Two champions from the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) will collide at M-1 Challenge on April 29 in Tokyo, Japan -- despite being separated by four weight classes.
WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko will square off against WAMMA lightweight champion Shinya Aoki in a special-rules exhibition grappling match with a proposed time limit of five minutes -- designed as more of a crowd pleaser than actual competition.
First reported by MMAFighting.com, Aoki confirmed the bout during a press conference earlier this morning.
Emelianenko and Aoki are both considered to be two of mixed martial arts finest grapplers, irrespective of weight class.
"The Last Emperor" earned a bronze medal in the Russian Judo Championship and has won gold in the Russian Combat Sambo Championship and placed first in the World Combat Sambo Championship in the heavyweight division and open-weight division.
"The Tobikan Judan" (master of flying submissions) is a black belt in both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo and owns two All Japan Jiu-Jitsu championships, a Japan Open Jiu-Jitsu championship, a Budo Open championship, and an ADCC Japan championship.
While the idea of them actually fighting is silly, the exhibition grappling match should be seen for what it is: A chance to have two of Japan's more popular stars roll around on the mat exchanging sub attempts.
Subtitled "Third Edition," the April 29 M-1 Challenge event will feature a total of 30 fighters representing six countries in three head-to-head matchups resulting in a total of 15 fights. In addition to host country Japan facing the debuting Team England, the event will also feature Team USA West battling Team South Korea for supremacy in Group B along with a Group A matchup featuring Team France and Team Spain.
The third edition will also include a bonus superfight featuring French phenom Karl Amoussou, who will be taking on an unnamed opponent.
Full standings and results from the current season also available at www.M-1Global.com as well with the complete head-to-head fight card lineup consisting of the following:
Japan vs. England (best-of-five series)
Lightweight (70 kg/154 lbs.): Luiz Andrade (Japan) vs. Ian Butlin (England)
Welterweight (76 kg/167.2 lbs.): Hidehiko Hasgawa (Japan) vs. Simon Phillips (England)
Middleweight (84 kg/184.8 lbs.): Yusuke Masuda (Japan) vs. Matt Thorpe (England)
Light Heavyweight (93 kg/204.6 lbs.): Tatsuya Mizuno (Japan) vs. Tom Blackledge (England)
Heavyweight (+93 kg/204.7-plus lbs.): Yasuke Kawaguchi (Japan) vs. Rob Broughton (England)
USA West vs. South Korea (best-of-five series)
Lightweight (70 kg/154 lbs.): David Jansen (USA West) vs. Yui Chui Nam (S. Korea)
Welterweight (76 kg/167.2 lbs.): Fabio Negao (USA West) vs. Myung Ho Bae (S. Korea)
Middleweight (84 kg/184.8 lbs.): Giva Santana (USA West) vs. Min Suk Heo (S. Korea)
Light Heavyweight (93 kg/204.6 lbs.): Raphael Davis (USA West) vs. Jae Young Kim (S. Korea)
Heavyweight (+93 kg/204.7-plus lbs.): Shane Del Rosario (USA West) vs. Doo Hee Lee (S. Korea)
France vs. Spain (best-of-five series)
Lightweight (70 kg/154 lbs.): Makhtar Gueye (France) vs. Jose Luiz Zapter Aguirre (Spain)
Welterweight (76 kg/167.2 lbs.): Farouk Lakebir (France) vs. Jose Beltran (Spain)
Middleweight (84 kg/184.8 lbs.): Christophe Dafreville (France) vs. Rayco Zebenzui Romero Silva (Spain)
Light Heavyweight (93 kg/204.6 lbs.): Christian Mpumbu (France) vs. Enoc Solbes (Spain)
Heavyweight (+93 kg/204.7-plus lbs.): Soufian Elgarne (France) vs. Rogent Lloret (Spain)
M-1 Challenge will stream live Wednesday, April 29 at 6 a.m. ET at the official Russian-language site for M-1 Global at www.Mixfight.ru as well as with our friends over at www.Japan-MMA.com.
For more on M-1 Challenge click here.
***Update via official M-1 press release:
Fans in attendance will be treated to a special five-minute sparring exhibition between Fedor when he returns to the ring for a five-minute special sparring exhibition against WAMMA lightweight champion Shinya Aoki.
Complete rules of the Fedor vs. Aoki sparring exhibition are still being negotiated.