The Khalifa Sports City Arena was the stage for the greatest-ever card in Middle East MMA history. And Brave 9: The Kingdom of Champions delivered, with 10 Knockouts in 15 bouts, as Stephen Loman and Ottman Azaitar took home the first-ever Bantamweight and Lightweight world titles, respectively. Their TKO’s over Gurdarshan Mangat and Alejandro “Pato” Martínez were the culmination of a show filled with finishes from top to bottom.
Also on the main card, two of Brave’s top fighters tasted defeat as Carl Booth was dominated on the wrestling department by Jarrah Al-Selawe on their rematch and MMA pioneer Gesias Cavalcante was stopped on the third round after a valiant effort against former UFC fighter Alan Omer. Mohammad Fakhreddine and Tahar Hadbi didn’t quite settle their rivalry as their back-and-forth scrap ended in a No Contest after Hadbi accidentally hit “The Latest” with a low blow.
In the preliminary card, five out of eight bouts ended in first-round knockouts as Felipe Efrain’s flying knee KO of Nawras Abzakh rounded things off and brought the only victory for Brazilian MMA, who was represented by four fighters, after Lucas Mineiro was forced to pull out of his title fight against Elias Boudegzdame due to illness.
Mangat vs. Loman
Gurdarshan Mangat and Stephen Loman were both coming off two wins for Brave Combat Federation and they were looking to make history by becoming the first ever Bantamweight champion and one of the first winners of three promotional bouts.
Loman started off showing quick hands, but Mangat was pounding away with low kicks. However, the Filipino was a step ahead in the striking department and dropped St. Lion twice, forcing the referee to step in. “The Sniper” became the first-ever Filipino Brave world champion with an amazing TKO in the first round.
Martínez vs Azaitar
In what was dubbed a clash of styles, the striking prowess of The Bulldozer ended up prevailing over the pressure grappling of Martínez. Azaitar showed his heavy hands, but was also able to showcase improved defensive wrestling and jiu-jitsu as “Pato” made him work throughout the fight to keep things standing.
After dazing the Mexican twice in the first two rounds, Azaitar finally closed the show with an amazing front kick to the body that dropped Martínez and made him tap out due to strikes. It was a picture-perfect ending for the Moroccan, who stays undefeated and is now 3-0 with Brave Combat Federation.
Stephen Loman became the first-ever Brave bantamweight champion with a flawless performance against Gurdarshan Mangat and took home a Performance Bonus for his first-round TKO against St. Lion. “The Sniper” was one of four fighters to receive the award for the historical Brave 9: The Kingdom of Champions.
The Filipino phenom was always a step ahead of his foe, showcasing fastest hands and able to stifle any offense generated by Mangat. Towards the end of the first round, Loman was able to connect with a hook that floored his opponent and after storming in and securing another knockdown, Stephen left no choice for the referee, who intervened, declaring him the new titleholder.
With no submission in a Knockout-filled event, Brave officials chose to award four Performance bonuses instead of a Submission, KO, and Fight Of The Night. That meant another three fighters walked home with an extra check: Felipe Efrain, Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady and Ahmed Amir were the chosen ones.
Efrain wowed the audience with a picture-perfect flying knee to end the night for Nawras Abzakh, while Al-Selwady dominated Erick “Índio Brabo” on his way to a TKO win,and Amir got the better of Erik Carlsson to earn a hard-fought decision.
Main Card (8:00 p.m. local time, Noon ET) Lightweight: Ottman Azaitar def. Alejandro Martínez via TKO – 1:16, Round 3. Azaitar is now the first-ever Brave Lightweight champ!!! (for the inaugural title) *Bout canceled over weight-cutting issues* Featherweight: Elias Boudegzdame (champion) vs. Lucas Mineiro Bantamweight: Stephen Loman def. Gurdarshan Mangat by TKO – Round 1. The Filipino is now the first-ever Brave Bantamweight champion! Welterweight: Jarrah Al-Selawe def. Carl Booth by unanimous decision (3× 30-27) Lightweight: Alan Omer def. Gesias ‘JZ’ Cavalcante by TKO (punches) – Round 3 Lightweight: Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady def. Erick “Índio Brabo” via TKO (cut) – Round 2 Tahar Hadbi vs. Mohammad Fakhreddine ends in a No Contest (accidental low blow) Bantamweight: Hamza Kooheji def. Mohammad Farhad by unanimous decision (3x 30-27)
Prelim Card (5:00 p.m. local time, 9:00 a.m. ET) Bantamweight: Felipe Efrain def. Nawras Abzakh via TKO (Flying knee and punches) Lightweight: Ahmed Amir def. Erik Carlsson by split decision Bantamweight: Frans Mlambo def. Michael Deiga-Scheck by TKO, R1 Middleweight: Ikram Aliskerov def. Jeremy Smith via KO, Round 1 Catchweight (150 lbs): Hardeep Rai def. Sam Patterson by KO in the first round Lightweight: Charlie Leary def. Daniele Scatizzi by TKO – 1:28 of the third round Bantamweight: Jalal Al Daaja def. Jeremy Pacatiw by TKO at 4:19 of the first round. Strawweight: Haider Farman def. Atif Mohammed by decision