Breaking Down M-1 Challenge XXV’s Light Heavyweight Showdown: ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ Finalist Meets The ‘M-1 Fighter’

Decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, Vinny ‘Pezao’ Magalhaes (7-5) has been a tear as of late, winning three in a row and having his arm raised in five out of his six last outings. With a commanding TKO victory over undefeated Jake Doerr on M-1’s recent Showtime debut, the slick submission specialist now finds himself standing on the brink of becoming Europe’s leading mixed martial arts promotion’s light heavyweight champion – all that is standing between him and his dream is Russia’s own stealth submissionist, Viktor Nemkov (10-2).

The 24 year old, Nemkov trains at the Red Devil Sport Club, the facility and team in St. Petersburg, Russia linked to many MMA greats including Fedor Emelianenko. This sturdy Russian submission specialist who boasts a respectable 10-2 record made his professional debut against Christian Bombay and came away with a triangle choke victory early in the first round. Nemkov maintained perfection until facing the vastly experienced Tony Lopez who handed the Russian his first taste of defeat with a bout-ending rear naked choke in the second round. Nemkov’s only other loss was a razor-thin split decision to Khanilav Khanilaev at the M-1 Challenge 2009 Finals. Since then Nemkov has bounced back with a trilogy of hard fought wins that have landed him title contention.

A recognizable figure to the North American fan base, Magalhaes was part of the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter where he went on to defeat Lance Evans, Jules Bruchez and Krzysztof Soszynski, advancing to the TUF finals against Ryan Bader where he lost by TKO.

In 2010 Nemkov was crowned the winner of Russia’s first-ever MMA reality show “M-1 Fighter” with spectacular wins in the semi-finals over Artur Kortchemnyi, and in the finals against promising Ukrainian prospect Vasily Klepikov. The exposure also garnered him scouting attention from the W.W.E. who had been on tour in Russia throughout the summer and was reportedly interested in signing him as a professional wrestler.

Determined to prove himself as a dominant, well-rounded fighter, Magalhaes showcased his evolution with a dominant TKO performance over undefeated Jake Doerr in his last bout, ample evidence that the world-class BJJ expert is well on his way to becoming an MMA superstar. In his first outing with M-1 Global this past December, Magalhaes executed an impressive inverted triangle submission for the victory over Alihan Magomedov, an excellent performance to mark his return to the ring after being sidelined for the better portion of 2010 while rehabbing from knee surgery.

Currently training and teaching at the TapouT Training Center in Las Vegas, Magalhaes is dedicated to evolving his skills in Wrestling, Muay Thai and Boxing; with a versatile arsenal, Magalhaes has every opportunity to become one of the world’s best light heavyweight fighters and is ready to cement himself as the king of M-1 Global’s 205-pound division, Magalhaes is making preparations for the trip overseas where he intends to seize an unprecedented victory over the extremely competitive Nemkov.

Nemkov shares distinct similarities with Magalhaes; both fighters possess a potent submission arsenal, both have spent time as cast-mates on their respective countries highly successful mixed martial arts reality television series, both are riding current three fight win streaks and both are victorious in five of their last six outings. Coincidence rarely – if ever – matches two fighters up with this type of story line that culminates with one of these men walking away as M-1 Global’s Light Heavyweight Champion.

With a solid Combat Sambo foundation, Nemkov’s skills were awarded with a Bronze medal at the 2008 and 2009 Russian Combat Sambo championships in the 90 kg weight category; entering the tournament again this year, he captured gold to become the 2011 National Combat Sambo champion and will represent his country at the World Championships as Russia’s reigning national champ in the near future.

Nemkov slides into a formidable position to claim the 205 pound strap. A proven warrior who has flown quietly under the radar while building his record, the Red Devil fighter is riding a momentous three fight streak equal to his decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu foe; even matching five wins in his last six doesn’t sway the general opinion which has marked Nemkov as the underdog headed into this Thursday’s showdown – a perfect setting for a brilliant upset. Fans will be keenly watching this MMA reality-TV sensation to see if he lives up to his hype and becomes a ‘real deal’ champion.

Free LIVE broadcast coverage of M-1 Challenge XXV from St. Petersburg, Russia will be available to viewers worldwide on at 11:00am EST / 8:00am PST on Thursday April 28th.

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 & will use this site to continue to bring the latest news from the world of MMA to all our loyal followers.