Former UFC heavyweight title contender Jeff Monson tore his pectoralis major muscle and had it surgically reattached on Tuesday.
The injury forces the 42-year-old two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Champion out of his M-1 Heavyweight Grand Prix quarterfinal encounter with Russian knockout artist Magomed Malikov. The bout was scheduled to headline M-1 Challenge 38 at the Ice Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 9.
Due to the serious nature of the injury, which usually requires six to eight months of recovery time, the “Snowman” will not only miss the whole M-1 tournament, but will likely be out of action until fall, if not for the remainder of 2013. The world-class grappler had pushed a frantic pace as of late, competing a whopping 22 times in the last three years.
Stepping in on less than two weeks’ notice will be undefeated Ukrainian prospect Nikita Krylov. The 20-year-old submission specialist has competed exclusively on the Ukrainian circuit so far. In January, he scored back-to-back first-minute knockouts over Bulgarian Julian Bogdanov and Kirghiz representative Kilichbek Sarkarboev to claim the Gladiators Fighting Championship heavyweight tournament title and improve his record to a perfect 13-0.
“This is the most important fight of my career,” Krylov told Sherdog.com via email. “I plan to fight on the ground and of course to win early. I would like to fully dedicate my life to MMA. With this victory, I want to prove that 'The Al Capone' deserves to be a part of the best organizations in the world!”
With only one of Krylov’s previous opponents having a winning record, stepping up to fight hard-nosed slugger Malikov with little time to prepare will be a true graduation day for the young grappler. The winner of Krylov-Malikov faces the victor of the quarterfinal bout between Frenchman Chaban Ka and Belarusian Bellator veteran Alexei Kudin at M-1 Challenge 39 in Moscow on May 23.
Follow Tim Leidecker on Twitter at @TimLeidecker or contact him at www.facebook.com/Rossonero1.