Belarusian mixed martial artist Denis Maher has the opportunity of a lifetime on June 4th when he makes his BRAVE CF promotional debut at BRAVE CF 51. The 26-year-old will be competing in the co-main event of the BRAVE CF’s inaugural show in Belarus and will have the eyes of both the company’s matchmakers and his nation upon him.
“‘ I’m honored to represent my country at BRAVE CF’s debut at home, it’s a big responsibility for me, but I’m ready,” Maher said to Lowkick MMA.
The past few days have undoubtedly been nerve-racking for Maher due to former Bellator veteran Fernando Gonzalez, who he was due to take on, pulling out of their fight due to an unforeseen injury. Thankfully, BRAVE CF located a replacement — the undefeated Kazakh fighter Rinat Sagyntay — so Maher’s dream of representing his country on the world stage is still on track to become a reality.
“My training camp is going good. You will see my best shape in this fight. It is a big event for Belarus fans; the fastest-growing promotion in the world is coming to our country. I think many people are excited and waiting for this event in Belarus. Many thanks to His Highness Sheikh Khaled for developing MMA in the world and to the president of BRAVE CF Mohammed Shahid and all the team.”
Fighting out of Minsk’s Fenix/Gridin gym and representing Gorilla Team, Maher, whose pro record stands at 7-0, may have the home-field advantage on fight night, but Sagyntay is more than capable of causing an upset. The 25-year-old is 9-0 as a pro and comes into this bout on the back of four straight first-round victories.
“Sagyntay is a strong guy, I respect him as an opponent, he is good at both striking and wrestling, but you know I have a lot of experience as an amateur in different combat sports, and I will be ready for anyone in this fight,” Maher said.
It can be argued that this matchup is more compelling than the initially scheduled contest between Maher-Gonzalez. Maher and Sagyntay are around the same age and are at similar stages of their careers. Both will be desperate to keep their undefeated records intact and know full well that an impressive performance on debut could be a career-changing moment.
The bout is a super welterweight clash, so Sagyntay, who usually competes as a welterweight, will be spared a grueling last-minute weight cut.The Kazakh is not turning up simply to make up the numbers, and will present a difficult test for Maher.
Maher has a long way to go before his name can be mentioned alongside Andrei Arlovski. One of the sport’s greats and the the most famous Belarusian fighter to have competed in MMA. However, at BRAVE CF 51, he has a chance to introduce himself to an international audience and begin building his own legacy. He will do so with the support of a stadium full of his fellow countrymen and women.
Regardless of how the fight plays out, it will be a memorable moment for the man from Minsk. One that will be all the more sweeter if he can get his hand raised.
Will you be watching BRAVE CF 51 next week?