Nate “The Train” Landwehr (12-2) is fighting away from home again at M-1 Challenge 102 in a rematch with Viktor Kolesnik (16-3-1) at the Barys Arena in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan.
The American, training out of Tennessee, is 5-0 under the M-1 banner and already has one title defense, turning away Andrey Lezhnev last December. The defending champion won by third-round TKO.
Landwehr, 31, doesn’t have a boring bone in his body, picking up post-fight bonuses every single time he’s fought for M-1. It’s a freewheeling style made up of an unbreakable chin and spirit coupled with winging power punches—even rocking opponents from off his back.
“The real fans, they just can’t help but love my fighting style,” Landwehr said via M-1 Global. “I’m a real champion and my next fight will be another superb show.”
Of course being a delight on the mic has helped push Landwehr into the limelight (“mentally, to win, I prepared to die. Physically, I am prepared to kill,” he said ahead of his title-winning effort.) Competing exclusively in Russia and Kazakhstan since lifting the M-1 Global featherweight title, Landwehr is foregoing a spot in the UFC for a return match with the only man to avoid a stoppage in his last five fights.
A deal struck last year stipulates any M-1 champion can compete between the UFC and the Russian Promotion. Bruno Silva, for example, was the M-1 middleweight champion and had his heart set on making an Octagon debut last weekend at UFC Greenville, which he was eventually scratched from.
“Everyone is running into the UFC from M-1, as if that would solve their problems, Landwehr said. “But I have unfinished business with a man named Victor.”
A lurid entertainer, he proven to be more than just talk, backing it up in his first go with Kolesnik. He picked himself up and off the canvas in the first round, finishing the fight as the much stronger of the two, driving his opponent around the cage with punches in the third frame, for a decision victory.
“At the end of the battle, he almost fell to the ground from fatigue,” Landwehr recalled. “He knew, and I knew. I break people, so he has no chance to survive. No one can keep on equal terms with me for 25 minutes. He can change his plan but the human heart does not change. It will break.”
“We were face to face with him—looking eye to eye. It will break, but it is impossible to break me. That’s why after that fight I became a champion.”
The latest edition of M-1 Challenge will be live on Fite TV this Saturday from 7:00 a.m. ET.