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Interview: Mohammad Fakhreddine talks big win in Kazakhstan, potential Brave welterweight title tournament and dream to fight in Brazil

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Mohammad Fakhreddine, one of the most accomplished MMA fighters in the Middle East, picked up another finish when he TKO’d Lukasz Witos in the first round at Brave 6 in Kazakhstan.

It was a quick turnaround for Fakhreddine who fought only one month prior to that in Abu Dhabi. He defeated Marcus Vinicius Cruz via doctor stoppage in the second round at Brave 4.

He was originally scheduled to take on Leonardo Mafra but after missing weight by only one pound, Mafra refused to fight him. Brave was able to find Fakhreddine a short notice replacement in Lukasz Witos and he was able to take him out in just one round.

Now 2-0 in Brave, he has established himself as one of the best welterweights in the promotion. Brave matchmaker Yousef Nassar has revealed that Brave is interested in holding a 4 man tournament to crown their first ever welterweight champion. He mentioned the likes of Fakhreddine, Carl Booth and Tahar Hadbi as potential participants in the tournament.

I spoke to Fakhreddine on the potential championship tournament, his short notice win in Kazakhstan and his dream to fight in Brazil. Check it out below.

Sports Rants: Congrats on yet another win, it was a very quick 1 month turnaround, what made you want to take a fight on such short notice?

Fakhreddine: Thank you and yes it was a very fast return to the cage. I wanted to fight and get back in there as fast as possible. I came out of my last fight with no injuries so I called Brave and asked them to get me a fight on the next card and they did so that was a blessing.

Sports Rants: Your original opponent Leonardo Mafra didn’t agree to take the fight after you missed weight by just one pound, how difficult was it for you emotionally to have to go through all this before a fight?

Fakhreddine: About Mafra, I was very upset that he didn’t take the fight with only one pound over. I asked for more time to cut and I paid him 20% of my purse but he still didn’t take it.

The reason why I didn’t make weight is because I thought I would have another run at the scale but I didn’t know we had an hour where we could weigh in as much as we wanted. I thought I would get another 2 hours to cut after the weigh-ins but they had a one hour window for you to weigh in and make weight and during that hour if you don’t make weight then you’ve missed weight.

That’s not an excuse, I still didn’t make weight and that’s my fault and it won’t happen again.

Sports Rants: Did you expect the fight versus Lukasz Witos to go the way it did? How much did you know about him when taking the fight?

Fakhreddine: I guess yeah I expected the fight to go that way. I was ready and very angry because my fight with Mafra didn’t happen so I guess I took my anger out on the wrong person.

Photo by Brave MMA

Sports Rants: Brave is considering a 4 man welterweight tournament to crown a champion and have thrown names like yourself, Carl Booth and Tahar Hadbi. Have you heard anything about this and what are your thoughts on it?

Fakhreddine: This is the first time I hear about the tournament. I’m ready to do whatever and fight whoever for the right reasons and right numbers. If Brave wants to do a tournament to crown a champ at welterweight I have no problem fighting anyone anytime but for the right number.

Sports Rants: Would you like to fight Mafra next? Are you hoping he’ll be part of the welterweight tournament?

Fakhreddine: If Brave says they want me to fight Mafra next then he’s my next victim.

Sports Rants: Brave is proving to be a truly global promotion, what’s it like getting to fight all over the world and what is your dream country to fight in?

Fakhreddine: It’s an honour and a pleasure to fight for Brave. They have a lot of great fighters and the fact that it’s global, that only makes it better. I love the situation and the trips, it’s always good to visit new places and I’m hoping to fight on the next Brazil card. Brazil is a dream for me to visit and I’m really hoping to fight there.

I also want to thank Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad and Mohamed Shahid and everyone else in Brave for making sure we get to the next level and the matchmaker Yousef Nassar for making sure I fought in Kazakhstan. If it wasn’t for his hard work, I would’ve ended up with no fight.

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Surveillance Video Shows Conor McGregor Smash Phone

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In a new video released by TMZ Sports, UFC star is shown knocking a phone down and smashing it in front of the Fountainebleau hotel located in Miami, Florida.

In true McGregor fashion, he followed up the destruction of the phone by doing his famous “billionaire strut.”

McGregor got into an altercation with Ahmed Abdirzak who was following and filming McGregor with his cell phone while McGregor and his entourage were leaving the hotel.

McGregor reportedly extended his hand to offer a hand shake, only to pull it back and smack the phone out of Abdirzak’s hand and proceeding to stomp on it.

After a few stomps, McGregor picks up the phone and walks away. He was later arrested, that same day, and has been charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor criminal mischief, which could land him in prison for up to 6 years.

McGregor has pled not guilty on all charges and is scheduled for trial beginning in May.

Abdirzak filed a lawsuit against McGregor stemming from the incident, but dropped his suit after the two sides worked out a settlement.

Abdirzak was reportedly demanding north of $15,000.

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INTERVIEW: John Kavanagh Talks Brave CF 13 in Belfast, Frans Mlambo’s Title Fight and SBG Ireland

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Renowned head coach of SBG Ireland, John Kavanagh has helped put Irish MMA on the map. With his star student and multiple time UFC champion, Conor McGregor taking over the MMA world, the two have opened up unlimited doors for the rest of the team.

Today, Kavanagh is leading some of the younger generation to world title fights and global organisations. On June 9th, one of his promising young fighters, Frans Mlambo will get a shot at gold when he takes on Stephen Loman for the Brave Combat Federation bantamweight title.

The two met back in the promotion’s first ever show in Bahrain when Loman picked up a unanimous decision win over Mlambo. It was a learning experience for the young South African who has picked up 3 straight finishes since. Kavanagh is confident that the former IMMAF world champion, Mlambo has all the tools to become champion.

