The 37-year-old’s win, which took place in the Kingdom of Bahrain, saw him clinch the vacant BRAVE CF light heavyweight championship. It now sits across his waist along with the promotion’s middleweight strap, making him the first fighter in BRAVE CF’s history to hold two world titles simultaneously.
“It actually feels a lot sweeter, ” Fakhreddine said, speaking to LowkickMMA about the difference between winning his first and second world championship.
“Especially because there was a lot of back and forth, and the fight had been going on for almost a year. To get it over and done with and to get that off my chest, it felt really good.”
Initially, the bout was set to take place at BRAVE CF 50 in April of 2021; unfortunately, Fakhreddine suffered a last-minute illness which saw the matchup rescheduled for BRAVE CF 52 in Milan, Italy. However, the bout ended up being declared a No-Contest after the Italian commission ruled Said Maalem had delivered several illegal strikes on his way to what he thought was an opening round TKO win.
Heading into the rematch at BRAVE CF 57, anticipation was high among fans that Fakhreddine vs. Said Maalem 2 would deliver something special. The fight ended up exceeding everyone’s expectations.
After weathering an early storm, Fakhreddine responded with a series of pinpoint strikes, overwhelming Said Maalem and leaving him struggling to respond. The bout was seconds away from being waved off before the first-round bell rang. Said Maalem’s respite was short-lived as Fakhreddine quickly wrapped up the contest at the start of the second frame.
“There was a body shot that made me collapse a little bit, and then the knees came after, and then there was a couple of elbows. I felt those,” Fakhreddine said.
“I thought I would throw a couple of shots to make him back up a little bit so I can catch my breath after the body shot, but I caught him with the first one. I saw him back up a little bit, and he came in again, and it was the perfect timing for that left hook, ” he added.
“With this fight, because I was throwing a lot of hands and less leg kicks, I figured my distance out in the first round, and in the second round, I knew I got him. His eyes did not want to be in that cage in the second round. He was done before walking to the second round.”
After the win, emotions between the camps spilled over, with Tahar Hadbi, one of Fakhreddine’s former rivals who had been cornering Said Maalem, jumping into the cage.
“The ref pulled me away, and I saw him and my friends wrestling a little bit and then doing a little bit of cage control, ” Fakhreddine said.
“I thought, he stepped into my world. He disrespected me; he’s going to have to pay for it. And so I punched him in the face, and then I low kicked him after.”
A fight between Fakhreddine and Hadbi is unlikely. Hadbi’s days as an active fighter look over, but that will not bother Fakhreddine, given that he is about to start one of the most exciting chapters in his career.
“[As] I said before, the fight, this is going to open a lot of doors and a lot of opportunities. And I can’t wait to see what the next few months have got for me. I’m looking for new challenges. I’m looking for big fights, and I want to stay active,” Fakhreddine said.
Fakhreddine’s aim now is to defend his middleweight strap, but he is also willing to stay at light heavyweight if that makes the most sense. Whatever happens, he has assured fans that they should expect something special from the newly crowned BRAVE CF champ-champ in the coming months.
“My plan next is to defend the middleweight belt, and after that, I have a surprise. I might call some people out, but for now, my vision is to defend the belt, “he said
“After my first middleweight defense. You guys are going to love what’s coming out next.”
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