Featured Post

Thank You, Axl Rotten (And R.I.P.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

'Korean Monster' To Face M-1's Fedor

Courtesy of M-1 Global:

NEW YORK, Dec. 14 -- M-1 Global announced yesterday that Korea's Hong-Man Choi will be the next opponent for the newly formed fight organization's No. 1 rated heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko. At 7-feet, 2-inches tall and 360 pounds, Choi is known as the "Korean Monster."

Emelianenko - long considered the best mixed martial artist pound-for-pound in the world -- will be front and center on the eight-fight Yarennoka card December 31, 2007, in Japan.

But, don't think the New Year's Eve promotion at the Saitama Super Arena near Tokyo is all about bulk. The fight card contains six of the top 10 ranked lightweights in the world, including Hayato Sakurai (#2), Gilbert Melendez (#3), Tatsuya Kawajiri (#4), Shinya Aoki (#5) and Gesiass "JZ" Calvancante (#6).

Make no mistake though, Emelianenko, M-1's star, is the main attraction. He last fought in an MMA show in April 2007 and wanted to get another fight in 2007, his first for M-1 Global.

"In the spirit of working together with all the organizations in Japan, the opponent for Fedor was chosen from the field of the K-1 Grand Prix," said M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox. "Choi is certainly an accomplished striker, but is inexperienced at MMA. However, because of his size and ability, he isn't a fighter to be taken lightly."

Emelianenko had expressed his desire to compete at the end of the year in Japan because of Pride FC's tradition for calendar closing events. M-1 Global, formed in October 2007 by Sibling Sports, has made good on its promise to let its star take on the top fighters in the world, regardless of promotional affiliation. The event is a joint venture by M-1 Global, K-1, DEEP and others.

In Choi, fight fans are witnessing an MMA anomaly because of his size and strength. He is billed as the largest combat sport athlete in the world. The 27-year-old suffers from acromegaly which is a hormonal disorder that results when the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone. He is 1-0 in the sport, winning his lone MMA event with a 16-second knockout. In K-1 he is 12-4 with two of those losses coming against French star Jerome LeBanner. Choi's last K-1 bout was a December 8, 2007, decision loss to LeBanner in the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals.

"He is dangerous, his knees are already almost at the level of my head, he's not human," LeBanner said. "But he's a good guy and I like him, he's very tough, maybe the strongest guy in K-1, and he has hard bones -- when I kicked him, it hurt my leg. I'm sure with more experience, in two years no one will be able to knock him out."

Emelianenko, 31, is 27-1-1 in MMA and is a 10-time Sambo tournament champion, including four World Combat Sambo Championships. He is the former Pride heavyweight champion and became a free agent when the UFC purchased Pride and dissolved the fight organization. Emelianenko signed a two-year contract with M-1 Global. It had been a Pride staple to end each year with a promotion stacked with some of the sport's elite fighters. Many consider this event to be Pride's farewell to its Japanese fan base.

Yarennoka's television broadcast will be carried live in the United States on HDNet.

Yarennoka New Year's Eve Fight Card*

Heavyweight (over 205)
Fedor Emelianenko - Russia (MMA Weekly ranking #1) vs. Hong-Man Choi - Korea

Welterweight (170)
Kazuo Misaki - Japan vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama - Korea

Lightweight (160)
Hayato Sakurai - Japan (MMA Weekly ranking #2) vs. Hidehiko Hasegawa - Japan (DEEP Champion)
Tatsuya Kawajiri - Japan (MMA Weekly ranking #4) vs. Luiz Azeredo - Brazil
Mitsuhiro Ishida - Japan (MMA Weekly ranking #9) vs. Gilbert Melendez - Brazil (MMA weekly ranking #3)
Shinya Aoki - Japan (MMA Weekly ranking #5) vs. Gesiass "JZ" Calvancante - Brazil (MMA Weekly ranking #6)

*Two more fights to be announced

MMAWeekly World MMA Rankings last updated on December 5, 2007

About M-1 Global, LLC

M-1 Global is an International Mixed Martial Arts "MMA" organization dedicated to promoting the sport and its athletes worldwide through cooperation and alliances with other MMA organizations including both regional and televised world championship fights. Sibling Sports, LLC owned by Garlin Holdings Limited and Sibling Theatricals, Inc. is the sole Managing Member of M-1 Global, LLC. Sibling Theatricals is a live-event production company that produces shows from Broadway to Las Vegas and is wholly owned by Sibling Entertainment Group, Inc. For more information about M-1 Global visit http://www.M-1Global.com.