The announcement of Jordan’s Izzedine Al-Derbani signing with BRAVE Combat Federation last year generated a real buzz among the BRAVE Nation fans. The acquisition of the “Palestinian Samurai” got tongues wagging. It was a mutually beneficial agreement as the former Desert Force Featherweight interim champion’s draw-card potential would only strengthen BRAVE CF’s stable while offering the Jordanian an opportunity to amplify and broadcast his skill and star power on the most-global MMA promotion.
Al-Derbani’s arrival also put the Bantam and Featherweight divisions on notice when word got out that the only athlete to knockout BRAVE CF top contender, Hamza Kooheji, has signed with BRAVE Combat Federation. Izzedine’s electric and lethal stand-up fighting style matches his personality. The man is loud, charismatic, and filled with verve, a dream signing who adds to the allure of any international fight card.
But the Arabian star’s BRAVE CF debut did not go as planned when he recorded a unanimous decision defeat to the world-renowned and former Flyweight title contender Jose “Shorty” Torres. The reality of being outwrestled over three rounds was a frustrating start to his BRAVE CF campaign, and the passionate Al-Derbani - used to doing things big and flashy - was hungry to make his mark on the fastest-growing MMA brand.
This past weekend - true to form - Al-Derbani secured his first BRAVE CF win in style and opened up the history books at BRAVE CF 70 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Al-Derbani became the first man to submit Colombia’s star boy Eduardo Mora and the first athlete to hand the Colombian a BRAVE CF stoppage defeat. The moment was even sweeter as it would be the “Palestinian Samurai’s” first-ever ninja-choke submission in his 16-fight career.
That finish over Mora will do wonders for Al-Derbani’s status in the 135-pound division considering the wars the former has been in. Colombia’s Road to BRAVE CF winner went the distance with BRAVE CF’s cream of the crop and top-ranked Bantamweights, taking South Africa’s Nkosi Ndebele and Bahrain’s Kooheji to the end of three rounds. Despite being on the wrong end of two decisions, both results showcased just how tough Mora is considering the level of his opponents.
The fact that Al-Derbani stepped up in the manner he did in his second BRAVE CF bout, pulling off what no other BRAVE CF athlete could do, speaks volumes of his potential in the BRAVE CF Bantamweight division and shines a new light on the contender-expectation he brought with him when he first signed with the promotion.
“I trained so much during Ramadan to win this fight. Thank you, God. He rewarded me for my hard work. He is merciful no matter what,” said Al-Derbani during a post-fight interview.
“I was able to make the fight go how I had planned and prepared for, lots of striking before locking in the submission. I am so grateful. I have arrived now and will only get better and stronger. I am ready for anyone in this weight class or heavier,” said Al-Derbani, who fought at Feather and Lightweight before his BRAVE CF debut.