M-1 Global finalized rosters and matchups earlier this week for its 2009 season opener of the M-1 Challenge, which is set to take place on Feb. 21 at the Emerald Queen Casino near Seattle, Washington.
The opener will also feature the debut the Colin Oyama-led Team USA West, which includes Palace Fighting Championships lightweight champion Brian Cobb, undefeated Hawaiian welterweight Dylan Clay, The Ultimate Fighter season seven qualifier Reggie Orr, IFL veteran Raphael Davis, and EliteXC veteran Carl Seumanutafa.
Team USA West is owned by M-1 Vice President of Legal Affairs Steve Bash and California-based promoter Roy Engelbrecht. The team’s alternate roster includes Shane Del Rosario (heavyweight), Ray Lizama (light heavyweight), Giva Santana (middleweight), and Fabio Negao (welterweight).
Team USA West will be making its debut against Team Brazil, which features former “Rio Heroes” Vale Tudo fighter Flavio Alvara and one-time IFL superfight competitor Eduardo Pamplona.
The two other matchups for the opener include Fedor’s Emelianenko’s Imperial Team (formerly known as Russian Red Devil) opening the defense of its 2008 crown against South Korea and the Toni Valtonen-led Finland Team taking on Team Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxemborg)
Complete lineups and rosters for the event are as follows:
Finland vs. Benelux (best of five) –
— Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Juha-Pekka Vainikainen (Finland) vs. Danny van Bergen (Benelux)
— Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg): Janne Tulrinta (Finland) vs. Tommy Depret (Benelux)
— Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Lucio Linhares (Finland) vs. Raymond Jarman (Benelux)
— Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Marcus Vanttinen (Finland) vs. Jochim Rijmen (Benelux)
— Heavyweight (204.7 lbs.-plus/+93 kg): Toni Valtonen (Finland) vs. Sander Duyvis (Benelux)
South Korea vs. The Imperial Team (best of five) –
— Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Dohyung Kim (South Korea) vs. Mikhail Malyutin (Imperial)
— Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg): Myungho Bae (South Korea) vs. Erik Oganov (Imperial)
— Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Hyungyu Lim (South Korea) vs. Dmirty Somoylov (Imperial)
— Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Jae Young Kim (South Korea) vs. Mikhail Zayats (Imperial)
— Heavyweight (204.7 lbs.-plus/+93 kg): Sang Soo Lee (South Korea) vs. Alexey Oleinik (Imperial)
Team USA West vs. Team Brazil Naja (best of five) -
— Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Brian Cobb (USA West) vs. Flavio Roberto Alvaro (Brazil)
— Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg): Dylan Clay (USA West) vs. Eduaro Pamplona (Brazil)
— Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Reggie Orr (USA West) vs. Juliano Cioffi Belgine (Brazil)
— Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Raphael Davis (USA West) vs. Jair Goncalves Junior (Brazil)
— Heavyweight (204.7 lbs.-plus/+93 kg): Carl Seumanutafa (USA West) vs. Jose Edson dos Santos Franca (Brazil)