By Caoilte de Barra
On Saturday, August 6, BRAVE CF will host its sixty-first show in Bonn, Germany. The Bahrain-based promotion is renowned for signing amateur athletes that competed on the IMMAF circuit and transitioned to pro. This event is a shining example of it as four alumni who had standout amateur careers are scheduled to compete.
World medalists Axel Sola, Gamzat Magomedov and Issa Isakov make up three of the alumni, with Wladimir Holodenko also featuring.
Holodenko will meet seven-time medalist Axel Sola in a clash of undefeated welterweights. Holodenko didn’t have as much success as an amateur but has found his feet in the pro ranks, progressing with every bout since turning pro in 2019 and is currently riding a two-fight win streak.
Sola, on the other hand, had a glistening amateur career. The 24-year-old competed on the IMMAF platform on twenty-two occasions and squared off with some of the best amateurs across two weight categories. Sola is a high-level southpaw striker with a slick ground game and has looked better with each pro bout.
Ahead of their highly anticipated clash, Axel Sola spoke on the importance of his IMMAF career:
“My time with IMMAF was very important to me. In my IMMAF career, I had to face it all: strikers, wrestlers, and jiu-jitsu guys. It allowed me to develop a better understanding of the sport. And that has served me very well in my pro career.”
Elsewhere on the card, 2017 IMMAF World Champion Gamzat Magomedov continues his push towards BRAVE CF gold. After winning gold for Bahrain back in 2017, Magomedov made his promotional debut in 2018 and has beaten some of the best the division has to offer.
His relentless grappling and knockout power has made him a force to be reckoned with since his amateur days. He recently handed Mohamed Machaev his first loss after finishing the 2020 Breakout Fighter of the Year in stunning fashion. Magomedov is set to face Borislav Nikolić in Germany, and a win here could line up another opportunity at winning a world title.
Reflecting on his amateur career, Magomedov echoed the words of Sola in highlighting how important his amateur career was.
”The time I spent in IMMAF was amazing for me. Now I am a world champion forever, no matter what. It has helped me develop my skills for MMA and gave me the confidence to have a great start to my pro career.
”I believe all fighters should have amateur careers. This is the time when we gain experience. An amateur career is one of the most important steps towards having a successful professional career. After the World Championships, I was signed to BRAVE CF, so my amateur career helped me a lot.”
Lastly, we have Issa Isakov, who will be hoping to launch himself into title contention with a win over Ahmad Labban. During his amateur career, he represented Belgium, competing in four IMMAF competitions in the space of two years and earned two medals in that time. His rapid progression through the pro ranks has seen him reach ten fights since 2019, finishing all but one of his wins.
For those looking to watch the BRAVE CF 61 card, it will be available to watch live on the BRAVE CF TV.