By Jake Smith
Brave Combat Federation returns for their 49th installment on Thursday, March 25th with a night of super fights which feature an abundance of IMMAF alumni.
In the co-main event, Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres (9-1-1) faces short notice replacement Blaine O’Driscoll (9-3-0). The 2014 & 2015 IMMAF World bantamweight champion was originally slated to face Sean Santella in a 125lbs bout, with the winner proceeding to the semi-finals of BRAVE’s flyweight tournament. The two fought in an instant classic back in September 2020 but due to the bout ending in a majority draw, they were scheduled to run it back.
With Blaine O’Driscoll stepping in on one weeks notice, the bout has been moved to a catchweight of 134lbs but the winner will still proceed to the semi-final of the tournament.
Having made the walk twice since signing with BRAVE, Torres; who was the first two-time IMMAF World gold medallist, has already established himself as a fan favourite and a major talent to the flyweight division and will be looking to further establish this with an impressive victory over O’Driscoll.
Elsewhere on the card, two of the best ever to step into the IMMAF cage will face off in what is expected to be one of the fights of the night. Muhammad Mokaev (4-0-0) faces Abdul Hussein (7-1-0) in a flyweight clash; which will see two huge prospects meet at an early stage in their professional careers.
Mokaev joined the professional ranks in 2020 and has fought four times, with his impeccable skill set transferring to the professional game seamlessly and his unbeaten record across amateur and professional extending to a staggering 27 bouts. He meets his toughest challenge to-date in the form of Abdul Hussein. After a seven fight flawless amateur career, Hussein turned professional in 2016 and after amassing an impressive 4-0 record, was signed to BRAVE CF. Hussein lost his first bout under Brave but soon bounced back to winning ways, securing three victories from his last three.
Both men etched their names in IMMAF history with incredible success at tournaments. Mokaev was crowned IMMAF Junior World champion in 2018 & 2019, as well as a Junior European gold medal (2019). Then, in his final run in the amateur ranks, Mokaev claimed gold in the senior division at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open.
Hussein’s major IMMAF success came in 2016, when he cruised to bantamweight gold at the IMMAF World Championships, following a equally successful European Open Championships a year prior.
The Brave 49 event carries the moniker of “Super Fights”, and that theme lasts from top to bottom with the card set to be opened by undefeated Latvian up-and-comer Matiss Zaharvos facing up against Gamzat Magomedov, another international IMMAF standout and 2017 amateur World Champion.
Based in Ireland, Zaharvos enters with a 4-0 record and will compete for the first time in 2021 after winning his last two bouts under the banner of Brave and both via stoppage. Gamzat Magomedov brings a 4-1 slate and is a four-time Brave veteran after an amateur career that culminated in a quick but decorated IMMAF tenure, first appearing for the Bahrain national team at the 2017 Africa Open where he picked up a gold medal before the wrestling specialist racked up five back-to-back wins at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships, achieving gold in the treacherously deep bantamweight division.
Meanwhile, highly decorated IMMAF alumni, Sola Axel makes his professional debut on the card. The Frenchman, who competed between middleweight and welterweight during his time in the IMMAFs will make his first professional outing at 175lbs.
Axel will be looking to make a statement, having not competed since November 2019, in the IMMAF-WMMAA World Championships.
The former European and Pan American gold medallist looks to establish himself as a one to watch in the Brave welterweight division with an eye-catching performance against, Italian Kuitty Begaj.
Also on deck is 2019 IMMAF-WMMAA European Open featherweight gold medallist Abdulmanap Magomedov (1-1-0).
Former team Bahrain representative Magomedov, who competed 18 times on IMMAF platform, will meet BRAVE debutant Maksim Trokhimchuk (1-0-0). During his IMMAF tenure, Magomedev showed a dominant, yet unpredictable style, with 13 of his 15 amatuer wins coming by either decision (seven) or first round stoppage (six).
The unpredictability of Magomedov’s game is what makes the Russian such a threat to his opponents.