Two Title Fights Head M-1 Challenge XXVI on July 8

Guram Gugenishvilli

Guram Gugenishvilli (photo courtesy of M-1 Global)

M-1 Global on Thursday announced its return to the U.S. market with M-1 Challenge XXVI on July 8. Two title fights headline the fight card.

Georgian Guram Gugenishvili (11-0) puts his heavyweight championship and undefeated record on the line in the main event against American Pat Bennett (4-2). Jose Figueroa (10-4), who recently captured the M-1 Global lightweight title, makes the first defense of his belt when he steps in the ring with German fighter Daniel Weichel (26-7).

“M-1 Global is fully engaged in preparations for this year’s second U.S.-based Challenge event,” said M-1 Global Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan. “The European fighters who participated in the March card enjoyed great success in their North American debuts, setting the bar extremely high for those who coming from overseas in July. This group of fighters are eager to put on exciting performances for the fans.”

Gugenishvili is considered one of the top up-and-coming heavyweight talents, submitting 10 of his 11 opponents. His opponent, Bennett, is a wrestling-based fighter with power in his hands, knocking out his opponent in two of his four victories.

Lightweight champion Jose Figueroa captured the belt at M-1’s debut event on Showtime in a Fight of the Night performance with Artiom Damkovsky. He has a strong ground game that should make for an interesting fight with submission specialist Daniel Weichel.

M-1 Global has yet to announced the venue and location for the July 8 event, although it should be announced shortly, according to promotion officials.