The official weigh in was held today for tomorrow’s M-1 Challenge Battle in Atyrau, headlined by the M-1 Challenge Featherweight title fight between defending champion Nate “The Train” Landwehr and challenger Andrey “Iron” Lezhnev, in Kazakhstan.
MAIN EVENT – M-1 CHALLENGE FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP — 5 X 5
Nate Landwehr (11-2-0, M-1: 3-0-0), Champion, USA 144 ½ (65,7 kg)
Andrey Lezhnev (18-7-0, M-1: 6-3-0), Challenger, Ukraine 145 lbs. (65,8 kg)
CO-FEATURE – BANTAMWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Sergey Morozov (13-4-0, M-1: 7-3-0), Kazakhstan 134 lbs. (61,1 kg)
Bakytbek Duishobaev (6-0-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Kyrgyzstan 136 lbs.* (62 kg)
WELTERWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Eduardo Ramon (15-4-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Brazil 168 lbs. (76,5 kg)
Danila Prikaza (10-2-1, M-1: 7-2-0), Russia 169 ½ lbs. (77,1 kg)
FLYWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Kayck Alencar (8-0-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Brazil 124 lbs. (56,5 kg)
Talgat Zhumagaliyev (1-1-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Kazakhstan 125 lbs. (56,7 kg)
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Rafal Kijanczuk (5-0-0, M-1: 2-0-0), Poland 204 lbs. (92,8 kg)
Giga Kukhalashvili (9-4-0, M-1: 2-1-0), Russia 208 lbs.* (94,4 kg)
MIDDLEWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Murad Abdurakhmanov (5-1-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Kazakhstan 183 lbs. (83,3 kg)
Brandon Bell (6-6-0, M-1: 1-0-0), USA 180 ½ lbs. (82 kg)
LIGHTWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Khamzat Dalgiev (10-2-0, M-1: 7-2-0), Russia 154 lbs. (69,9 kg)
Bayaman Nurmamat (5-1-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Kyrgyzstan 154 lbs. (70,1 kg)
FEATHERWEIGHTS – 3 x 5
Nurbek Kabdrakhmanov (1-0-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Kazakhstan 144 lbs. (65,5 kg)
Mikhail Kuznetsov (6-4-1, M-1: 3-3-1), Russia 144 lbs. (65,6 kg)
BANTAMWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Sergey Klyuev (6-2-0, M-1: 4-2-0), Russia 139 lbs.* (63,3 kg)
Abylay Tolesh (4-1-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Kazakhstan 135 lbs. (61,3 kg)
Assu Almabaev (8-2-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Kazakhstan 126 lbs. (57,2 kg)
Kirill Fomenkov (5-1-0, M-1: 1-0-0), Russia 125 lbs. (57 kg)
LIGHTWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Georgiy Akoshvili (2-1-0, M-1: 0-0-0), Ukraine 151 ½ lbs. (69,9 kg)
Vasily Kozlov (1-0-0, M-1: 1-0-0), Russia 154 lbs. (70 kg)
FEATHERWEIGHTS – 3 X 5
Sabit Zhusupov (5-2-0, 1 NC, M-1: 0-0-0) 144 lbs. (65,6 kg)
Mate Sanikidze (3-1-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Georgia 141 1/2 lbs. 64,4 kg)
(all fights & fighters subject to change)
*denotes yellow card
WHEN: Saturday, December 15, 2018
WHERE: Atyrau, Kazakhstan
PROMOTER: M-1 Global
LIVE STREAM: www.m1global.tv (12.00 p.m. ET / 9:00 a.m. PT in USA). Also available on FITE.TV (preliminary card is free, $7.99 for the main card)
M-1 Challenge featherweight champion Nate “The Train” Landwehr has boldly predicted a knockout victory this Saturday in his M-1 Challenge Battlein Atyrau main event versus challenger Andrey “Iron” Lezhnev in Kazakhstan.
M-1 Challenge Battle in Atyrau will be live-streamed from Kazakhstan in high definition on www.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 the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets. M-1 Challenge Battle in Atyrau will also be available onwww.FITE.TV(preliminary card is free, $7.99 for the main card).
In M-1 Global’s final event of 2018, as well as its first in Kazakhstan in three years, the brash Landwehr plans to put on an explosive performance against Lezhnev (18-7-0, M-1: 6-3-0), who has won nine of his last 10 fights, including the last three in a row, to earn this title shot.
Landwehr (11-2-0, M-1: 3-0-0), 30, captured his title last June at M-1 Challenge 95, when he knocked out defending champion Khamzat Dalgiev in the second round via punches.
Lezhnev, fighting out of Ukraine, has been stopped only once in 25 professional MMA fights, by Alexey Nevzorov at M-1 Challenge 73.
Landwehr, the pride of Clarksville, Tennessee, is looking forward to his first title defense this Saturday, confident “The Train” will keep rollin’. The entertaining American fighter stepped into The Rage to answer one-on-one questions about his upcoming fight versus Lezhnev, as well as his MMA career:
How does it feel to finally defend your title for the first time?
NL: “I feel like I’m about to put on one hell of a show and one hell of a finish to close out the year for M-1 Global. When I was told I was fighting in Kazakhstan, I was thinking, hell yeah, I get to see a new country. Each fight has been in a new city and new region. It’s exciting! One man, one city, one country at a time. Everybody will know about Clarksville, TN and The Train.”
You captured the title on the home soil of your opponent in the Republic of Ingushetia, Russia. Did you feel any pressure?
NL: “I headlined the show in front of 13,000 people and finished just like I said I would, even with Dalgiev not making weight, poking me in the eyes and picking my nose. I became the first American featherweight (M-1) champion, so, to me, it was just what I expected. After the fight I had dinner with the President of Ingushetia. We got along very well. He even invited me back and to bring my wife. I never feel pressure for a fight, because I do this because I love it and I really, really, really enjoy punching people in the face. And putting on a show for the thousands of fans. I was born for this life!”
