By Caoilte de Barre
After failing to secure a medal in their last World Championships appearance, Lebanon is back with a squad of five athletes hoping to add some silverware to the collection. This year’s squad will be familiar with each other since they are all teammates at Tristar Gym Lebanon. A gym that is home to a large number of emerging pros.
Some familiar faces will be returning with only one new addition to the squad. Toni Bou Rached makes his second appearance on the grand stage after pushing the eventual winner, Murad Umachiev, to the distance. He has since featured on BRAVE CF’s undercard in an amateur bout.
Elie Mansour is one of the ones to watch on this team. He’s dominated the regional scene and looked bright in his two bouts at the 2019 World Championships. His dominant win lined up saw him progress from the opening round. His luck ran out in the following round when he met Senior World Cup winner, Ivan Kurelaru.
The sole female entrant, Lama Nassar, will be entering the stacked senior flyweight division and will be aiming to be third time lucky in pursuit of victory. The most experienced competitor on the team, Elias Dagher will be making the switch back to Featherweight, ending his stint at Bantamweight.
The debuting fighter on the team is arguably the most exciting and maybe a dark horse in this division. Michel Zammar makes the highly anticipated switch to MMA at Super Heavyweight joining the division that Pasha Kharkhachaev has dominated since 2018. Zammar comes from a Sanda background. He’s got a Sanda World Championship and two Mediterranean gold medals to his name, not to mention the countless national accolades.
He’s also dabbled in Muay Thai, winning a national title too. In a division where one punch can end it all, his background could be the difference in him advancing through the rounds and hunting for yet another combat sports accolade.
The full team for Lebanon is as follows.
Toni Bou Rached, Tristar Gym Lebanon – Sr. Lightweight
Elias Dagher, Tristar Gym Lebanon – Sr. Featherweight
Elie Mansour, Tristar Gym Lebanon – Sr. Welterweight
Lama Nassar, Tristar Gym Lebanon – Sr. Flyweight
Michel Zammar, Tristar Gym Lebanon – Sr. Super Heavyweight