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By Mike Johnson on 5/27/2017 1:37 PM


Damir Ismagulov stops Maxim Divnich to become new

M-1 Challenge Lightweight Champion


New M-1 Challenge Lightweight Champion Damir Ismagulov


Additional photos are available at:


ORENBURG, Russia (May 27, 2017) - A new M-1 Challenge lightweight champion was crowned last night as Damir Ismagulov knocked out former champion Maxim Divnich at the end of the fifth and final championship round in the M-1 Challenge 78 main event at Orenburg, Russia.


M-1 Challenge 78 was a true international event with fighters representing eight different countries: Russia, Brazil, Belarus, USA, UK, Sweden, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.


Ismagulov (11-2-0, M-1: 7-1-0), fighting out of Russia by way of Kazakhstan, fought Divnich (13-3-0, M-1: 7-3-0) at home, in Orenburg, for the vacant M-1 Challenge lightweight title, where Divnich had lost his title belt in 2015.


The title fight commenced with a "feeling-out process" of simple exchanges of blows with Ismagulov working more with his feet, and the round ended with the hometown favorite holding a slight advantage.


Ismagulov, however, dominated the next three rounds and Divnich, whose severely damaged, bloody face showed the ill effects of Ismagulov's continued assault, was unable to turn things around in the fifth. As the finished neared, Ismagulov failed to submit his game opponent until a barrage of unanswered punched rained on a defenseless Divnich. The referee halted the action with 13-seconds remaining on the clock for a hard-fought Ismagoulov win by technical knockout.


After the fight 5,000 fans celebrated, roaring their approval for Ismagulov, who said: "I'm from the Orenburg region. I won the belt! Thanks for coming. I want to thank the MMA Orenburg, my coach, Victor Frolov, who saw me as a talent, and Alexander Shlemenko for believing in me. I thank my coaches, my family, and our fans.


"I've proved that a simple guy from a small village without the Internet can become champion. If I can, you can. The belt in Orenburg, where it should be."


Russian light heavyweight Mikhail Ragozin (8-2-0, M-1: 2-0-0) stopped Alan Bispo De Santana (5-2-0, M-1 0-1-0), of Brazil, via punches late in the third round.


Brazilian middleweight Caio "Hellboy" Magalhaes (10-3-0, M-1: 1-0-0) turned in an impressive M-1 debut, using a rear-naked choke hold to submit Dmitry Voitov (15-7-0, M-1: 4-2-0), of Belarus, in the opening frame.


American welterweight Keith "The One" Johnson (12-3-0, M-1: 1-0-0) made an auspicious M-1 debut, also using a rear-naked choke to submit his opponent, former M-1 Challenge welterweight title challenger Maksim Grabovich (5-3-0, M-1: 4-3-0), of Russia, late in the third round.


Russian bantamweight Vadim "Bad Santa" Malygin (9-2-1, M-1: 2-1-1) won a three-round unanimous decision over veteran Brazilian fighter, Fabricio "Bill" Sarraff (23-10-0, M-1: 0-2-0).


In preliminary card action, Ukrainian bantamweight Alexksander Doskalchuk (7-1-0, M-1: 0-1-0) and Brazilian lightweight Rubenilton "Rubinho" Pereira (17-5-0, M-1: 1-2-0) were three-round majority decision winners, respectively, over Swede Son Le "Buddha" Binh (5-2-0, M-1: 1-1-0) and Orozbek "Nomad" Maripov (5-2-0, M-1: 0-1-0), of Kyrgyzstan; pro-debuting Russian lightweight Roman Bogatov (1-0-0, M-1: 1-0-0) used a bravo choke to submit Brit Richard "Rico" Franco (2-2-0, M-1: 0-1-0) in the first round, Russian featherweight Vitali Tverdokhlebov (4-3-0, M-1: 1-0-0) punched out Ukrainian Oleg Mikhailov (0-3-0 (M-1: 0-1-0) in round two, and Salem Evloev (1-0-0, M-1: 1-0-0) took a three-round unanimous decision from Alexey Dubrovny (0-1-0, M-1: 0-1-0) in a pro-debut battle of Russian bantamweights.


Official results below:







Damir Ismagulov (11-2-0, M-1: 7-1-0), Russia by way of Kazakhstan

WTKO5 (4:47 - punches)

Maxim Divnich (13-3-0, M-1: 7-3-0)

(Ismagulov won vacant M-1 Challenge lightweight title)



Mikhail Ragozin (8-2-0, M-1: 1-0-0-), Russia

WTKO3 (4:32 - punches)

Alan Bispo De Santana (5-2-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Brazil



Caio Magalhaes (10-3-0, M-1: 1-0-0), Brazil

WSUB1 (1:16 - rear-naked choke)

Dmitry Voitov (15-7-0, M-1: 3-3-0) Belarus



Keith Johnson (12-3-0, M-1: 1-0-0), USA

WSUB3 (4:22 - rear-naked choke)

Maksim Grabovich (5-4-0, M-1: 4-3-0), Russia



Vadim Malygin (9-2-1, M-1: 2-1-1), Russia


Fabricio Sarraff (23-10-0, M-1: 0-2-0), Brazil





Roman Bogatov (1-0-0, M-1: 1-0-0), Russia

WSUB1 (4:52 - bravo choke)

Ricardo Franco (2-2-0, M-1: 0-1-0-), England


Rubenilton Pereira (17-5-0, M-1: 1-2-0), Brazil


Orozbek Maripov (5-2-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Kyrgyzstan



Aleksander Doskalchuk (7-1-0, M-1: 1-0-0)


Son Le Binh (5-2-0, M-1: 1-1-0,), Sweden


Salem Evloev (1-0-0, M-1: 1-0-0), Russia


Alexey Dubrovsky (0-1-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Russia



Vitali Tverdokhlebov (5-2-0, M-1: 1-0-0), Russia

WTKO2 (punches)

Oleg Mikhailov (0-3-0, M-1: 0-1-0), Ukraine





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