Promotion pays for tickets and accommodation for one cornerman for regular fighters, two for challengers and champions, but each time you bring many people with you. Your team includes six people this time. Why is it so important for you to bring so many people?
NL: “”I bring all my people and even pay for them out of my own pocket. I do this because they deserve to be beside me as my dreams come true. Mike Merriman has been with me since the beginning and he’s like an older brother. Angel Natal came onboard not too long after that and he is like a father. He’s also bringing his wife, Gloria. My boy, Christian Nielsen, is the newest member to the crew. My wife is my love and she’s always by my side”.
Many featherweights challenged you after you won the title. Now some of them say that you are afraid of fighting them and that you chose Andrey Lezhnev because he is not the most dangerous opponent. What do you say?
NL: “I am a fighter and I fight who M-1 president Vadim Finkelchtein and the matchmakers want, whenever and whoever. But to all the contenders, don’t worry you’ll have an ass whoopin’ heading your way real soon. So, when they call you for the big show, be ready. Everyone wants to fight me, but I think either Busurmankul Abdibait Uuly or Viktor Kolesnik should be next.”
What is your predictions for this fight?
NL: “I knock him out in the first round, or late in the second. For him losing should not be that bad, hell, he has already been beaten seven times and TKO’d. I am going to beat him worse than he ever has been beat.
“I don’t come for the same reasons as them. They come to win, I come to destroy. They want victory, I want a glorious battle. They want a fight, I want a war. They just want their hand raised, I want blood. They come for the show, I am the show.”
Andrey “Iron” Lezhnev prepared to take M-1 Challenge featherweight champion Nate “The Train” Landwehr’s title belt
M-1 Challenge featherweight challenger Andrey “Iron” Lezhnev has fully prepared to take defending champion Nate “The Train” Landwehr’s belt, who will be making his first title defense December 15, headlining M-1 Global’s final event of the year – M-1 Challenge Battlein Atyrau- in M-1 Global’s first show in Kazakhstan in three years.
M-1 Challenge Battle in Atyrau will be live-streamed from Kazakhstan in high definition on www.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 the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets. M-1 Challenge Battle in Atyreau will also be is available onwww.FITE.TV(preliminary card is free, $7.99 for the main card).
The 30-year-old Landwehr is a popular, entertaining fighter from America who captured his crown this past June at M-1 Challenge 95, when knocked out the then-defending champion Khamzat Dalgiev on punches in round two.
Ukrainian MMA veteran Lezhnev (18-7-0, M-1; 6-3-0) became top contender by winning nine of his last 10 fights, including the last three, and nobody has stopped him.
Lezhnev recently entered The Rage for a one-on-one interview about this Saturday’s title fight:
Andrey, tell us how you got your nickname.
AL: “I got my nickname. “Iron,” back in the days when I started my career. I took park in a free fight competition with many other strong athletes with different martial arts background like boxing, wrestling, judo or Muay Thai. I had a lot of difficult fights and after the fights many of my opponents called me, “Iron”. My friends and teammates started calling me that and later my coach put this nickname into a form before a fight and it became official.”
You absolutely justify your nickname. You are really Iron, nobody ever made you tap and you have only been knocked out once. It is almost impossible to finish you. Is it because of your fighting skills or because of your character?
AL: “It is undoubtedly a combination of skills and character. Your skills help you not to get into a situation, where your character won’t help you, because if you are caught in a position in which you cannot escape, and your opponent makes a submission, you either tap or get injured. In such case your character can only make it worse. On the other hand, there are many situations when athletes tap out way too early, when they still had a chance to escape, but got scared, and character would help them in this case”
You are a well-rounded fighter with almost equal number of submissions and knockouts in your record. What part of the fight do you like the most?
AL: “I love fighting in a dominant style. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stand-up game or grappling, because when your opponent is stronger than you somewhere, it’s getting difficult to enjoy fighting him the way he wants. In general, I enjoy striking more, because fans love seeing brawls and I do my best to make my fans happy.”
We’ve seen Mikhail Korobkov taking Nate Landwehr down, Viktor Kolesnik knocked him down, Khamzat Dalgiev controlled him on the ground, but none of them could defeat him. What is so special about ‘The Train” that keeps him winning and what is the difference between you and his previous opponents?
AL: “Landwehr is a mentally strong fighter. If he is being taken down, he stands up, and even if he gets knocked down, he gets back onto his feet anyway and keeps going forward. This is the way he fights, but one day it will play a cruel joke on him. If you keep missing so many punches, one day you’ll eat a punch which will knock you out.
“All his previous opponents were talented, young prospects, but I’m a bit more experienced than them. I fought many different opponents, have been in different situations and know what to expect from him.”
How important is mental approach in the fight game? How do you get ready for the fight mentally and do you feel any difference before a five-round title fight?
AL: “Mental approach is extremely important. There are many examples when fighters do not show their best, because they are not ready mentally. I would not say I have some features, each athlete has his own way, which suits him better. I feel some sort of aggression before the fight and pump myself up.
“I have been competing in MMA for a long time, so the upcoming fight is just another fight against another opponent for me, nothing special. The only difference is the trophy, aside from that, it’s just another fight.”
Nate Landwehr is quite a trash talker. Despite never insulting his opponents, he talks a lot and makes people talk about him and his fights. Does that affect you in any way?
AL: “Such behavior is nothing special nowadays. Many fighters talk a lot to attract attention, so I’m used to it. If this style suits him, why not? Before each fight opponents talk different things about each other, so there is nothing to surprise me. If does not bother me at all, let him talk what he wants.”