Dissecting M-1 Challenge XXV’s Welterweight Title Tilt: Will M-1’s Reigning Welterweight Champ Make Enomoto’s Debut a Nightmare?

The same night Shamil Zavurov (19-1) successfully defended his welterweight strap in his inaugural outing as Champion, M-1 Global’s 170-pound top dog was invited back into the ring to accept a challenge from the very person who notched the sole defeat on his professional mixed martial arts record. Without hesitation – even with a gleam in his eyes – Zavurov accepted Rashid Magomedov’s request to throw down with a smirk; unfortunately Magomedov had to withdraw due to injury only two weeks from their highly anticipated showdown and was replaced by legitimate prospect, Yasubey Enomoto (6-2). With nothing to lose, the Swiss fighter adds a completely different element of action to the title tilt and his legitimacy as a top-tier fighter should put this fight at near-even odds – but the fans are saying otherwise.

Zavurov’s last outing was a complete domination of American scrapper, Tom Gallicchio in a performance that earned him the evening’s Knock Out of the Night award and confirmed why the Dagestan native is considered one of Europe’s top welterweight fighters.

With Gallicchio barley surviving the first round and expelling nearly every ounce of energy he had, the RussFighters team standout smelt blood as Gallicchio showed serious signs of fatigue as they touched gloves to start the second. Setting up a devastating, fatal right-hand that rocked Gallicchio to the canvas dazed and nearly out, Zavurov mounted a punishing, unstoppable ground-and-pound assault that forced the referee to intervene just past the one minute mark, cementing Zavurov’s position as the gate-keeper in the division’s extremely deep talent pool.

At 27 years old, Enomoto stands as one of the most technically sound welterweight prospects in the world today and is a fan favorite thanks to his electrifying striking and submission skills; his boxing and Muay Thai are second to none and his BJJ makes him a force on the canvas. As the most recent signing to Europe’s leading MMA promotion, M-1 Global, the horizon for this fighter stands to get a whole lot brighter. And it was Enomoto’s legitimacy as a top-contender which earned him the immediate title shot in his M-1 debut.

Training out of the family-run Enomoto Dojo in Zürich, Enomoto continues to improve and evolve as a stand-out fighter. Possessing text book Muay Thai, his striking is sharp, fast and targets with laser-guided precision; the same can be said about his boxing skills. On the mat, his BJJ is slick and fluid, allowing him to transition from submission attempts with seamless accuracy. As a versatile hybridized mixed martial artist, Enomoto has few holes in his game; at this stage, his improvement is tied to his evolution and clocking experience against top-tier competition.

As M-1’s inaugural and reigning welterweight champ, Zavurov has won almost every competition available to him in sound, devastating fashion; a 3-time world champion in Combat Sambo, 2-time champion of the CIS in hand-to-hand combat, winner of international tournaments in wrestling and Wushu Sanda and champion of Dagestan in Wushu Sanda, Zavurov has accumulated more than 50 victories in combat Sambo and 50 victories as an amateur / semi-professional MMA fighter. Flying under the radar of North American fans until recently, Zavurov has amassed a vault of experience. His only defeat came over a year ago via razor-thin split-decision to Rashid Magomedov at the 2009 M-1 Challenge.

Enomoto’s martial arts training began at age 6, taking up Shotokan Karate and then Shaolin Kung Fu at 16. As a student, he took up Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in which he currently holds a purple belt. In 2006, he became the domestic amateur kickboxing champion and the IKBO Thaiboxing World Champion in 2008. His decorated grappling career includes the titles: 1X UGC grappling European Champion, 2X international German BJJ and grappling champion, and 2X Swiss BJJ and grappling champion. He holds a Muay Thai record of 7-2, a boxing record of 1-0, and a BJJ and grappling record of 90-8.

Enomoto made his promotional debut with Sengoku in June 2010, earning a commanding first round TKO victory over veteran Sanae Kikuta; his follow up performance was the entrance into the 2010 Welterweight Grand Prix and he won his opening round fight at Sengoku 14, defeating Kenta Takagi via bulldog choke submission early in round two. In the semi-finals, he was drawn against Taisuke Okuno; after three dominating rounds with Enomoto showcasing superior boxing skills, the judges gave him the unanimous nod and cementing his spot in the finals against Keita Nakamura. At Sengoku: Soul of Fight on December 30, 2010, Enomoto lost in the second round due to a rear naked choke submission, ending his run at the tournament as runner-up.

Although critics have Enomoto pegged as a 3:1 underdog in his bout against Zavurov, their stylistic differences and similarities make this a potentially explosive title fight worthy of Fight of the Night predictions; both fighters aren’t afraid to throw-down in the center of the ring thanks to stellar striking and both are well versed in submissions, with the advantage going to Enomoto. No matter the distance, Zavurov vs. Enomoto is going to be an electrifying collision.

Free LIVE broadcast coverage of M-1 Challenge XXV from St. Petersburg, Russia will be available to viewers worldwide on MMA-Paradise.com 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 MMA-paradise.com & will use this site to continue to bring the latest news from the world of MMA to all our loyal followers.