TEAM USA WEST vs. BRAZIL SET FOR SECOND EPISODE OF M-1 CHALLENGE THIS FRIDAY AT 8 P.M. ET ON HDNET
The second episode of the 2009 season of the “M-1 Challenge presented by Affliction” (www.M-1Global.com) is set to premiere Friday night at 8 p.m. ET on HDNet (www.HDNetFights.com). And this week’s best-of-five head-to-head series will feature two of the most prominent countries in the world when it comes to the growing global sport of mixed martial arts as USA West squares off with Brazil.
Team USA struggled in the 2008 M-1 Challenge but have become an even bigger part of the fight series that bills itself as “the World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts” with two entries this season, Team USA West and Team USA East.
Founded by owners Steve Bash and Roy Engelbrecht, Team USA West is new and improved in comparison to last year’s entry. Unfortunately, the team’s chances for a playoff berth is less than certain after being placed in a tough Group B that includes South Korea, returning M-1 Challenge Champion Team Imperial, and Brazil.
With such a tight division, every matchup is a must-win situation for USA West. Does the squad have what it takes to defy the odds? Tune in Friday night to see USA West begin its quest to bring the 2009 M-1 Challenge Championship Cup back to America.
Led by head coach Colin Oyama, USA West features a strong lineup that includes welterweight Dylan Clay, middleweight Reggie Orr, heavyweight Carl Seumanutafa, light heavyweight Raphael Davis, and a top contender for M-1 Challenge “Rookie of the Year,” undefeated lightweight David Jansen.
In Friday’s episode, Jansen is welcomed to the M-1 Challenge by former Rio Heroes star Flavio Alvaro. Jansen accepted the fight with Alvaro on short notice after having competed just two weeks prior in Atlantic City, N.J. for the World Cagefighting Alliance.
After submitting BodogFIGHT veteran Matt Lee via Anaconda choke at 3:00 of round 1 at the WCA event, Jansen improved to 8-0. The Team Quest product will look to improve to 9-0 and get Team USA West off to a quick start when he faces Alvaro, a veteran of nearly 30 fights who sports a sterling record of 24-5.
Another must-see fighter is 2008 Submission Wrestling World Champion Raphael Davis, who holds a notable verbal submission victory over TUF 8 light heavyweight runner-up and BJJ World Champion Vinny Magalhaes. The one-time IFL veteran Davis entered his M-1 Challenge debut with a 4-1 record.
With an improving standup game to complement his strong submission skills, Davis has the ability to emerge as the top light heavyweight in the entire M-1 Challenge. But standing in Davis’ way is Jair Goncalves, a rugged Brazilian with a 6-2 record whose victories have all ended within the distance.
In the end, USA West’s hopes could come down to Clay, a Hawaiian native and accomplished jiu jitsu competitor who has only competed in MMA five times since 2003. Matched up against IFL superfight veteran Eduardo Pamplona, many pundits expected Clay to lose early. Can Clay follow Jae Young Kim’s incredible upset over Mikhail Zayats from last week’s episode? Tune into HDNet at 8 p.m. ET to find out.
The night’s action will be rounded out by King of the Cage and TUF 7 veteran Orr taking on Brazil’s Juliano Belgine and Seumanutafa, an EliteXC veteran who made his Strikeforce debut last Friday night, taking on Edson Franca.
And remember to check out the M-1 Challenge live when it comes to the United States on Friday, June 5 at the Memorial Hall in Kansas City. Featuring a best-of-five series between USA East and Finland, the 15-bout event will mark the final time that the M-1 Challenge is scheduled to come to the U.S. this year. For more ticket information, please visit Ticketmaster.com. For additional information regarding the Kansas City event as well as all M-1 Challenge events, please visit www.M-1Global.com.