BRAVE CF 57's main event earlier this year was a very tough pill to swallow for KHK Team Bahrain. One of their star athletes, Hamza Kooheji, came close to bagging the team yet another international title, however, it was not to be as Canada's Brad Katona (11-2) stole the show with a split-decision win to clinch the shiny BRAVE CF bantamweight belt. The event took place at the Khalifa Sports City Arena in the heart of Bahrain and in front of thousands of Bahraini supporters, rubbing even more salt in the wounds of Kooheji and his team. It is this bitter memory that helps drive Kooheji's teammate and close friend, No. 1 ranked Gamzat Magomedov (7-1) – as he steps up to the plate to exact revenge on Katona in their championship fight at BRAVE CF 63.
"Of course I want to take revenge on Brad (Katona) and return the belt to KHK and make our fans and friends happy again," said Magomedov, who has worked his way to a title fight following a five-fight win streak in the glamorous BRAVE CF 135-pound division filled with a long list of killers.
What makes this bout even more special for Magomedov is the fact he has built such a close relationship with Kooheji over the years, one that has transcended the boundaries of teammate status, a bond that has evolved into a brotherhood.
"I have known Hamza since 2016," Magomedov said. "I came to Bahrain to help him prepare for the first BRAVE CF event. He helps me with everything while I am in Bahrain. He helps with any problems I have here. Over the years, he has become very close to me.
"I felt that Hamza won that fight, but the judges gave the victory to Katona. With that said, I want to beat Brad Katona even more. Brad has no negative emotions toward me, and nor do I have any ill feelings toward him. We treat each other well, but in the cage I feel a great responsibility to myself, and I am motivated for this fight.”
With the win over Gamzat's teammate and close friend the SBG Ireland representative Katona sits atop the BRAVE Combat Federation bantamweight division. But Magomedov feels that he is better in all areas as he puts in his application for the 135-pound belt in the first installment of the iconic Kombat Kingdom series, BRAVE CF 63.
"I watched Hamza Kooheji vs. Brad Katona very carefully," Magomedov said. "Brad did not show anything special in this fight. He's good at striking, wrestling and grappling, but not on my level. He didn't surprise me at all. I can't see how any part of Katona's game can be better than mine. He won't be better at striking, and I know I'll be stronger than him in wrestling. He might be able to come up with something on the grappling front, but I'm ready for anything. The cage will show everything.
BRAVE CF 63 takes place on Wednesday, and it is headlined by a vacant super welterweight world title fight as top contenders Ismail Naurdiev and Marcin Bandel face off for the right to be called the No. 1 175-pound fighter in the world. Magomedov's shot at champion Katona will serve as the co-main event.