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JEDDAH: PFL MENA 2, the Professional Fighters League’s landmark event in the Middle East and North Africa, will bring elite mixed martial arts to the region on July 12.

According to Gustavo Firmino, Vice President of Fighter Operations for PFL MENA, the Riyadh event will feature the best light and middleweight fighters in the area.

“PFL MENA 2 is arguably the biggest fight card in Middle East history,” said Firmino.

“We have collected the best light and light heavyweight fighters in the Middle East. They will be competing in the signature PFL league format, where every fight counts and it is crucial for each fighter to continue their journey towards the title, giving fans another thrill.

“Many of these fighters are regional MMA champions or have strong backgrounds in other combat sports before switching to MMA. They bring an incredible blend of skill and unwavering desire to win.”

One of the most anticipated matches is Amir Fazli vs. Badreddine Diani. Firmino called Fazli, a two-time wushu sanda world champion, “a definite force to be reckoned with. He’s riding a four-fight winning streak and is known for devastating first-round knockouts.

“Diani, a former UAE Warriors champion, brings a strong sambo base to the table. The clash of styles promises to be an explosive encounter.”

Another interesting clash is between unbeaten fighters Mohammad Alaaqra and Youcef Ouabbas. Firmino said: “Alaaqra has a strong judo and wrestling background, training at the AKA gym with Javier Mendez and completing his training at Khabib’s gym in Dagestan, the Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov Club.

As a student of Khabib, I am very excited to make this PFL MENA debut. However, he will take on the well-established and also undefeated Algerian fighter, Youcef Ouabbas, who has won multiple grappling championships in France.”

The PFL MENA lightweight division is loaded with talent. Firmino mentioned undefeated contenders such as Kuwait’s Abdullah Saleem, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, and Omar Reguigui, a Tunisian sambo black belt.

Firmino added: “Iranian Mohsen Seifi is probably the most decorated striker in the entire squad, with multiple world titles in wushu sanda. And we also have very experienced MMA fighters, including Josh Togo from Lebanon, a former champion of the UAE Warriors, Souhil Tahiri from Algeria, who is a very smart fighter and also has a degree in mathematics (PhD) – he always brings extremely exciting fights. And of course, we can’t forget the former BRAVE CF lightweight champion, Ahmed Amir. He is a proven force and I expect him to put on a great show. They all have impressive skills.”

Firmino said: “PFL MENA is deeply committed to promoting the growth of MMA across the region. By providing a platform for these talented athletes to compete on the global stage, we hope to inspire the next generation of fighters. We are also working hard to develop grassroots programs and educational initiatives to help the sport flourish at all levels.”

The PFL envisions MENA as part of the PFL’s overall goal of creating an MMA Champions League. “The PFL is a global MMA powerhouse and the fastest growing sports league worldwide.

PFL MENA is part of the PFL’s overall vision to create the MMA Champions League. We have built a strong roster with the best talent in the Middle East and North Africa region, with a mix of established champions and top up-and-coming prospects, making PFL MENA the best proving ground to determine who the best fighters in the region are.”

The rise of Saudi Arabia as a center for combat sports highlights the significant growth of MMA in the Middle East and PFL MENA is excited to showcase this untapped talent.

Firmino commented: “MMA has grown significantly worldwide in recent years, and particularly in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia becoming the epicenter of combat sports. We believe that this region has a lot of untapped talent, like Hattan Alsaif, who became a big star early in his MMA career. Through PFL MENA, we are excited to showcase the best MMA talent, providing a platform to create new regional stars who can later become global stars during the PFL Global Season.”

PFL MENA 2 will be a historic event with 24 fighters competing for the coveted playoff spot. Firmino concluded: “PFL MENA 2 will be a night written in the MMA history books in the Middle East. With 24 fighters competing for a coveted playoff spot, the intensity is off the charts. This event is a launching pad for future champions and you don’t want to miss it. Tune into MBC Action live on July 12 and witness history in the making.”

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