Amsterdam, Holland — He was one of the biggest breakout stars in MMA in 2008 yet he was conspicuously absent from Team Benelux’s original roster heading into the “M-1 Challenge presented by Affliction” 2009 season opener on Saturday, Feb. 21.
However, Jason Jones was made a late addition to the Benelux team roster by M-1 Challenge matchmakers Patrick de Witte and Apy Ectheld and is set to make the move from middleweight to light heavyweight against Team Finland’s Marcus Vanttinen.
The M-1 Challenge, an international team competition that bills itself as the “World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts,” will hold its season opener near Tacoma, Washington at the Emerald Queen Casino. Tickets are currently available at Ticketmaster.com (search keyword: M-1 Challenge).
The opener will feature three head-to-head matchups for a total of 15 fights with returning champions Russia Imperial Team (formerly known as Russian Red Devil) taking on South Korea in addition to Team USA West’s debut vs. Team Brazil Naja.
The explosive and athletic Jones closed out his breakthrough 2008 campaign by representing Team Holland in the finals of the M-1 Challenge last month and recorded a unanimous decision victory over Team Russian Red Devil’s Dmirty Somoylov.
The Dutch native holds notable wins in his career over the likes of IFL, Bodog, and MFC veteran Emyr Bussade and Lord of the Ring veteran Andrey Rudakov. However, Jones might be best known to U.S. fans for his 2007 victory in King of the Cage against Melvin Costa.
At the time, Costa had created a buzz in the MMA world after a photograph surfaced on the Internet depicting a Swastika tattoo on his lower abdomen. An undefeated 4-0 fighter at the time, Costa refuted accusations that he was a Neo Nazi and instead proclaimed his status as a White Nationalist.
Capitalizing on the controversy, King of the Cage signed a match between Costa and Jones, a fighter of African heritage. Jones ended Costa’s undefeated streak when he submitted Costa with an armbar at 4:18 of round 1. Costa has not fought in a sanctioned MMA bout since the devastating defeat.
Stepping in for Jochim Rijmen, Jones will look to get his 2009 started off right as he hopes to help lead Team Benelux to a victory over Team Finland in its M-1 Challenge debut. But Team Benelux’s reinforcements extend beyond just Jones, as rugged former Team Holland veteran Kamil Uygun is stepping in for the previously announced Raymond Jarman at middleweight.
The revised lineup for the “M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction” 2009 Season Opener is as follows:
Finland vs. Benelux (best of five) –
— Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Juha-Pekka Vainikainen (Finland) vs. Danny van Bergen (Benelux)
— Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg): Janne Tulrinta (Finland) vs. Tommy Depret (Benelux)
— Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Lucio Linhares (Finland) vs. Kamil Uygun (Benelux)
— Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Marcus Vanttinen (Finland) vs. Jason Jones (Benelux)
— Heavyweight (204.7 lbs.-plus/+93 kg): Toni Valtonen (Finland) vs. Sander Duyvis (Benelux)
South Korea vs. The Imperial Team (best of five) –
— Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Dohyung Kim (South Korea) vs. Mikhail Malyutin (Imperial)
— Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg): Myungho Bae (South Korea) vs. Erik Oganov (Imperial)
— Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Hyungyu Lim (South Korea) vs. Dmirty Somoylov (Imperial)
— Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Jae Young Kim (South Korea) vs. Mikhail Zayats (Imperial)
— Heavyweight (204.7 lbs.-plus/+93 kg): Sang Soo Lee (South Korea) vs. Alexey Oleinik (Imperial)
Team USA West vs. Team Brazil Naja (best of five) –
— Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): TBD (USA West) vs. Flavio Roberto Alvaro (Brazil)
— Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg): Dylan Clay (USA West) vs. Eduaro Pamplona (Brazil)
— Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Reggie Orr (USA West) vs. Juliano Cioffi Belgine (Brazil)
— Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Raphael Davis (USA West) vs. Jair Goncalves Junior (Brazil)
— Heavyweight (204.7 lbs.-plus/+93 kg): Carl Seumanutafa (USA West) vs. Jose Edson dos Santos Franca (Brazil)