USA Vs. Finland At M1 Challenge In Kansas City June 5th




Amsterdam, Holland – The fifth edition of the 2009 “M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction” is scheduled to emanate from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, KS on Friday, June 5. The event will be headlined by a challenge bout featuring Team USA East (1-0).

Team USA East will look to retain sole possession of first place in Group C when it takes on Team Finland (1-0). While USA East and Finland both are undefeated, USA East leads by the slimmest of margins as it holds a one fight advantage in the first tie-breaker category of individual fight record.

In addition to the headline challenge fight between USA East and Finland, two additional two matchups between England vs. France and Turkey vs. the World Team, which will be coached by former DREAM middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi, are also scheduled.

This will mark the second time in less than 10 months that the M-1 Challenge has held an event in Kansas City, the home venue of M-1 Global live events president Joe Kelly.

“We packed the Voodoo Lounge this past October, proving that Kansas City is a rising market for MMA,” said Kelly. “It truly was one of the most-attended events in M-1 history. But now with the lure of a total of 15 M-1 Challenge fights, we felt we needed to book an even larger venue. Tickets sales have been very strong and we're looking forward to another big show.”

Team USA East will be taking on a strong Finland team that will include lightweight Niko Puhaka, welterweight Janne Tulirinta, light heavyweight Marcus Vanttinen, heavyweight Toni Valtonen, and middleweight Lucio Linhares, currently the best pound-for-pound fighter in the M-1 Challenge in light of Mikhail Zayats' recent two fight losing streak.

USA East's roster for the event has yet to be finalized but Kelly revealed that jiu-jitsu ace Renato Migliaccio (5-0) has been confirmed as returning as the team's lightweight competitor.

“I'm really excited that the fans will get to see Renato up close and personal, as he's a star in the making,” Kelly said of the Ryan Gracie black belt. “He made his M-1 Challenge debut in March against Yanko Yanev of Bulgaria, who was undefeated at the time. Renato was never in trouble during the bout and submitted Yanev in the first round.”

With tickets priced as low as $25, Kelly believes the M-1 Challenge will be providing MMA fans in the Kansas City area with one of the most affordable entertainment options around.

“In addition to USA East vs. Finland and a rare chance to see former DREAM middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi in person, we're going to have a total of 15 challenge fights consisting of 30 fights from six different countries going head-to-head,” said Kelly. “We're going to be offering fight fans a chance to see at least 15 professional fights with some of the best fighters on the planet for a price as low as $25 per ticket.”

While many fans in the local area will be focused on the Team USA East vs. Finland matchup, Kelly also believes that a best-of-five Group A series between England and France could still the show.

“England stepped up in April and upset Team Japan by a 4-1 score on its home turf in Tokyo,” remarked Kelly. “But France has a very talented roster. As far as light heavyweights go, you're not going to find many in MMA that are as athletic as Christian Mpumbu. He's a very exciting fighter and the word is he'll be taking on Tom Blackledge. Blackledge trains on a regular basis with Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson and a fight against Mpumbu will contend for fight of the night.”

Tickets for the event are currently on sale via all Ticketmaster outlets. To order, call 816-931-3330 or visit For additional event information, including the finalized rosters for all six teams, please visit

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