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Heavyweight headliner for M-1 Challenge 69 Denis Smoldarev vs. Kenny Garner

PETERSBURG, Russia (June 29, 2016) – M-1 Global has announced heavyweights Denis Smoldarev and American MMA veteran Kenny “Deuce” Garner will square off in the M-1 Challenge 69 main event, Saturday night, July 16, in Ingushetia, Russia.

M-1 Challenge 69 will be streamed live from Ingushetia in high definition on www.M1Global.TV. Viewers will be able to watch the preliminary fights and main card by logging on to register at www.M1Global.TV. Fans may watch all of the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets.

Known as the “Brock Lesnar of Estonia,” Smoldarev (11-2-0, M-1: 7-2-0) is a combat sambo specialist and two-time M-1 Challenge heavyweight title challenger. In his last fight this past February at M-1 Challenge 64, Smoldarev lost by third-round submission via a choke to Alexander Volkov for the vacant M-1 Challenge heavyweight championship.

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(Smoldarev (black trunks) drives a knee into his opponent)

c4468ee8-1502-4710-bc5d-1f81c3b3d2ceGarner (16-9-0, M-1: 9-7-0), fighting out of Port St. Lucie, Florida, was the M-1 Challenge heavyweight champion four years ago. In 2011 at M-1 Challenge 27, Garner submitted Maxin Grishin in the fifth round by strikes to become Interim M-1 Challenge heavyweight champion. After successfully defending his Interim title versus Magomed Malikov (KO3 – strikes) at M-1 Challenge 32, the stage was set for Garner to challenge “regular” M-1 Challenge heavyweight title-holder Guran Gugenishvilli in a rematch to avenge an earlier loss.

Garner graduated from Interim to “regular” M-1 Challenge heavyweight champion June 21, 2012 with a victory over Gugenishvilli via doctor’s stoppage in the third round. Six months later in their “rubber match,”, Garner stopped Gugenishvilli on punches in the fourth round to retain his title belt.

At M-1 Challenge 44 in November 2013, Garner lost his crown to Polish challenger Damian Grabowski by third-round submission (choke). In his last fight at M-1 Challenge 59, Garner was punched out in the opening round by Russian great Sergei Kharitonov one year ago in Kazakhstan.

One other fight has been announced for M-1 Challenge 69 as Croatian featherweight Antun “Killer” Racic (18-7-0, M-1: 3-4-0) takes on undefeated Russian prospect Movsar Evloev (5-0-0, M-1: 5-0-0).

Racic, who is coming off a split decision loss to Vitali Branchuk last February at M-1 Challenge 64, is a submission master, while Evloev is a strong striker who stopped Alexander Krupenkin in the opening round at M-1 Challenge 66 in his most recent action.

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(Antun Racic (L), Movsar Evloev (R)


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