Igor Fernandes fractured his tibia a couple weeks before the biggest fight of his career against Paul Daley last September at BAMMA, and he’s finally returning to action.
Riding a six-fight win streak with five first-round stoppages, "Chatubinha" meets Murad Abdulaev for the vacant M-1 Challenge welterweight championship Friday in Ingushetia, Russia, and is hungry to add another title to his resume.
"I trained hard for months for this fight," Fernandes told MMAFighting.com. A former Shooto Brazil champion, he signed a long deal with the Russian promotion. "I signed a six-fight contract, and thank God my first fight will be for the title against Murad Abdulaev. I want to bring this belt to Brazil."
Fernandes earned 13 of his 14 submission victories via anaconda chokes, and expects to grapple with Abdulaev at M-1 Challenge 58.
"I know he trains a lot on the ground, likes to grapple, but I’m training to fight five rounds," he said. "That’s my thing. I’m a Luta Livre fighter, but I’m ready to fight him standing as well."
"Chatubinha," who hasn’t fought since March of 2013, said suffering the same injury in training as Team Nogueira partner Anderson Silva did against Chris Weidman was "scary."
"I injured myself a lot over the past years, and that’s bad for an athlete," he said. "But I’m well trained and ready to put on a show for the fans now."
Update: Igor Fernandes’ return has been cancelled, as M-1 Global announces he’s out of the card with two broken ribs. Marcelo Brito, a fellow Brazilian welterweight, is now set to take on Abdulaev for the 170-pound championship.