Zavurov vs. Enomoto Marathon of Action Earns M-1 Challenge XXV Fight of the Night Top Honor

Taking a championship bout on short notice, Yasubey Enomoto (6-3), one of the most technically sound welterweight prospects in the world today, brought an incredible fight to Shamil Zavurov (20-1) at M-1 Challenge XXV this past Thursday night. The Swiss phenom added a completely different element of action to the title tilt thanks to textbook Muay Thai and sharp, laser-guided striking but it was his slick and fluid BJJ that put the champ in dangerous situations throughout the bout. Going the full 25 minutes, both fighters earned hard-fought Fight of the Night awards with Zavurov successfully defending his belt with a unanimous decision victory.

With the crowd cheering as both men stood center-ring listening to the referee’s final instructions, Enomoto’s height and reach advantage over Zavurov was clearly evident; with the pair coming out at the bell, the difference was amplified as the champ took to his wide Sambo base and Enomoto stalked in a textbook Thai stance. From the get go, it was Zavurov’s intent to avoid keeping this fight on the feet in favour of working an offensive from the canvass but Enomoto’s use of Eddie Bravo’s mission-control rubber-guard presented new challenges. In top position where Zavurov is known for launching an effective, dominating ground and pound, the champ was confined to working just to simply pass Enomoto’s guard while constantly having to defend smooth and confident submission attempts. Closing out the first, Zavurov knew he was in for a fight.

Zavurov opened the second round finding some holes in Enomoto’s defense, landing a quick combination ending with a solid right hook that had the Swiss fighter smiling after being tagged. However the pair went quickly down to the canvas with Enomoto twisting on a wrenching kimura that had Zavurov on the brink of tapping just past the one minute mark but the champ defended the bout’s most dangerous submission attempt and continued working from his foe’s guard.

The first three rounds were a phenomenal display of strategic offensives with both fighters looking to capitalize on even the slightest of errors; from momentary breakdowns in defense to attacking after a mistimed step, both fighters were poised and effective in their offensive arsenals standing up or on the mat. Entering into the championships rounds, Zavurov held the judges card by one round.

The warriors elected to start the fourth round standing up and very quickly Enomoto proved to be the better tactical striker, landing a front-kick and relentless combinations that had Zavurov hanging on, exhausted and unable to answer for over a minute; scoring a takedown, Zavurov once again went to work from Enomoto’s perfected rubber guard until the Swiss prospect popped back up to his feet, nearly getting hit square on by a left hook that missed by a half inch. Once up, Enomoto fired off a front-kick, left hook combination that Zavurov countered with a looping overhand right and straight left before scoring another takedown. Enomoto once again controlled the action from his back, leaving Zavurov unable to mount his punishing ground and pound assault but winning the round thanks to the takedowns.

Knowing the judges had him down on the scorecards, Enomoto went out guns blazing to submit the champ or knock him out to in the fifth as both men kicked off the deciding round aggressively; Zavurov countered shots with back to back right hooks of his own before nailing another takedown, where he worked from guard until being stood up by the ref with one minute to go. Planting another takedown on Enomoto, both fighters landed relentless shots to the body and head to close out a momentous championship battle.

In a great showing at his M-1 debut, Enomoto gave it is all in a bout which ended with the three wise men sitting ringside giving the unanimous decision to the reining Welterweight Champion, Shamil Zavurov.

Zavurov captured the belt with a systematic demolition of Spanish Catalan Abner Lloveras in December of last year and followed this up with a complete domination of American scrapper, Tom Gallicchio in March; a performance that also earned him the evening’s Knock Out of the Night award and confirmed why the Dagestan native is the gatekeeper in M-1’s talent-rich pool of welterweight fighters.

Although critics had Enomoto pegged as a 3:1 underdog in his bout against Zavurov, their stylistic differences and similarities made this an explosive, entertaining title fight that delivered on its Fight of the Night predictions; both fighters weren’t afraid to throw-down and the submission attempts had fans gasping.

Now a topic in North American forums, Zavurov’s only defeat came over a year ago via razor-thin split-decision to Rashid Magomedov at the 2009 M-1 Challenge; Zavurov vs. Magomedov 2 is certainly on the horizon but don’t be surprised if Enomoto gets an immediate rematch with ample preparation time.

Europe’s leading mixed martial arts promotion’s next scheduled M-1 Challenge event marks their second card held in the United States. M-1 Challenge XXVI goes down Friday July 8th and is headlined with two title fights; undefeated Georgian powerhouse, Guram Gugenishvili (11-0) puts his heavyweight title on the line against decorated American wrestler, Pat Bennett (4-2) while Lightweight Champion, Jose Figueroa (10-4) makes his first title defense against top-contender, Daniel Weichel (26-7).

With M-1 Challenge champions established in all five weight classes, a true contenders system will fuel events throughout 2011, driving M-1 Global’s growth as a leading brand in the US and international markets.

2011’s full slate of M-1 Challenge events held in the United States and Europe are primed to be mega-event spectaculars where Champions defend their titles and contenders jockey for position for a coveted shot at the gold. Feeding the contention system will be two Selection tournaments in 2011 with details being announced shortly.

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.