Also competing on the Brave CF 13 card from SBG Ireland, is Cian Cowley (0-1) who takes on Daniel Olejniczak (2-1-1) and Tommy Martin (6-4) who takes on Wales’ Aidan James (1-0).

I spoke to John Kavanagh on the upcoming Brave CF 13 show, Mlambo’s improvements and the team’s preparation for their upcoming bouts. Check out the interview below.

Farah Hannoun: Brave Combat Federation are making their first trip to Europe, you’ve witnessed the organization’s growth so how excited are you to see them go to Belfast?

John Kavanagh: Brave is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest MMA shows so it’s of course great to have them visit Ireland. However, I would have preferred Dublin because that’s my hometown.

Farah Hannoun: Frans Mlambo is headlining the event, with a record of 5-2, he’s practically grown up in the cage, how proud are to see him turn things around with 3 straight finishes since losing to Loman the first time?

John Kavanagh: He’s earned that title shot with exciting finishes both by submission and KO. He’s finding his way in the cage nicely now.

Photo by Brave CF

Farah Hannoun: What adjustments has Mlambo made since the first fight with Loman? What do you feel like went wrong the first-time round?

John Kavanagh: His grappling was too weak back then. He’s one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen and now his grappling is catching up. Frans is one of the top 135lb fighters in the world.

Farah Hannoun: Cian Cowley is set to make the walk for the second time in his pro career when he takes on Daniel Olejniczak, in light of the legal issues he’s had the misfortune of dealing with, how hard was it for him to put all that aside and focus on the fight?

Photo by Severe MMA

John Kavanagh: Cian is very mature and focused. It’s not a problem for him to block out what’s going on outside.

Farah Hannoun: Also competing from SBG, is Tommy Martin who’s looking to bounce back when he takes on Aidan James, how’s he been looking at the gym and what can we expect from him?

John Kavanagh: Tommy is a technician. Clean striking, one of best doubles on my team and tidy on the ground. His opponent is similar, solid technician. This fight will be very interesting for those who like nice technique.

Farah Hannoun: You’ve played a massive role in the growth of Irish MMA, SBG and Conor McGregor. The impact that you and Conor have had has resulted in a lot of opportunities and a spotlight on the guys at the gym. Does the idea that people have the perception that the SBG guys get “special treatment” or extra opportunities bother you?

John Kavanagh: No, we’ve earned it 😉

Farah Hannoun: You must be really proud, bringing up a talent such as Frans from his IMMAF world champion days to now him getting a title shot at Brave CF, what are your thoughts on Frans as an individual and a fighter?

John Kavanagh: One of few 135lbs in the world with genuine 1 punch KO power. A very good singer and cook too!

Farah Hannoun: You wrote a mega successful book, Win or Learn, which is even a quote that people have been using a lot when competing in MMA. Your best-selling book was even translated to multiple languages and sold internationally which is incredible. Did you expect the book to be so successful when writing it and do you have plans on writing another one someday?

Photo via John Kavanagh Twitter

John Kavanagh: No, I thought maybe my mother would buy a few copies and that’d be it haha. I believe almost 50,000 sold worldwide and talk of a movie adaptation. It’s crazy. Maybe one more book when I’m retired.

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After his impressive finish over Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, Vicente Luque eyeing Darren Till

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When Luan Chagas was forced out of his fight versus Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, The UFC called Vicente Luque and he happily accepted.

He stepped in on short notice and took out one of the toughest surging welterweights in Niko Price.

He hurt Price with a counter right before locking in one of his favourite submissions, the D’arce choke. This marked Luque’s 5th win in 6 UFC outings making him one of the brightest young stars in the division.

“I wanted to go out there and have an impressive fight,” Luque said.

“I thought that was very important especially that I was coming off a 4 fight win streak then I had a loss so I wanted to keep that momentum. I think I did that and it definitely puts me back where I was before going after those top 15 guys.”

He now turns his attention to a fellow rising star, Darren Till. Till took out Cowboy Cerrone in the first round last month in Gdansk and Luque feels he would match up well with him.

“I would really like to fight Darren Till,” Luque said. “He’s a great striker and his last fight was really impressive against Cowboy. I’m a striker as well and I would love to test my striking and see who the best striker in the division is.”

Photo by Jeffrey Basinger

And should the UFC decide to go a different direction, Luque would be content fighting anyone in the top 15. With 5 wins and 5 finishes in the division, he feels he’s earned a high ranked opponent or a big name.

“I want a top 15 opponent for sure but if they don’t give me that I’ll be looking for someone with a big name,” Luque said. “Guys like Alan Jouban who already have a name and everybody knows who they are. Those are the guys that I want to be fighting.”

Another name Luque is interested in is Colby Covington who fought on the same card as him. Covington took out former title challenger Demian Maia and proceeded to cut a heavy promo, blasting the Brazilian crowd.

Covington’s harsh and controversial comments towards Brazil didn’t sit well for Luque who sees multiple benefits of fighting him.

“I definitely think that was disrespectful not only to Brazilians but to anybody that watches MMA,” Luque said. “I don’t think that’s the posture of an athlete. I don’t take it personally but I would love to fight him no matter what whether he was disrespectful or not because he’s a top contender.”

The welterweight division is arguably the most talked about division. With rising stars such as Darren Till, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Mike Perry, Luque feels like his name should be thrown in the mix too.

“I think I’m getting up there and slowly getting my spot. I’m having good fights and I know what I’m capable of and that’s what I’m trying to show. I’m doing my thing and I feel that my fights speak for themselves.”

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