Medieval MMA sees fighters wearing full armour take swords into ring for fight

Medieval mixed martial arts sees fighters wearing full armour take swords into the ring to fight their opponents.

The bonkers branch of MMA allows fighters to take shields and swords into the ring along with full armour before fighting each other in line with the traditional rules of the sport. Footage of the bouts, hosted by Russia's leading promotion M-1 Global, sees competitors fight in front of a roaring crowd and stunning mountain backdrop.

The gimmick was first used by M-1 to provide actions between their traditional MMA fights, before fan interest saw them create their own medieval division in 2016.

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M-1's decision for their medieval division to stick with traditional MMA rules stands it apart from other medieval combat sports, which fall under the banner of the International Medieval Combat Federation.

IMCF events also have competitors wear full armour and use swords and shields, but they fight in line with authentic historical tournament rules.

Speaking to in 2017, via Triple M, M-1 president Vadim Finkelchtein discussed the introduction of the medieval division, explaining: "I liked the fans' reaction when we did it for the first time in St. Petersburg at M-1 Challenge 50.

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"They seemed to really like it. They were impressed and supported the knights. So, I thought it was worth continuing. At that time, the knight fight was to fill the pause between the undercard and main card fights."

The medieval division went on to host a number of events and had more than 50 fighters on it's roster at the peak of it's popularity.

Founded in 1997, M-1 has gone on to become the leading MMA promotion in Russia, becoming an affiliate of the UFC in 2018. The affiliation has since created a pathway for M-1 champions to sign with the UFC.

Champions who have taken advantage of the pathway include current heavyweight Alexander Volkov and unbeaten welterweight contender Shavkat Rakhmonov, who has finished each of his 16 wins.

UFC hall of famer and former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and one-time heavyweight title challenger Alistair Overeem are also amongst the notable fighters to have competed in both M-1 and the UFC.


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