Amsterdam, Holland – The second event for the 2009 season of the “M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction” is set for Saturday, March 28 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Competing in its home country for the first time, Team Bulgaria is set to headline the six-team, 15-bout event in a best-of-five series against the debuting North America team.
Leading Team Bulgaria into battle will be its most well known mixed martial artist, former Olympic wrestler and ex-UFC veteran Jordan Radev.
After representing Bulgaria in the Olympics, Radev is ecstatic to once again be representing his country during the M-1 Challenge.
“It's a great honor,” Radev began to state. “Bulgarians are very proud when they get the opportunity to defend their country. I fought in Bulgaria before but never in a team championship. I know lots of people here so we will get a lot of support.”
A native of Plovdiv, Radev has not lost a fight since leaving the UFC and is currently in the midst of a six fight win streak. As he looks to assert himself as one of M-1's top fighters, Radev has guaranteed victory for both him and his team on March 28.
“I know I will have to work very hard and that every M-1 challenge fighter will fight hard for their country,” he said. “But against North America on March 28, my team and I will be victorious.”
The 32-year old holds a lifetime record of 13-3 and holds notable wins over Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago as well as Polish MMA legend Grzegorz Jakubowski.
M-1 Global's decision to bring the M-1 Challenge to Bulgaria is recognition of how MMA is becoming increasingly popular in the country.
“MMA is growing and getting bigger a lot since I fought in the UFC,” said Radev. “This M-1 challenge event in Sofia will only make the sport bigger!”
Slated to compete at middleweight (184.8 pounds/-84 kg), Radev will be joined by lightweight Yanko Yanev, welterweight Ivan Ivanov, light heavyweight Atanas Dzhambazov, and heavyweight Veselin Bojinov. The combined record of the five fighters is an impressive 27-5-1.
Both Yanev and Ivanov will be putting perfect records on the line on March 28. Yanev is 5-0 with all five wins coming by way of submission while Ivanov is 3-0 with a notable first round TKO victory against M-1 Challenge 2008 standout Bogan Christea.
Despite a lack of collective experience, Radev expects him and his teammates to contend for the M-1 Challenge Championship in 2009.
“We're tough fighters having all trained in wrestling and standup fighting,” he said. “I think we're not as experienced as other teams but we will give all for Bulgaria and with the support of the country hopefully bring the championship back!”
The entire Team North America roster and the complete match-by-match lineup for Bulgaria vs. North America will be released tomorrow.