8-5).
Jones was one of several breakout stars from the M-1 Challenge while a part of last year’s Team Holland squad. Making the move to light heavyweight for the first time, several M-1 insiders expect the change in weight class to allow Jones to achieve new levels of notoriety. An explosive and aggressive fighter, Jones is promising to “whip his opponent’s ass.”
Complete weigh-in results and bout order for tonight’s card are as follows:
Team Finland vs. Team Benelux (best of five):
- Juha-Pekka Vainkainen (154 lbs./10-3) vs. Danny van Bergen (150.92 lbs./5-4-3)
- Janne Tulirinta (166.32 lbs./9-3) vs. Tommy Depret (165 lbs./4-0)
- Lucio Linhares (184.36 lbs./9-4) vs. Kamil Uygun (182.16 lbs./6-3)
- Marcus Vanttinen (204.6 lbs./8-1) vs. Jason Jones (200.2 lbs./8-5)
- Toni Valtonen (228.8 lbs./17-8) vs. Sander Duyvis (253.88 lbs./2-1)
Team South Korea vs. the Imperial Team (best of five):
- Do Hyung Kim (154 lbs./5-5) vs. Mikhail Malyutin (151.88 lbs./9-6)
- Myung Ho Bae (166.76 lbs./6-3) vs. Erik Oganov (167.2 lbs./9-8)
- Hyung Yu Lim (184.8 lbs./4-1-1) vs. Dmitry Samolyov (182.16 lbs./6-3-1)
- Jae Young Kim (204.16 lbs./9-7) vs. Mikhail Zayats (200.2 lbs./8-1)
- Sang Soo Le (234.08 lbs./11-5) vs. Alexy Oleinik (231 lbs./23-4)
Team USA West vs. Team Brazil Naja (best of five):
- Dave Jansen (154 lbs./7-0) vs. Flavio Alvaro (154 lbs./22-5)
- Reggie Orr (182.6 lbs./7-5-1) vs. Juliano Belgine (180.84 lbs./9-2)
- Raphael Davis (204.16 lbs./3-1) vs. Jair Goncalves (199.32 lbs./6-2)
- Carl Seumanutafa (260.04 lbs./4-1) vs. Jose Franca (243.76 lbs./7-2)
- Dylan Clay (165.88 lbs./6-0) vs. Eduardo Pamplona (163.24 lbs./9-2)