Brave Combat Federation will crown their first ever welterweight champion in Curitiba, Brazil when Carl Booth and Mohammad Fakhreddine throw down on August 12th.
The matchup is a long time coming as Fakhreddine has been calling Booth out since Brave 2. With both fighters scoring multiple big wins under the banner, they have emerged as the promotion’s top 2 welterweights.
Booth is coming off a controversial no contest versus Tahar Hadbi, a fight that was originally scored in his favour. In what was originally scheduled to be a 5 round main event fight, was eventually changed to a three round fight on the night. The confusion led to Booth’s decision win to be overturned and scored a no contest.
Despite the slight blemish on his near perfect pro MMA record, his performances in his last fight and his knockout win over Gadzhimusa Gadzhiev have earned Booth a title shot at Brave 8.
Lebanon’s Fakhreddine has competed twice for Brave, taking out two opponents in just two months. He most recently stepped in on short notice at Brave 6 in Kazakhstan, finishing Lukasz Witos in the first round.
Booth and Fakhreddine will co-headline a championship double header in Curitiba, in one of the most anticipated fights this year. I spoke to Booth on the title fight versus Fakhreddine, the controversial end versus Hadbi and fighting all over the globe. Check it out below.
Sports Rants: You’re about 3 weeks away from your big title fight, how are you feeling going into this one and how’s the weight cut going?
Carl Booth: This training camp has probably been the best one out of all of the ones I’ve had on Brave. I’m feeling really good, I’m lean at the moment, I haven’t got a lot of weight to cut for this fight.
Sports Rants: You’re co-headlining the show for a chance to become the promotion’s first ever welterweight champion, how much does it mean to you that Brave want to introduce the title through you?
Carl Booth: It means a lot. I’ve really wanted this belt. Obviously it’s a new show and they didn’t have a champion and I realised it would be great to go down as the first ever champion so yeah it means a lot.
Sports Rants: You’ve fought in Europe, the Middle East, India in your last fight and now Brazil, how excited are you to get to compete in front of one of the most passionate and knowledgeable crowds in MMA?
Carl Booth: I’m really excited. When they first announced Brazil the last time I was on their case, I was like get me on that show but it didn’t happen. This time around, they said it right away, you’re going to fight for the title and I was stoked.
Sports Rants: Your last fight ended in a no contest in a rather bizarre situation, what’s your take on what went down with Hadbi?
Carl Booth: I don’t think it should have been a no contest. They had already announced it as a win and they announced the fight as a three round fight on the day. I don’t know if it was the federation at the end that was at fault. For me on the actual day I thought maybe Hadbi had a point and that the fight may have been close or something so he thought he could have won in the next three rounds and I watched the fight back and was like no way. I didn’t see him win a round so I wasn’t impressed with him ranting out about it.
There’s definitely unfinished business. It’s a fight I’ll be up for in the future but it’s not something I wanted to do straight away. As Brave already told me, if I win my first two fights there’s a chance I could be fighting for the title so I had that in my mind anyway. Plus Fakhreddine had already called me out quite a while back so that was on my cards as well. For me it seemed like a sideways step to fight the same guy twice.
Sports Rants: What was your whole fight week experience like in India and the opportunity to main event in an ever growing MMA market?
Carl Booth: The fight Week in India was awesome. The fans there were mixing up with us, talking to us and everyone wanted photos. I can see that they’re going to grow it really well over there. I was impressed with the fighters as well, the Indian fighters. Obviously going to some of their gyms and seeing where they train. The level of dedication it must take for people from there to be coming to the gym, it’s a hot country and some of the people there aren’t well off. If you really want to focus on your MMA it’s a hard struggle. I’m really happy that they got to see me as the main event.
Sports Rants: Let’s shift the focus to Moe Fakhreddine, what do you think of him as an opponent and where do you feel like he’s most dangerous?
Carl Booth: He’s a worthy opponent. I’ve been watching his fights and where he’s most dangerous I think probably on top control on the ground but I see a lot of openings in the fight. To be honest he wants to fight with me but I don’t think it’s a great fight for him. I’ve got the more accurate shots and more variety I think as well. It’s definitely going to be an exciting fight for everybody to watch. He’s aggressive, I’m aggressive and I think it’ll be awesome.
He did call me out initially. I had asked him to fight but then he asked for a warm up fight or something which I wasn’t too impressed about. Then he went and fought some other guy, missed weight and I wasn’t really impressed with that either. I’m excited to get the fight on with him, he wanted it and you have to be careful what you ask for so you can expect a 100% Carl Booth coming on the night.
Sports Rants: Are you impressed with his last couple of performances and what he’s done under the Brave banner?
Carl Booth: Yeah they were good, they were good quick finishes. Kind of what I expect from him though, that’s his style he runs in and tries to get the job done as quickly as possible. I wouldn’t say I was impressed but I’d give it the nod, it was alright and makes him a worthy opponent.
Sports Rants: Tell me a little bit about this training camp, I saw a recent post of you training with Paul Daley.
Carl Booth: Paul is a good friend of mine, we’ve trained with each other for quite a few years and he’s a perfect training partner for somebody like Fakhreddine. This training camp I’ve been focusing on sharpening up, making sure I wasn’t too high on my weight so I didn’t have to focus too much on my fitness rather than my actual skill set. On the night you’ll see a better version of what you’ve seen before. I won’t be as hesitant because I’ll be sparring more and stuff. I’ll be a lot more accurate.
Sports Rants: Finally how does the fight go down, how do you get the job done?
Carl Booth: Surgical precision. I’m just going to take him out. Whatever opportunities I see, whether it’s a sub, it’s a knockout, if it’s a TKO I’m going to do it. Whatever happens on the night, I’m the kind of guy, I see an opportunity, I take it.
Surveillance Video Shows Conor McGregor Smash Phone
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.
INTERVIEW: John Kavanagh Talks Brave CF 13 in Belfast, Frans Mlambo’s Title Fight and SBG Ireland
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.
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?
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?
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.
After his impressive finish over Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, Vicente Luque eyeing Darren Till
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.”
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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