M-1 Global (www.M-1Global.com) officials announced on Thursday the birth of its new premium fight series, “M-1 Breakthrough.” Officially titled “M-1 Global Presents Breakthrough,” the first event has been scheduled for Friday, Aug. 28 and will be held in conjunction with the IMMAE (www.IMMAE.tv) in Los Angeles, Calif. at the Convention Center.
The event will be televised live on HDNet and headlined by MMA legend and former UFC champion Don “The Predator” Frye (20-7-1) taking on former NCAA champion “King” Mo Lawal (4-0) and devastating French striking phenom Karl “Psycho” Amoussou (10-2-1) going against former BodogFIGHT welterweight champion Nick “The Goat” Thompson (38-11-1).
M-1, which also produces and promotes the M-1 Challenge and M-1 Selection fight series, will promote its first-ever major show televised live in the United States with “Breakthrough.” In addition to the two co-main events, five other fights showcasing the best and brightest of the M-1 Challenge will also air on HDNet.
“The title ‘Breakthrough’ represents M-1 Global’s ongoing quest to expose new talent to different International markets,” said Joost Raimond, Chief Operating Officer of M-1 Global. “With this event, we are proud that we are able to bring fight fans the U.S. debuts of both Mo Lawal and Karl Amoussou.”
In addition to being a former NCAA Division II amateur wrestling champion, Lawal was also a Division I All-American at Oklahoma State University, a powerhouse that has produced the likes of former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion Randy Couture, current UFC middleweight Jake Rosholt, former NCAA champion and current UFC light heavyweight Mark Munoz, and three-time NCAA champion and current UFC welterweight Johny Hendricks.
A 2008 hopeful for the U.S. Olympic team, Lawal made his professional mixed martial arts debut in Tokyo, Japan on Sept. 28, 2009 and defeated former YAMMA heavyweight champion Travis Wiuff via TKO in just 2:11. He has fought three more times in Japan under the Sengoku banner and has posted wins over Fabio Silva, Yukiya Naito, and Ryo Kawamura. On Aug. 28 in LA at “M-1 Global Presents Breakthrough,” he will be facing his biggest test to date in Frye.
Frye, a sure-fire MMA Hall of Famer who has a role in the summer blockbuster Public Enemies, is considered one of the most prolific fighters ever to compete in MMA. He made his pro debut in 1996 at UFC 8, where he recorded what to this day is still tied for the fastest victory in UFC history following his eight second knockout of Thomas Ramirez.
A winner of both the UFC 8 and Ultimate Ultimate 96 tournaments, Frye holds notable wins over in his career against UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock, Gary Goodridge, Gilbert Yvel, and street fighting pioneer Tank Abbott. His most recent win took place on May 2 in Lubbock, Texas following his first round submission of Ritch Moss.
The Lawal vs. Frye showdown at “M-1 Breakthrough” will serve also serve battle of Oklahoma State alumni. Before entering MMA, Frye was a standout wrestler in college, originally competing at Arizona State and later transferring to OSU. In addition to his wrestling experience, he also holds a second degree black belt in Judo and has competed as a professional boxer.
“M-1 Breakthrough” will also mark Amoussou’s first-ever appearance in the U.S. The younger brother of former PRIDE competitor Bertrand Amoussou, the 23-year has a well-earned reputation for being one of the middleweight division’s most dangerous fighters. Featured in 2008 as a staple of the M-1 Challenge on HDNet, Amoussou’s charisma and highlight-reel knockouts recently earned him the honor of being named as Sherdog’s number one rated European MMA prospect.
“Aug. 28 at M-1 Breakthrough will be Amoussou’s coming out party,” stated M-1 Global V.P. of Talent Relations Apy Echteld. “He’s a well-known commodity with hardcore fans but has been a well-kept secret from the mainstream for too long. A lot of well-known middleweights were afraid to accept this fight but Nick Thompson was confident enough in his own abilities to step up and move from welterweight.”
In addition to being the former BodogFIGHT welterweight champion, Thompson, a fighter who doubles as a licensed attorney in the state of Minnesota, has also competed for the UFC and EliteXC. A standout wrestler that has become a respected boxer while training out of the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, Thompson holds notable wins in his career over current Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, former EliteXC star Paul Daley, current UFC welterweight Chris Wilson, and current UFC lightweight Josh Neer.