The culmination of BRAVE CF’s epic Kombat Kingdom series could not have played out on a better note. Under the bright lights of the Khalifa Sports City Arena, there were KOs, TKOs and hard-fought decisions as 22 warriors showed their appreciation in being tasked with fighting on the BRAVE CF 65: Rumble in the Kingdom card in the third and final leg of the nine-day mixed martial arts festival taking place in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The main event saw number-three ranked Bantamweight and former title contender, Bahrain’s Hamza Kooheji deliver a master-class performance when he beat Colombia’s Eduardo Mora in their Featherweight bout via unanimous decision.
Aside from Mora’s spinning back kick that almost gassed his opponent out, it was all Bahraini power and skill throughout the three-round fight as Kooheji brought out the KHK Team Bahrain MMA tutorial, leveraging off of his body weight to take his opponent down and go to work with his impeccable wrestling and grappling. For the entire fight Kooheji stuck to Mora’s back like white on rice. Mora did well to stay busy and make Kooheji work hard, however, failed to capitalize on any escapes or attacks as his opponent used every move to secure a takedown and initiate a ground-and-pound.
As the fight moved along, chants of “let’s go Hamza” reverberated around the Khalifa Sports City Arena as the Bahraini star redeemed himself after failing to beat now-BRAVE CF Bantamweight champion, Brad Katona in his last title fight. In the third round, Mora gave one last effort in hopes of shocking the world when he dropped that spinning back kick that hurt Kooheji, but the Bahraini athlete grit his teeth, clasping his arms around his opponent and taking his back searching for a rear-naked choke before the buzzer went.
“I have so much respect for Mora, he gave me a good spinning-back kick that almost gassed me out. I then did what I had to do and went to work. To my KHK Team Bahrain brothers, you are my second family. The whole Bahrain is my family, I love you all. Thank you for coming. I will see the guys at Bantamweight soon,” said the victorious Kooheji who guaranteed a return to the 135-pound division.
In the co-main event, USA’s Jose “Shorty” Torres put his hand up as potentially the new BRAVE CF Bantamweight contender after he dominated Jordan’s Izzedine Al-Derbani. After an electric start by Al-Derbani who threw leg kicks and leather with bad intentions, Torres bided his time waiting for the perfect moment.
At one point, the grappling strong-Torres went in for a takedown which was avoided by Al-Derbani who beautifully framed out that looked to set the tone for an interesting bout considering the grappling prowess of the American versus the sharp stand-up of Al-Derbani. However, the relentless Torres backed his wrestling pedigree and eventually negated the range of Al-Derbani before taking him onto “Shorty” airways scoring easily the takedown of the night that would write the script for the rest of the fight. Torres forced Al-Derbani into his world and educated his opponent with a wrestling clinic.
As the fight went on, the former Featherweight Al-Derbani as Torres picked up the pace showcasing devastating ground control as he methodically outclassed his opponent for three rounds to secure a unanimous decision win and putting the Bantamweight division on notice before expressing his desires to fight the champion, Canada’s Brad Katona.
“It’s definitely a great opportunity to fight at Bantamweight. I feel amazing and happy to be back after 18 months. I love this sport. I would love to fight Brad Katona, I want to fight him one day, but now I need to set my foot right at 135 pounds,” said Torres.
In the Heavyweight bout of the night, the big boys did not disappoint as Bahrain’s Shamil Gaziev produced the first and only knockout of the night when he beat Lithuania’s Pavel Dailidko. After implementing a heavy grappling-heavy game plan in the first round, Gaziev then showcased his intelligent stand-up defense with beautiful head movement and slips prior to showing a fake cross which was then followed up by a monster left hook that sent Dailidko to the BRAVE CF canvas.
BRAVE CF 65 Full Results
Featherweight: Hamza Kooheji def. Eduardo Mora via unanimous decision (3x 30-27)
Bantamweight: Jose Torres def. Izzedine Al-Derbani via unanimous decision (2x 30-27, 29-28)
Super Welterweight: Ahmed Labban def. Carl Booth via unanimous decision (3x 30-27)
Light Heavyweight: Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def. Mohamed Said Maalem via unanimous decision (2x 30-27, 29-28)
Heavyweight: Shamil Gaziev def. Pavel Dailidko via KO (punches) - Round 2
Catchweight 59kg: Issa Salem def. Hussain Ayyad via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Flyweight: Maysara Mohamed and Frieh Alharahasheh is ruled a majority draw (28-28, 29-27 Frieh, 28-28)
Catchweight 77kg: Kevin Ruart def. Omar El Dafrawy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Bantamweight: Abdulla Al-Yaqoob def. Fouad Shami via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Amateur Flyweight: Mohammed Zuhair def. Ganesh Raj via unanimous decision (30-27, 2x 29-28)
Amateur Catchweight 67kg: Mohammed Salah Mahdi def. Ahmed Zayed via TKO - Round 3