The largest event to take place in Europe, the BRAVE Serbia International Combat Week, will have the greatest impact on mixed martial arts. The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), Serbian Mixed Martial Arts Federation, and BRAVE Combat Federation are collaborating to stage the combat sports festival in Belgrade, Serbia, from February 11 to February 18. (SMMAF).
The degree of support provided by the Serbian government to the sport in recent weeks has been hailed as the first of its type for mixed martial arts in Europe.
The Serbian Minister of Sports, Mr. Zoran Gaji, declared mixed martial arts to be a sport and announced its inclusion in Serbia's sports development strategy during the launch press conference last week.
According to Mohammed Shahid, president of BRAVE CF, additional European nations are likely to follow that lead. As a result, the business sector will be involved in the sport of MMA in these countries, fostering the growth of the MMA industry on a continental scale.
He recently stated that the Kingdom of Bahrain, which was supported by His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, is an example of how the impact of BRAVE International Combat Week can be seen.
This government support snowballed onto the Middle East and eventually into Asia, with government from other nations following Bahrain's lead and including MMA in their sport development programmes. According to Mr. Shahid, Serbia will see the similar snowball effect in Europe.
On February 11, the IMMAF World Championships, the biggest edition of the top amateur MMA competition in the world, will begin in Belgrade. More than 500 athletes from more than 60 countries are anticipated to compete.
The celebrations will peak on February 18 when BRAVE Combat Federation launches its 2023 campaign with BRAVE CF 69. The event will feature a unification fight in the light heavyweight division, featuring interim world champion Abdisalam Kubanychbek vs. top contender Kamil Magomedov for the lineal world title at 155 pounds.
Two of Serbia's biggest-ever stars will return home on fight night when they face off against Shamil Gaziev and Aleksandar Ilic, respectively. Darko Stosic will fight for the first time on Serbian soil since September 2017 while Aleksandar Ilic will face Marcin Naruszcka for the first time since April 2018.
The IMMAF World Championships' top fighters, including world champions Fergus Jenkins (New Zealand), Sabrina Sousa (Bahrain), and Yersultan Shakenbay (Kazakhstan), are prominently featured on the official poster for the BRAVE Serbia International Combat Week.
Along with them are the professional athletes who will compete on the BRAVE CF 69 fight card, including Abdullah Al-Qahtani of Saudi Arabia, Mahmoud Sebie of Egypt, and the aforementioned interim champion Kubanychbek.