M-1 Challenge 80 Kharitonov Sokoudjou
M-1 Challenge 80: Battle in the Celestial Empire 2 - Credit: M-1 Global

Russian MMA veteran Sergei Kharitonov made quick work of fellow PRIDE alum Sokoudjou when he knocked out his opponent in devastating fashion within the first minute of Thursday’s main event at M-1 Challenge 80.

M-1 Challenge 80: Battle in the Celestial Empire 2 took place on Thursday, June 15 at the Harbin International Conference Exhibition Sports Center in Harbin, Heilongjiang, China and marked M-1 Global’s return to the country after the first Celestial Empire instalment in Beijing.

Kharitonov (25-6), who has recently been fighting under the Bellator banner, came flying out the traps and landed heavy punches on Sokoudjou (18-18). “The African Assassin” couldn’t get anything going after he landed a stiff uppercut as Kharitonov’s heavy pressure paid off when he landed a combination of a left jab followed by a straight right which collapsed Sokoudjou. The Russian rained down punches on his unconscious opponent giving him the convincing victory as the referee called a stop to the action only 38 seconds into the first round.

“The Paratrooper” has now won seven of his last eight bouts and calls for him to receive an oppertunity to fight for Bellator’s vacant Heavyweight title has increased. A potential fight with the promotion’s newest marquee signing Roy Nelson is highly touted although a fight against the winner of Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione must also appeal to the grizzled veteran.

Meanwhile, Sokoudjou’s career continues to go from bad to worse as he drops to an 18-18 record and has lost six of his last eight fights.

Buchinger retains featherweight title with hard-fought submission win

M-1 Global featherweight champion Ivan Buchinger was forced to work hard to retain his title by top Russian prospect Timur Nagibin in a back-and-forth title clash that seen Buchinger win with a rear-naked choke in the fourth round.

The challenger posed Buchinger problems in the first stanza as he worked behind a stiff jab and kep the champion at distance. Despite a takedown from the Slovakian, Nagibin would end the round in top position and would also have the better of the second round as he defended the submission attempts of Buchinger whilst holding top position for the majority of the round.

With Nagibin showing signs of fatigue at the start of round three, Buchinger would work his way back into the fight, peppering the 24-year old with shots on the feet before taking the fight to the ground. Buchinger would land heavy strikes from half guard before taking the back of Nagibin and looking for the rear-naked choke.

Although he held on until the next round, it was a sign of things to come for the young Russian who started the next round well but would fall foul of his far more experienced opponent as time passed. An attempted scramble to a leglock saw the champion take the back once more and sink in a tight rear-naked choke which rendered Nagibin out cold before the referee stopped the fight. The win gives Buchinger eleven wins from twelve since his loss to Conor McGregor at Cage Warriors 51.

Also on the card, former TUF competitor Sascha Sharma defeated talented Chinese fighter Musu Nuertiebieke, who was representing Chinese promotion WKG, via a rear-naked choke in the second round of their featherweight contest.

Elsewhere, underrated Brazilian Carlos Eduardo handed promising light-heavyweight Rene Hoppe his first loss. Eduardo opened up a horrific cut on the lip of the German causing the doctor to stop the fight in the opening round.

M-1 Challenge 80 Results

Heavyweight Main Event: Sergei Kharitonov def. Remeau Sokoudjou via KO (Punches) (Round 1 – 0:38)

Featherweight Title Bout: Ivan Buchinger def. Timur Nagibin via Submission (Rear-naked choke) (Round 4 – 3:24)

Featherweight Bout: Sascha Sharma def. Musu Nuertiebieke via Submission (Rear-naked choke) (Round 2 – 1:03)

Welterweight Bout: Alexander Butenko and Corey Nelson ends in a Draw (Majority)

Featherweight Bout: Mikhail Korobkov def. Asikerbai Jinensibieke via Submission (Rear-naked choke) (Round 1 – 1:18)

Light-Heavyweight Bout: Carlos Eduardo def. Rene Hoppe via TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) (Round 1 – 1:06)

Middleweight Bout: Artem Kazbanov def. Nosherwan Khanzada via Decision (Unanimous)

Bantamweight Bout: Ibragim Navruzov def. Huoyixibai Chuhayifu via Decision (Split)

Welterweight Bout: Kurbanjiang Tuluosibake def. Maksim Melnik via Decision (Unanimous)

Lightweight Bout: Adam Tsurov def. Kang Kang Fu via Decision (Unanimous)