Fight Network, the world’s premier 24/7 television channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, presents a live broadcast of M-1 Challenge 54 from Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Fight Network’s live broadcast will air on Cablevision’s Optimum TV, Grande Communications, Shentel Cable and Armstrong Cable in the U.S., nationwide in Canada, Roku devices across North America, and globally in over 30 countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
In the main event, M-1 light heavyweight champion Stephan “T-800” Puetz (11-1) will make his second title defense against unbeaten challenger Valery “The Russian Hammer’ Myasnikov (8-0).
M-1 Global and ACB are co-promoting M-1 Challenge 54 & ACB 12. M-1 Global, which grew out of the League MMA M-1, traces its history back to 1997. It has promoted 180 events including nearly 10,000 fights. Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) burst on the Russian MMA scene earlier this year, highlighted by its Grand Prix that featured more than 100 fighters.
Two unbeaten fighters, Ukrainian Maxim Divnich (9-0) and Russian Djambulat Kurbanov (6-0-1), will clash for the vacant M-1 lightweight title in the co-featured attraction.
Also on the main card, Anatoly Tokov (18-1), of Russia, meets Enoc Solves Torres (15-7), fighting out of Spain, in a middleweight fight, plus American UFC veteran Cody “AK Kid” McKenzie (15-5) takes on Russian welterweight Breslan Isaev (30-7), while Daniel “Agent Orange” Swain (12-4) faces three-time Wushu-Sanda world champion Aliyar Sarkerov (10-4). Finally, Russian welterweights will collide when Ilya Doderkin (4-1) battles Alexey Kunchenko (7-0).
Puetz, fighting out of Munich, Germany, is recognized as one of the top light heavyweight fighters in Europe. He captured the M-1 Challenge title this past March 14 at M-1 Challenge 46, taking a five-round decision from Viktor Nemkov (9-1-0). Puetz’ first title defense was at M-1 Challenge 50 this past August, in which he defeated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Luis Fernando Miranda (10-1-0) by way of a second-round submission (choke).
The 23-year-old Myasnikov, fighting out of Moscow, will be making his M-1 Challenge debut against Puetz. Myasnikov has been a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter for three years and seven of his eight fights have ended in the opening round, six times by knockout. He was a multiple MMA and boxing champion as an amateur and holds the title of Master of Sports in both disciplines.
Divnich is one of the most exciting and promising fighters in Russia. He made his M-1 Challenge debut last year. He has twice been awarded KO of the Night as well as Fight of the Night once. His most impressive performance to date was this past May at M-1 Challenge 48: Battle of Nomads, in which he knocked previously unbeaten Max Coga (7-0-0) in the first-round with a devastating kick that earned him KO of the Night honors.
Kurbanov has had four M-1 fights, winning three with a draw. He is known for his ground attack having forced three of his opponents into submitting. Kurbanov has fully recovered from an eye injury that forced him to withdraw from his scheduled fights against Alexander Butenko on the eve of M-1 Challenge 51: Fightspirit this past September 7.
McKenzie started his professional MMA career with 12 wins in a row with 10 of his opponents defeated in the opening round by a slightly modified version of the guillotine, which McKenzie calls, “The McKenzietine.” In 2010, McKenzie fought in The Ultimate Fighter 12 for Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck. He advanced to the quarterfinals where he lost to Nam Phan. McKenzie earned a spot in the UFC, posting a 3-4 record, and his last UFC fight was a loss by decision to Sam Stout.
Ten-year MMA veteran Isaev has an entertaining, aggressive fighting styles attributed to the top Russians. He has 15 stoppages and 12 submissions, testimony to his ability of winning on his feet or on the mat.
The 23-year-old Swain, who will be making his M-1 Challenge debut Dec. 17, was a standout college wrestler at Canadian University and Douglas College. As a professional fighter, he is a King of the Cage and Pancrase veteran.
St. Petersburg hometown favorite Doderkin is gifted wrestler whose choke-holds have resulted in his four M-1 Challenge victories to date. In his last fight, however, his more experienced opponent, Spaniard Daniel Tabera, emerged with a hard fought win by split decision. Doderkin plans to bounce back strong against another more experienced foe, Kunchenko.
Fight Network’s live broadcast of M-1 Challenge 54 kicks off on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1:30 p.m. ET with the first encore scheduled on Thursday, Dec. 18 in primetime at 9 p.m. ET.
For a full listing of Fight Network’s broadcast schedule, please visit tv.fightnetwork.com and follow on Twitter @fightnet, become a fan on Facebook and visit us on Instagram @fightnet.