‘The People’s Champ’ Earns Fight of the Night Honors in a Golden Performance at M-1 Challenge: Damkovsky vs. Figueroa

The monstrous 2010 M-1 Selection Americas lightweight tournament winner, Jose ‘The People’s Champ’ Figueroa seized his opportunity headlining M-1 Global’s debut event on SHOWTIME this past Friday night against Artiom Damkovsky and came away with a statement-making victory to become Europe’s leading mixed martial arts promotion’s new Lightweight Champion, capturing the championship belt and the card’s Fight of the Night top honour.

Considered the favourite heading into the bout, the highly touted American Top Team fighter wasted no time after touching gloves to open the contest and immediately went to work, effectively utilizing his reach advantage with crisp jabs as Damkovsky countered with high kicks that couldn’t land. Early inside the first round, it was clearly evident that Figueroa was the much bigger and stronger fighter as he powered around the canvass while Damkovsky struggled to stay out the American’s massive reach. After a brief jostle, Figueroa landed an outside leg kick that echoed throughout the arena and left Damkovsky’s leg with an immediate welt. With a relentless follow up, Figueroa rocked Damkovsky with a shot that spit up his nose and then drove a text-book takedown; working from the current champ’s guard into full mount, ‘The People’s Champ’ showed overwhelming control as he posted up and rained down heavy strikes, punishing Damkovsky and leaving him battered and bloodied to close out an explosive first round.

With blood spewing from his nose, Damkovsky delayed as long as he could in order to wipe his eyes clean before having to answer the bell for the second frame; a well-timed tactic which enabled him to come out and catch Figueroa off guard. Unfazed with the tags, Figueroa continued where he left off, countering Damkovsky’s leg kicks and setting up a phenomenal slam to secure an advantageous top position where he unleashed piston-pumping strikes to his opponent’s face that was drenched in blood, spattering a halo around his head’s imprint on the canvass. With Damkovsky’s defense destroyed and unable to escape the storm of shots, the referee in charge intervened to halt the one-sided beating at 2:28 of round two, making Damkovsky’s first title defense a miserable experience.

Stripping Damkovsky of his belt in commanding fashion on M-1’s SHOWTIME debut, Figueroa will have his hands full in defending his title as he is likely to face German submission specialist, Daniel Weichel or undefeated Russian striking sensation, Alexander ‘The Tiger’ Sarnavskiy – an incredibly tough undertaking for the ATT fighter’s first title defense.

M-1 Global is now in full-swing preparation for its third mega-event of 2011 scheduled for Thursday April 28th from the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Current Welterweight Champion, Shamil Zavurov looks to avenge his record’s sole blemish in the headline bout at M-1 Challenge XXV: Zavurov vs. Magomedov II. Free LIVE broadcast coverage of the entire event will be available to viewers worldwide on MMA-Paradise.com starting at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST.

About William Smith

After watching the first Ultimate Fighting Championship I became instantly hooked. I've been a huge fan of the sport of MMA ever since. Haven't missed a UFC event & thanks to fight pass I've witnessed some of the all time greatest fighter & athletes the sport through Pride, Strikeforce, WEC, Glory, Pacrase, EliteXC.............. I resently joined MMA-paradise.com & will use this site to continue to bring the latest news from the world of MMA to all our loyal followers.