One-on-one with Urs Pablo Ortmann ahead of his fight at M-1 Challenge 98

SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia– Undefeated Swiss welterweight prospect Urs Pablo Ortmann (8-0-0, M-1: 2-0-0) steps up in class November 2 to challenge Russian veteran Sergey Romanov (14-3-0, M-1: 5-2-0) atM-1 Challenge 98 in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Undefeated M-1 Challenge middleweight champion Artem Frolov (11-0-0, M-1: 9-0-0) takes on Brazilian challenger Bruno Blindado Silva (18-6-0, M-1: 1-0-0) in the M-1 Challenge 98 main event.

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M-1 Challenge 98 will be live-streamed from Russia 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 the action on their computers, as well as on Android and Apple smart phones and tablets. M-1 Challenge 97 will also be is available onwww.FITE.TV(preliminary card is free, $7.99 for the main card).

Ortmann, a Muay Thai specialist, recently stepped into The Rage to discuss his ascending mixed-martial-arts career, including his fight versus Romanov:

Urs Pablo, you’ve got a double name, how do your friends call you?

UPO: “My friends call me just Urs and Pablo is my fight name. Earlier there was a difference between the real me and my fighting alter ego; stepping into the cage I used to go wild. Today it’s different, now I do my best to stay calm when I fight. My goal now is to stay effective and demonstrate techniques in the clearest way possible.”

How did you start your MMA career and what do you like the most about fighting?

UPO: “Actually, I started my martial arts career only when I turned 21. Before that I played basketball. At 21, Gabriel Sabo helped me join the fighting world. Initially, I was not going to compete, but my trainer, Zyber Ruday, had seen my potential and helped me grow. I love both striking and grappling. In my career I have more submission victories, only because of the fact that I felt I was better on the ground than my opponents.”

What can you tell us about MMA in Switzerland? Who is the most noticeable fighter?

UPO: “Yasubey Enomoto is a role model in MMA for me and a good friend of mine. MMA has been developing in Switzerland rapidly lately, but still it’s popularity can’t be compared to what we see in Russia. Anyway, there are MMA gyms in almost every city and they have many fighters with potential.”

How did you get to M-1 Global and how do you like fighting in Russia?

UPO: “Before joining M-1 Global I’d already been to Russia once at Battle in the Mountains in Ingushetia, I loved it and it became my goal to fight in front of this amazing crowd against some top opponents.

“I worked very hard and I won all my MMA, K-1 and Muay Thai fights, so First MMA Management got interested in me, and very soon after signing with them I got my first fight in M-1 Global. I find it excellent that MMA has so much respect in Russia and that it is supported at such a high level that you can even see the President at some events. I have a great experience with Russian fans, who are very respectful. After my fights I’ve seen that they understand this sport really well, so I love fighting in Russia.”.

Who would you like to fight the most in M-1 Global?

UPO: “I would love to fight Alexey Kunchenko. I’ve seen many fights of his and it would be a tough challenge for me. I’m happy that he signed with the UFC and I hope one day I can follow him.”

What do you think about your upcoming fight against Sergey Kunchenko?

UPO: “Sergey Romanov is one of the most dangerous welterweights on the M-1 Global roster. In his last fight he made some mistakes and I would say just defeated himself. M-1 Global fans will love our fight and I’m sure that the winner should become the next title contender. I suppose the winner will face Maxim Grabovich in the fight for the vacant title.

“I know this is going to be a tough fight. A knockout victory would be awesome, but I’m open to any opportunity to finish this fight. As always, I’ll start pushing my opponent from the opening bell.”