Chris Kelades captures the interim flyweight title at M-1 Challenge 103
Revenge is much more satisfying when there is a championship title in the line. That was the case for Chris Kelades who prevailed in a rematch that headlined M-1 Challenge 103 in Shenzhen.
When reigning M-1 flyweight champion Alexander Doskalchuk was pulled due to injury, Alexander Pletenko came in on short notice and faced Kelades for the interim title.
Pletenko, who missed weight and was not eligible to win the title, had already beaten the Canadian once. But after 25 minutes of fast and furious action Kelades clearly took the decision and had the belt wrapped around his waist.
Keeping a tireless pace and staying unpredictable throughout every round gave the Kelades an edge in just about every exchange and scramble and made it an easy job for the judges.
The 38-year-old came out chopping the legs and it almost backfired when Pletenko caught a kick and took the fight to the canvas. Although he was on his back, Kelades was able to control the arms and utilize rubber guard to keep his foe at bay.
Running the show
Once Kelades was able to get back up, he landed a few punches and even finished the first round with a few hammer fists after a failed flying knee attempt.
The second frame was likely the closest round with a clash of heads cutting Pletenko over the left eye but then Kelades took over to dominate the remainder of the rounds.
With timely takedowns and grinding top pressure, Kelades did not give much room for his adversary to breathe. In terms of damage, some solid shots were getting through but nothing was significant enough for a fight-ending sequence.
Pletenko came out with urgency in the fourth round knowing that he was down in the judge’s eyes. However, that aggression was used against him and he was once again taken down. The Ukrainian did get back up and complete a takedown of his own yet he could not keep Kelades down.
The final round started off with Pletenko landing the cleaner shots yet when Kelades put him on his back, there was nothing he could do from that position. The closest moment to a finish was when Kelades scrambled into taking the back and getting hold of the neck.
He held on tight but with both fighters covered sweat and grease, Pletenko escaped narrowly and got back to his feet.
Ten months after being on the wrong side of a decision, Kelades (13-4) gets the unanimous nod and picks up the first world title of his career. Meanwhile, Pletenko (17-7) vaporizes any momentum he had built with this loss to the UFC veteran.
Kelades is now set to face off against Alexander Doskalchuk to unify the titles at a date yet to be determined.
AFC welterweight champion Jonas Boeno was also in action when he took on Maksim Grabovich in a welterweight contest. The Brazilian was controlled on the ground and the judges scored it for his opponent after three rounds.
While Grabovich (10-5) extends his streak to four straight, Boeno (39-12) loses for the first time since 2015 and snaps his nine-fight run through multiple promotions.
Another familiar name on the night was two-time TUF alum Hayder Hassan (9-4). The American Top Team representative halted the hype train of Movsar Bokov (5-2) via unanimous decision and continues his resurgence outside the UFC by winning his third in a row.