Last year's announcement of Jordan's Izzedine Al-Derbani signing with BRAVE Combat Federation created quite a stir among BRAVE Nation supporters.
The acquisition of the "Palestinian Samurai" raised eyebrows. It was a win-win situation, as the former Desert Force Featherweight interim champion's draw-card potential would further boost BRAVE CF's stable while providing the Jordanian with an opportunity to amplify and publicise his expertise and star power on the world's largest MMA organisation.
When word came out that the sole athlete to knockout BRAVE CF top contender, Hamza Kooheji, had signed with BRAVE Combat Federation, the Bantam and Featherweight categories took note. Izzedine's electrifying and dangerous stand-up fighting technique is a perfect complement for his attitude. The man is a dream signing who adds to the attractiveness of any foreign fight card since he is loud, gregarious, and full of verve.
However, the Arabian star's BRAVE CF debut did not go as planned, as he was defeated by world-renowned and former Flyweight title contender Jose "Shorty" Torres via unanimous decision.
The reality of being outwrestled over three rounds was a discouraging start to his BRAVE CF debut, and the enthusiastic Al-Derbani - used to doing big and flamboyant things - was eager to leave his imprint on the fastest-growing MMA brand.
True to form, Al-Derbani won his first BRAVE CF race in style and made history at BRAVE CF 70 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, this past weekend. Al-Derbani became the first guy to submit Colombia's star youngster Eduardo Mora, as well as the first athlete to defeat the Colombian by BRAVE CF stoppage. It was an even sweeter moment because it was the "Palestinian Samurai's" first-ever ninja-choke submission in his 16-fight career.
Given the wars the former has been in, the victory over Mora will do wonders for Al-Derbani's standing in the 135-pound class. Colombia's Road to BRAVE CF champion went the distance with BRAVE CF's cream of the crop and top-ranked Bantamweights, defeating South Africa's Nkosi Ndebele and Bahrain's Kooheji in three rounds.
Despite being on the losing end of two decisions, both outcomes demonstrated Mora's toughness in comparison to his opponents.
The fact that Al-Derbani stepped up in his second BRAVE CF fight, doing something no other BRAVE CF athlete could do, speaks volumes about his potential in the BRAVE CF Bantamweight division and sheds 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.
What do you think of the story? Let us know in the comments below.