Amsterdam, Holland - There are just several days remaining until the second stop of the 2009 "M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction" touches down in Bourgas, Bulgaria. A total of 30 fighters representing six teams are now in transit to Bourgas in anticipation of this weekend's M-1 Challenge event.
On Saturday, March 28, Turkey, The World Team, Germany, Team Russian Legion, Team North America, and the host Bulgarian team will all make their 2009 M-1 Challenge season debuts at the Mladost Sports Hall, located just minutes from the sunny beach resorts of Bourgas.
Complete lineups for the three head-to-head team matchups are set with local fans in attendance in store for a full night of action featuring a total of 15 fights. While some might be surprised to see a major MMA event scheduled for Bulgaria, M-1 Global officials deemed it a tremendous location for its second '09 event due to the increased growth of the sport of MMA in the country.
One of the forefathers of MMA's growth in Bulgaria is its most well-known fighter, former Bulgarian Olympic wrestler Jordan Radev. The 32-year old Plovdiv native has gone 7-0 since leaving the UFC and currently boasts an MMA record of 18-3.
Radev will be leading Team Bulgaria against Team North America and will be matched up in a middleweight encounter against former NFL running back Herbert "Whisper" Goodman.
Goodman, an elite athlete who played two seasons for the Green Bay Packers as a backup to former Pro Bowl running back Ahman Green, has made tremendous recent progress as a fighter despite his late entry into the sport.
An interesting subplot to watch will be the debut of a revamped German roster. Last year's German team was eliminated from the 2008 M-1 Challenge early due to overwhelming defeats. However, a new roster of German fighters led by a new coaching staff will look to redeem their nation when it faces Turkey.
For those unable to attend this weekend's M-1 Challenge event in Bourgas, complete coverage will be available at M-1Global.com throughout the weekend including weigh-in results and any last minute lineup changes; a live play-by-play blog; as well as a post-fight recap with photos.
With the exception of an injury to Turkish middleweight Kamil Uygun, the entire card for Saturday is now available below (local start time of 9 p.m.):
Team Matchup Number One: Turkey vs. Germany
1. Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Akin (Turkey) vs. Franco de Leonardis (Germany)
2. Welterweight (167.2 lbs./- 76 kg): Faith Dogan (Turkey) vs. Daniel Weichel (Germany)
3. Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): TBA (Turkey) vs. Gregor Herb (Germany)
4. Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Samy Turky (Turkey) vs. Martin Zawada (Germany)
5. Heavyweight (204.7-plus lbs./+93 kg): Tugrul Okay (Turkey) vs. David Baziak (Germany)
Team Matchup Number Two: Russian Legion vs. World Team
6. Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Yuri Ivies (Russian Legion) vs. Romano De Los Reyes (World Team)
7. Welterweight (167.2 lbs./- 76 kg): Magomed Shihshabekov (Russian Legion) vs. Jason Ponet (World Team)
8. Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Sergey Kornev (Russian Legion) vs. Nathan Schouten (World Team)
9. Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Gadzimyrat Omarov (Russian Legion) vs. Joaquin Mamute (World Team)
10. Heavyweight (204.7-plus lbs./+93 kg): Akhmed Sultanov (Russian Legion) vs. Michael Kitta (World Team)
Team Matchup Number Three: Bulgaria vs. Team North America (a.k.a. Team USA North)
11. Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Yanko Yankev (Bulgaria) vs. Renato Migliaccio (North America)
12. Welterweight (167.2 lbs./- 76 kg): Ivan Ivanov (Bulgaria) vs. Steve Carl (North America)
13. Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Jordan Radev (Bulgaria) vs. Herbert Goodman (North America)
14. Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Atanas Dzhambazov (Bulgaria) vs. Charles Grigsby (North America)
15. Heavyweight (204.7-plus lbs./+93 kg): Veselin Bojinov (Bulgaria) vs. Lloyd Marshbanks (North America)
Billed as the "World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts," the M-1 Challenge is a full season of MMA events sponsored by partner Affliction that showcases some of the best up and coming MMA fighters in the world. Broadcast to over 80 countries around the world, including HDNet in the United States, the M-1 Challenge pits teams of five fighters representing their respective countries against each other for international bragging rights and the title of M-1 Challenge Champions.
The "M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction" affords MMA prospects all over the world an opportunity to test their skills, gain valuable experience at the international level, and become future stars in the sport of MMA. Fighters who succeed on the M-1 Challenge's international breeding ground will earn the opportunity to participate in major MMA events presented by M-1 Global and their promotional partners such as Affliction Entertainment.