Following the loss of would-be headline fighter Don Frye, "M-1 Breakthrough" will now feature a main event between previously scheduled headliner "King" Mo Lawal (4-0) and replacement fighter Mark Kerr (15-10).
Additionally, the Aug. 28 event, which takes place in Kansas City, will feature a special exhibition match between recent Strikeforce signee Fedor Emelianenko and Gegard Mousasi.
A source close to the event today exclusively revealed the two matchups to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Bout agreements have been signed for both matchups.
Lawal, who's posted a 4-0 record with World Victory Road's Japanese-based Sengoku event series, makes his U.S. debut at the upcoming show, which is the first of what M-1 officials call a "premium fight series" to complement its current country-vs-country "M-1 Challenge" shows. Lawal, a Division I collegiate All-American, announced last week that his original opponent, veteran fighter Frye (20-7-1), had pulled out of the event.
Scrambling to find a last-minute replacement, M-1 officials settled for Kerr, once one of the sport's most feared competitors. But after launching his career with a 12-0 record and tournament wins at WVC 3, UFC 14 and UFC 15, Kerr hit a rough patch (which was well documented in the acclaimed documentary "The Smashing Machine"). Since December of 2000, the 40-year-old fighter is just 2-9 and has lost his past four fights.
Hoping to add some drawing power to the event, which airs on HDNet, officials secured the Emelianenko vs. Mousasi exhibition match. The two M-1 fighters will compete in a matchup similar to the one Emelianenko had with lightweight Shinya Aoki back in April. The "exhibition sparring match," held at an April Deep/M-1 Challenge show, was largely an informal and friendly affair.
Neither fighter's record will be affected by the upcoming bout since it won't be held under traditional MMA rules and will have no judges.
The exhibition, though, will essentially serve as a commercial for Emelianenko's next fight, which will come this fall on Showtime under the Strikeforce banner. The longtime PRIDE heavyweight champion had been slated to headline an Aug. 1 "Affliction: Trilogy" event before opponent Josh Barnett was denied a license due to a failed drug test and Affliction ceased promotional operations altogether soon after.
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