Just a few days shy of the event, M-1 Challenge has added an additional two fights to it’s March 30th event in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Native to the country, Alexandr Popov (2-1) goes toe to toe with travelling Frenchman Bakary El Anwar (5-5) in a battle of big men in the Light Heavyweight division.
After two first-round victories on the separate Road to M-1 cards, Popov has earned his spot on the promotion’s big stage and he intends to fully take advantage of the moment. Popov was unsuccessful in his last fight, but his November loss to hometown German Robert Lau was his first time competing below the heavyweight division in his professional MMA career. Now more accustom to the lighter weight class, Alexandr Popov wants to put on a show for his Russian fans and get another first-round stoppage.
Bakary’s first 8 fights all came under the 100% Fight banner in his native France. In 2015, the now 35-year-old decided to branch out, competing in both Poland and Russia before a 2016 fight with Andy Clamp in England. It’s been a year and a half since he last stepped into the cage, so ring rust could definitely be a factor impeding the older man when he steps into the ring/cage hybrid in just a few days time.
Also added are a pair of undefeated prospects in Roman Bogatov (5-0) and Tahir Abdullaev (6-0).
Bogatov is rapidly rising through the ranks in Russian combat, picking up a victory in Fight Night Global before complimenting it with a trio of Ws in M-1 Challenge. Bogatov has won at both Lightweight and Welterweight, and this contest will be played out at the former. A strong submission, Roman Bogatov is a threat to anyone in the division and he’ll steak his undefeated record against anyone that disputes it.
However, Bogatov will have a lot to answer when he faces an even more impressive MMA record. Tahir Abdullaev represents the quickly developing MMA scene in Azerbaijan and comes into hostile territory looking to silence the M-1 Arena. Abdullaev has fought in Russia, Kyrgyzstan and China, and those experiences will aid him when he once again fights in front of a crowd willing his opponent to beat him. With the ability to win with both strikes and submissions, Abdullaev has some options that his diverse game provides.
The M-1 Arena will be treated by the 10 fights currently announced, two of which have belts on the line. The current card is as follows:-
- Alexey Kunchenko (17-0) Vs Alexander Butenko (45-12-3) – Welterweight Championship
- Rafael Dias Vs Vadim Malygin – Flyweight Championship
- Joe Riggs (48-17) Vs Boris Polezhay (18-6) – Middleweight
- Lom-Ali Nalgiev (14-7) Vs Ruslan Rakhmonkulov (11-1) – Lightweight
- Sado Ucar (10-4) Vs Magomedkamil Malikov (4-0) – Lightweight
- Paul Marin (12-7) Vs Oleg Lichkovakha (5-2) – Flyweight
- Abylkasim Yakubov (4-4) Vs Dmitry Tebekin (8-3) – Light Heavyweight
- Damien Peltier (8-8-1) Vs Maxim Kuldashev (2-0) – Featherweight
- Roman Bogatov (5-0) Vs Tahir Abdullaev (6-0) – Lightweight
- Bakary El Anwar (5-5) Vs Alexandr Popov (2-1) – Light Heavyweight