Best MMA team title remains in Russia

Team Legion has been crowned the 2009 M-1 Challenge World Champions – the second consecutive for a Russian outfit. The local heroes swept team USA East 5-0 in Russia's Northern Capital to successfully defend their crown.

16 teams went for the best MMA team title, but there’s only room for two in the final.

Russia’s Legion versus USA East – those were the 10 fighters who survived for the M-1 Challenge decider.

What could be a better reason to show your very best than knowing you’re being watched by the man regarded as the greatest in the sport – it was the Russian fighters who got their compatriot Fedor Emelianenko’s support.

And it worked perfectly. The first bout saw the teams’ lightest fighters Yury Ivlev and Ivan Jorge in action. The Russian settled scores in style, knocking his opponent out early in the second round.

Magomed Shikhshabekov and Gerson dos Santos were next to get in the ring. At first, it looked a bit more evenly match, but the Russian managed to suddenly finish the fight via an arm bar submission.

”He’s a tough opponent. I’ve seen a lot of his fights. He’s physically stronger than me, and I realized that. So I had to be smarter and more skillful. And I really was,” Shikhshabekov said after the fight.

That’s how it became 2:0, meaning Legion only needed one more win to claim the precious title.
And Danillo Pereira failed to stop Ansar Chalangov from fulfilling the mission.

“It was all up to me and I knew that. My win eliminated their last chance, while if I had lost, it may have inspired them. So I felt some pressure, but thank God, I overcame it and did what I had to do,” said Chalangov.

So with the champs already decided, there were still a couple of bouts left to entertain the crowd. Legion’s Besiki Gerenava probably faced the toughest opponent on the night. Height and size were Chuck Grigsby’s advantage over the Russian, whose mental strength and will, however, gave him the edge in the end. Though it was a split decision.

A corner stoppage in the fifth fight set the final score at 5:0.

The way Legion won the M-1 Global title was enough to impress even the Last Emperor of mixed martial arts.

”It was a bit stressful for me to watch our guys fight. I supported each of them wholeheartedly. On the other hand, I enjoyed seeing the way they think and act in the ring. It was very interesting,” stressed Fedor.