BRAVE CF will kick start its 2022 calendar on March 11, with BRAVE CF 57, one of the biggest events in the promotion’s history, set to take place inside the Khalifa Sports City Arena, Bahrain. The event will be held during BRAVE’s International Combat Week (March 8-12), which has grown in size over the years to become Asia’s most significant combat sports festival. This year the festival will also feature the inaugural MMA Super Cup.
A trio of title fights will headline BRAVE CF 57, with the main event being a clash between Bahrain’s Hamza Kooheji and Canada’s Brad Katona for the vacant BRAVE CF bantamweight strap.
Katona, who joined the promotion in 2021, is on a two-fight winning streak, with his most recent win being a unanimous decision victory over Russia’s Bair Shtepin at BRAVE CF 53. In Kooheji, Katona will face off against a fighter with an identical record (10-2), and who will be looking to make history by becoming the first Bahrain-born mixed martial artist to capture a world championship.
The co-main event, a rematch between Lebanon’s Mohammad Fakhreddine and Algeria’s Mohamed Said Maalem for the vacant light heavyweight title, may not be the headline act of BRAVE CF 57, but it does have the potential to steal all the headlines.
The rivalry between the pair exploded in the buildup to their fight at BRAVE CF 52 in Milan, Italy. It only grew more intense after Said Maalem’s initial first-round TKO victory was overturned to a no-contest after the Italian Commission came to a determination that he had landed several illegal shots during the fight. The war of words between the two has already started. Fakhreddine labeled Said Maalem “stupid and childish” after the Algerian decided to post photos of himself on Instagram with the title.
The third title bout of the night will be for the interim lightweight strap. Egypt’s Ahmed Amir captured the belt after defeating France’s Amin Ayoub at BRAVE CF 54, but injury has sent him to the sidelines for a spell.
Ayoub will get the chance to immediately return to the title picture provided he can get past Kyrgyzstan’s Abdisalam Uulu Kubanychbek. The Kyrgyzstani has been on a tear since arriving at BRAVE CF, recording three straight stoppages, with only 3 of his 17 wins coming via way of decision.
Here is the full card for BRAVE CF 57
Bantamweight title fight: Hamza Kooheji (11-2) vs. Brad Katona (10-2)
Light Heavyweight title fight: Mohammad Fakhreddine (MW-C, 14-4, 2 NC) vs. Mohamed Said Maalem (11-3, 1 NC)
Lightweight interim title fight: Abdisalam Uulu Kubanychbek (18-3) vs. Amin Ayoub (16-5)
Super Welterweight fight: Nursulton Ruziboev (32-8-2, 2 NC) vs. Luis Felipe Dias (14-3)
Lightweight: Sam Patterson (8-1-1) vs. Khunkar-Pasha Osmaev (10-6-1)
Lightweight: Kamil Magomedov (14-2) vs. Cleiton Silva (15-3)
Flyweight: Asu Almabaev (14-2) vs. Imram Magaramov (4-0)
Lightweight: Husein Kadimagomaev (8-1) vs Agshin Babaev (22-7, 1 NC)
Light Heavyweight: Murtaza Talha (4-0) vs. Mikheil Sazhiniani (7-1)
Bantamweight: Mohamed Farhad (12-3) vs. Maysara Mohamed (5-0)
Catchweight 59kg: Magomed Idrisov (4-0) vs Rahmatullah Yousufzai (4-0)
Bantamweight: Abdullah Al Yaqoob (1-0) vs. Omar Emad (3-2)
Amateur Lightweight: Hussain Muhammad (1-0 AM) vs. Adon Ayoub (2-1 AM)
What do you think of this line up?