By Caoilte de Barra
Thursday, April 1, 2021 marked history for BRAVE Combat Federation as the Bahrain based promotion celebrated its 50th event. Over the span of 50 events BRAVE CF has visited 21 countries, signing fighters from all around the world in the process.
A focal point for BRAVE CF has been developing fighters from the beginning of their pro careers. This strategy has seen the promotion invest heavily in signing former IMMAF competitors, with many succeeding at a very high level in the promotion.
Ireland’s Frans Mlambo is the only IMMAF alumni to challenge for a title in BRAVE CF to date. However, two-time IMMAF World Champion, Jose Torres of the USA is on track to becoming the first of the IMMAF alumni signed to BRAVE CF to secure a championship title. Torres is currently in the semi-finals of the flyweight tournament and will face Ali Bagautinov next.
Former IMMAF World Champions Muhammad Mokaev (England) and Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain) recently joined Torres and many others to sign with the promotion. Mokaev and Ali are both undefeated as both amateur and pro with each their BRAVE CF record’s standing at 3-0.
The 50th event under the Brave banner was a treat for fight fans as 16 bouts took place on a card headlined by 175lb title fight. The historic night set promotional history as 2017 IMMAF European Champion Anton Turkalj scored the fastest KO in BRAVE CF. The Swede made quick work of his opponent inside 13 seconds via a sweet spinning backfist KO.
Early on the fight card, 2019 IMMAF-WMMAA World Champion Abdulmanap Magomedov (Bahrain) put on a phenomenal performance but was on the wrong side of the decision against Glenn McVeigh. Magomedov had the upper hand in the wrestling department but was unable to capitalise on dominant positions enough for the judges to give him the fight.
Bulgarian Top Team teammates Yann Liasse and Issa Isakov were both on the card but were unsuccessful in their efforts. Both coincidentally medalled in the same weight class at the 2018 IMMAF European Open Championships.
Bronze medalist Liasse suffered the first loss of his pro career to an undefeated Magomed Magomedov. The Luxembourgish fighter put in a valiant effort but it was Magomedov’s wrestling that secured the win. Silver Medalist Isakov, who represented Belgium, was unfortunate not to win a highly competitive fight with the experienced German fighter Mohamed Grabinski.
2016 IMMAF World Champion Shoaib Yousaf (UK) was also in action and able to secure a win on the night. Yousaf entered this bout coming off a loss and got forced to dig deep in the latter rounds in particular. His experience was on full display in this fight as he edged Steven Gonclaves to get the nod on the judge’s scorecards. The Featherweight fighter is now 2-1 in the promotion with his eyes firmly set on the top of the division.
Fighting wasn’t all we saw from the IMMAF alumni. 2014 and 2015 IMMAF World Champion Jose Torres got to show off his ability to work the commentary desk a week after his bout. He joined the broadcast and even called the fight that decided his next foe.
The 50th event capped off a quartet of events that took place at Arad Fort. Over the four events, 15 former IMMAF competitors featured, drawing prominence to the strides made by BRAVE CF to promote the talent coming out of IMMAF competition.
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IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented: “BRAVE Combat Federation can truly be proud of its achievements within the global development of the sport of MMA, having hit its 50th event across 21 different countries in just over 4 years. The committed contribution to both professional and amateur MMA of BRAVE founder and Bahrain Olympic Committee chairman, His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and President Mohammed Shahid has been staggering and made a significant impact on the growth of the sport in the Middle East, Asia and globally.”