NFL Running Back to Face Jordan Radev in M-1 Challenge

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M-1 Global made it official Thursday that the second edition of the 2009 “M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction” on March 28 in Sofia, Bulgaria is now set to feature an intriguing middleweight matchup between a former Olympian in Jordan Radev and a former NFL player in Herbert “Whisper” Goodman.

It was revealed on Tuesday that Radev would be leading Team Bulgaria into action on March 28 against Team North America but M-1 can now reveal that Goodman, a former running back with the Green Bay Packers, will be going head-to-head with Radev as the middleweight representative for the debuting Team North America.

After graduating from Graceland University, a NCAA Division II school in Iowa, Goodman made the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2000. After receiving limited playing time behind standout tailbacks Ahman Green and Dorsey Levens, Goodman was able to show what he could do with extensive playing time when he led NFL Europe in rushing during the 2002 season with 877 yards as a member of the Scottish Claymores.

Goodman’s transition from the NFL to MMA took place by chance after he went to a local event to support a friend who was fighting. After the show was over, Goodman was blunt in telling his friend that he was less than impressed.

“I told him it was a sloppy fight and he said ‘Yeah, whatever,'” Goodman stated in a 2008 interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I said, ‘I could whip both of you guys.’ So I trained for four weeks and I knocked out my first opponent in 27 seconds.”

Despite the bold statement, Goodman actually earned the nickname “Whisper” because of his soft-spoken nature. And while in the cage, he let his fists do the talking as he began his career with an impressive 3-1 record. But even though he’s one of the best pure athletes in all of MMA, the 31-year old has gone through some growing pains as he adjusts to a new sport following a late start.

Goodman has also not chosen an easy path, as he’s competed for respected promotions such as King of the Cage and The Ultimate Warrior Challenge. He’s also tested himself against strong competition such as Adrian Serrano and EliteXC veteran and current Bellator Fighting Championships competitor Hector Urbina.

Despite giving up years of experience against Serrano, Goodman still was able to knock him out in the second round during a Gladiator Cage Fighting event in Wisconsin. And in spite of losing to Urbina, Goodman still managed to go the distance.

In Radev, Goodman is matched up against a fighter with UFC experience who will serve as his toughest challenge to date. However, he will not be alone as his four teammates on the North American squad will be in full force to support him.

Joining him on the team is lightweight Renato Migliaccio (4-0), welterweight Steve Carl (5-1), former WEC light heavyweight Charles Grigsby (15-4), and heavyweight Lloyd “Kadillac” Marshbanks (15-8).

Carl is a 24-year old former Sargent in the United States Army and is well aware of the challenge that lays ahead of him when he takes on Ivan Ivanov in Ivanov’s home country.

“It’s a little nerve racking knowing that everyone is behind your opponent but its also a huge obstacle that I will be able to look back upon and say I overcame,” Carl said.

Overcoming obstacles is nothing new for Carl, who is receiving his opportunity to shine in the M-1 Challenge just two years after doctors told him his career as an athlete was over following a serious head-on car collision.

Fans in Bulgaria will also be treated to a battle of unbeatens when Migliaccio squares off with Yanko Yanev. Migliaccio received a jiu-jitsu black belt from the late Ryan Gracie and also holds a black belt in judo.

Migliaccio believes the exposure he will receive competing in the M-1 Challenge will help start to garner him the recognition he deserves.

“[This is a] perfect opportunity to show my skills in a great and unique event,” he said. “[I am] very excited as a lot of people want to be in this spot now.”

With Team North America’s lineup now official, its best-of-five head-to-head matchup with Team Bulgaria has been finalized:

Team Bulgaria vs. Team North America –

* Lightweight (154 lbs./-70 kg): Yanko Yanev (Bulgaria) vs. Renato Migliaccio (North America)
* Welterweight (167.2 lbs./-76 kg): Ivan Ivanov (Bulgaria) vs. Steve Carl (North America)
* Middleweight (184.8 lbs./-84 kg): Jordan Radev (Bulgaria) vs. Herbert Goodman (North America)
* Light Heavyweight (204.6 lbs./-93 kg): Atanas Dzhambazov (Bulgaria) vs. Charles Grigsby (North America)
* Heavyweight: Vaselin Bojinov (Bulgaria) vs. Lloyd Marshbanks (North America)

Additional information regarding head-to-head matchups scheduled for the March 28 event between Turkey vs. Germany and Russia Legion vs. The World Team is forthcoming.

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