Pat Bennett Aiming to Halt Guram’s Hype-Train at M-1 Challenge XXVI

Standing on the brink of greatness, ready to cement himself as a crowd-shocking phenomenon at M-1 Challenge XXVI, decorated American wrestler, Pat Bennett will stand opposite monster Georgian powerhouse and reigning Heavyweight Champion, Guram Gugenishvili on July 8th; dethroning Guram in the evening’s main event would catapult Bennett on to the radar of MMA fans around the world.

But there is a reason why Guram stands as the sports #1-ranked heavyweight prospect and the New Jersey native and Team Bombsquad fighter needs to deliver a career performance to make his championship dream a reality. Any mistakes and Bennett will be put to sleep and thrown into the deep list of those who have previously fallen in Guram’s devastating wake

Bennett sports an established 7-2 combined amateur and professional mixed martial arts record heavily weighted in the ‘win’ column with five first-round TKO’s. Although known for his proud wrestling pedigree, Bennett has thus proven he is a multidimensional fighter able to transition his skills to whatever is set in front of him; he’ll need his full arsenal in the face of Guram and isn’t shying away from the champ in any respect. “It’s no surprise that Guram is rated as high as he is. On one side he hasn’t gone more than 10 minutes, on the other side there is a reason for that. However my camp and I are very dedicated to bringing home the belt and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish this task. As far as Guram is concerned, I hope he packs a lunch because July 8th is going to be a long day.”

As a key member of the Team Bombsquad contingent, Bennett’s manager, Ryan Ciotoli, has nothing but praise for the heavyweight’s performances to date. “Pat’s a three time All-American wrestler, so he possesses a great base and he’s an electrifying striker; hence the reason for his five first round wins. I definitely consider Bennett to be the top contender in the heavyweight division.”

Bennett had recently set his wrestling on the back burner in favour of striking throughout his 2010 M-1 Selection Americas tournament run, displaying a wide array of talents. Opening up the brackets against Nick Smiley, the mild-mannered monster needed a total of 37 seconds to destroy Smiley by TKO and leave him in the ring busted and bloodied. His semi-final bout was a marathon war with Mehdi Hassan where he earned a unanimous decision victory. The run was halted in the finals however as Bennett fell victim to Kenny ‘Deuce’ Garner’s lead left hook; unable to answer Garner’s striking, Bennett notched the second loss of his career via TKO at the midway point of the opening frame.

Bennett’s first trip to M-1’s larger, international stage was in December at M-1 Challenge XXII where he faced Alexander Volkov; the staunch American went back to his decorated base with a game plan to exploit the stylistic mismatch; defend the striking, set-up takedowns and demolish Volkov on the ground. Bennett did exactly this for four full rounds with precision execution. Although the initial decision was shrouded in controversy, an independent panel of judges rightfully scored the bout in Bennett’s favour.

The heavyweight title fight against Guram will likely send Bennett back to his fundamental and highly decorated base. “I’m a dominant wrestler and seemed to have gotten away from what I do best,” says Bennett. “I’ve watched Guram’s videos. I know a lot about him and his weaknesses. Stylistically this is a great match-up and I know what I have to do to be successful.”

At 6’ 3”, 240 pounds, Bennett has heavy hands that deliver unforgiving power; if he connects with his overhand right, there is a real possibility to see Guram fall. But Bennett will have to successfully defend takedown attempts and push the pace as he sees fit while being cautiously aware of Guram’s strength. These monsters matchup extremely well: both possesses strong wrestling bases, are incredibly strong and are mirror images physically, the only difference in their builds is a two-inch height advantage and 10 pounds in favour of the champ.

With the American crowd in his corner on July 8th, Bennett controls his own destiny as the underdog in the biggest fight of his career, intent to dethrone the world’s #1 ranked heavyweight prospect and build some much deserved clout of his own. “First and foremost it is always a pleasure to fight under the M-1 banner and I can’t wait for this fight. This opportunity means the world to me and my family on so many levels and I take my career very seriously.”

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…………..

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