M-1 Global’s Deep Lightweight Pool Is Set For Shaking at M-1 Challenge XXIII: Weichel and Khasbulaev Jockey for Position

Daniel Weichel capitalized on his opportunity at M-1 Challenge XXI this past October and earned himself a new 6-fight exclusive contract with Europe’s leading promotion, M-1 Global. Weichel’s first bout of the new deal comes at M-1 Challenge XXIII as he’ll face the talented Rusfighters prospect Magomedrasul Khasbulaev. Their battle at the Crocus City Arena in Moscow, Russia will have significant contention implications and can be caught LIVE online for free on MMA-Paradise.com, starting at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST on Saturday March 5th.

Taking his last fight against notable Legion Fight Team striker, Yuri Ivlev, on short notice, Weichel stepped into the spotlight of an already showcased bout and made it an even larger focal point. Weichel seized victory fighting in front of a packed arena and made an impression with the M-1 Global brass that was strong enough to secure the deal. “Weichel’s domination of Ivlev was talked about for weeks after the event,” touted M-1 Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan. “These are the types of fighters we want to secure within our organization – fighters with heart, talent and relentless desire to give it their all. Weichel possesses all these traits and we’re excited to have him under the M-1 banner long-term.”

At 26 years old, Weichel has been fighting professionally since 2002, racked up an impressive 25-7 record and has won seven of his last eight tilts. North Americans fans are quick to recognize him thanks to bouts versus Thiago Tavares, Dan Hardy and Paul Daley. With experience that has been hard-fought and earned through international passage with organizations including Shooto, King of the Cage, Cage Warriors and the UFC, one of his most notable victories comes against Dennis Siver, who has been enjoying some recent success in the UFC.

Weichel’s made it clear he prefers to avoid the judges’ scorecards in favour of finishing fights in exciting fashion; he possesses incredible athleticism and dexterity and an innate ability to scoop the single or double leg takedown effortlessly as a precursor to a submission. Should Weichel end up in full mount or side control, expect to see contusion-causing knees to the body and a devastating ground-and-pound that will fire holes through even the most steadfast defence. If the fight stays up, he’ll aim to tag Khasbulaev from every angle and unleash skull-cracking knees at will.

Facing Weichel from the opposite corner is 2010 M-1 Selection tournament finalist, Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, who has been following the path of many talented European fighters as of late and making the move to a lighter weight class. Known for his battles as welterweight, Khasbulaev is making a run at a new roster of opponents as a 155’er and is quickly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with while building on his commendable 16-4 record. His bout against Weichel marks the biggest test in his career.

Since losing to current M-1 Challenge welterweight champ Shamil Zavurov in the Selection tournament finals this past summer, Khasbulaev has done his RusFighters team proud by going on a tear, decisively winning five of his last six fights inside the first round; the one loss coming by way of a disappointing submission to the imposing Ivan Buchinger.

Although known more for his submission skills, Khasbulaev has recently been showcasing some new-found hand speed and stand-up striking, delivering two electrifying TKO performances over Jaroslav Franchuk and Jakub Tangiev, proof that the Russian fighter is continually evolving his skills.

Khasbulaev’s run through the 2010 M-1 Selection tournament was highly impressive, defeating Rashid Magomedov with patience, composure and confidence while defending submissions and securing takedowns in order to inflict constant damage to his opponent. Khasbulaev scored enough points in the eyes of the judges to eek out the split-decision and advance to the semi-finals.

Entering the final-four round on the shoulders of an impressive win streak, Khasbulaev quickly disposed of alternate contestant, Radik Iboyan, with a joint-jacking armbar submission. With Iboyan’s tap, Khasbulaev found himself headed to the finals to fight his Rusfighters teammate, Shamil Zavurov, for the tournament’s welterweight crown. Unfortunately his quest came to an abrupt halt inside the opening frame as Zavurov sunk in a suffocating rear-naked-choke.

With the drop to 155, Khasbulaev is now facing opponents much closer in physical comparison and has been enjoying great success with the new-found speed that’s emerged from shedding 15 pounds. Ready to make a charge at the M-1 Challenge lightweight title, his tilt against Weichel marks a massive step-up in the level of competition and a win will certainly shoot him up several rungs on the contention ladder. He has the striking and speed to compete against Weichel but the German certainly has the advantage standing up. Should the pair venture the canvas, the match is up for grabs as both men are equally impressive from the ground.

With the bout being a coin-flip and whether the match stays standing or goes to the ground, fans can expect a highly entertaining battle between two electrifying lightweight contenders.

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.