Sports MMA fans in for a treat at PFL MENA 2

JEDDAH: PFL MENA 2, the Professional Fighters League’s Middle East and North Africa landmark event, is set to bring elite mixed martial arts to the region on July 12.

According to Gustavo Firmino, vice president of fighter operations at PFL MENA, the event, in Riyadh, will feature the best lightweight and welterweight fighters from the area.

“PFL MENA 2 is arguably the greatest fight card in Middle East history,” Firmino said.

“We’ve assembled the best lightweight and welterweight fighters the Middle East has to offer. They’ll be competing in the signature PFL league format, where every fight counts and is decisive for each fighter to continue their journey to the title, adding another layer of excitement for fans.

“Many of these fighters are established regional MMA champions or possess strong backgrounds in other combat sports before transitioning to MMA. They’ll bring an incredible mix of skills and an unwavering desire to win.”

One of the most anticipated matchups is Amir Fazli versus Badreddine Diani. Firmino called Fazli, a two-time wushu sanda world champion, “definitely a force to be reckoned with. He’s riding a four-fight win streak and is known for his devastating first-round knockouts.

“Diani, a former UAE Warriors champion, brings a strong sambo base to the table. This clash of styles promises to be an explosive encounter.”

Another intriguing bout features undefeated fighters Mohammad Alaaqra and Youcef Ouabbas. Firmino said: “Alaaqra has a strong judo and wrestling background, has trained at AKA gym with Javier Mendez and has finished his preparations at Khabib’s gym in Dagestan, Club Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

As Khabib’s disciple, there’s a lot of excitement for this debut with PFL MENA. However, he’ll be going against the well-rounded and also undefeated Algerian fighter, Youcef Ouabbas, who’s won multiple grappling championships in France.”

The lightweight division at PFL MENA is stacked with talent. Firmino mentioned undefeated prospects like Abdullah Saleem from Kuwait, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, and Omar Reguigui, a sambo black belt from Tunisia.

Firmino added: “The Iranian Mohsen Seifi is likely the most decorated striker in the whole roster, with multiple world titles in wushu sanda. And we also have very experienced MMA fighters, including Lebanese Josh Togo, a former UAE Warriors champion, Souhil Tahiri from Algeria, who’s a very smart fighter and also (has a) PhD in mathematics — he always brings extremely exciting fights. And of course, we can’t forget the former BRAVE CF lightweight champion, Ahmed Amir. He’s a proven force, and I expect him to put on a great show. They all possess impressive skill sets.”

Firmino said: “PFL MENA is deeply committed to fostering the growth of MMA across the region. By providing a platform for these talented athletes to compete on a global stage, we hope to inspire the next generation of fighters. We’re also working hard to develop grassroots programs and educational initiatives to help the sport flourish at all levels.”

He envisions PFL MENA as part of PFL’s overall goal of creating the Champions League of MMA. “PFL is a global powerhouse in MMA and the fastest-growing sports league worldwide.

PFL MENA is part of PFL’s overall vision of creating the Champions League of MMA. We’ve built a strong roster with the very best talent in the Middle East and North Africa region, combining established champions and top rising prospects, which make PFL MENA the ultimate proving ground to determine who are the best fighters in the region.”

The rise of Saudi Arabia as a center for combat sports highlights the substantial growth of MMA in the Middle East, and PFL MENA is excited to showcase this untapped talent.

Firmino noted: “MMA has grown substantially worldwide in recent years, and especially in the Middle East, with the rise of Saudi Arabia as an epicenter for combat sports. We believe that this region has a wealth of untapped talent, like Hattan Alsaif, who’s become a big star already in her early MMA career. Through PFL MENA, we’re excited to showcase the very best MMA talent, providing a platform to create new regional stars that can later become global stars through the PFL Global Season.”

PFL MENA 2 is set to be a historic event with 24 fighters vying for a coveted playoff spot. Firmino concluded: “PFL MENA 2 is poised to be a night etched in the history books of Middle Eastern MMA. With 24 fighters vying for a coveted playoff spot, the intensity will be off the charts. This event is a launchpad for future champions, and you won’t want to miss it. Tune in live on MBC Action on July 12th and witness history in the making.”

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