The MMA Specialists of the Arab World
Mixed Martial Arts is an enthralling sport as it combines fighting techniques and styles from different nations and cultures. The pinnacle league for this action packed sport is the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC includes participants from all over the world from America to Russia and from Africa to East Asia. However, did you know that there are also people from Arab nations that are beginning to make a name for themselves in the UFC and Mixed Martial Arts? Below are three Arab UFC fighters and prospects who are famous for their fighting abilities today.
Jarrah Al-Silawi: “The Jordanian Lion”
Jarrah Al-Silawi is from Jordan and is known as the “Jordanian Lion”. According to arabsmma.com, Jarrah was one of the pioneers of Arabs entering the octagon. He has been one of the most famous fighters promoting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) throughout the Middle East. Interestingly, he was born, raised, and received his MMA training all without leaving the Kingdom of Jordan. He is currently 28 years old and is in the Middleweight division with a record of (15-3-0). This means that he has had 15 wins, 3 losses, and 0 draws, according to tapology.com.
He also received the Welterweight Championship in the BRAVE Combat Federation, the largest promoter of MMA in the Middle East, against Carlston Harris on September 21,2018. What makes Al-Silawi so great is his ability to strategize and play on his opponents’ weaknesses and strengths. This has allowed him to stand up against a host of fighters utilizing different styles of boxing, wrestling, and grappling. His impressive abilities and background has made Al-Silawi, arguably, the most popular fighter in the Arab World. It has earned him a dedicated fan bases in the region as well. At still a relatively young age, Al-Silawi will make his impact known for quite some time. He will thus be a strong candidate for a future UFC debut.
Mounir Lazzez: “The Sniper”
Despite Al-Silawi being one of the pioneers and best fighters of MMA in the region, Mounir Lazzez has been one of the first Arabs to advance to the UFC. Nicknamed “The Sniper”, Mounir Lazzez is of Tunisian heritage from the city of Sfax. He currently trains at Team Nogueira in Dubai, UAE. He is in the welterweight division of the UFC with a record of (10-2-0). He uses his fast footwork and impressive stamina to succeed against his opponents. Of these ten wins, eight have been won by knockout. This accounts for eighty percent of his victories in MMA according to UFC.com. Lazzez first debuted in the UFC in July 2020 on “Fight Island”,Yas Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi. There, he won his first ever UFC match against Abdul Razak Alhassan according to UFC.com.
Being from Tunisia and trained in the UAE, Lazzez is proud to be from the Arab World. People across the region appreciate him as a native born MMA fighter in the area. Lazzez has explained that as a representative of the Middle East, he wants to perform his best whenever the UFC has events in the region according to UFC.com.
Today, Mounir Lazzez is one of the best fighters coming out of the Arab World. He has become so dominant that some Arab news stations have been calling him, “The Middle Eastern Conor McGregor”. In fact, it only took some of his highlight plays to convince Dana White, president of the UFC, to offer Lazzez a contract. Lazzez will no doubt showcase his talents further in the years to come. He has even stated that he wants a name even more impressive than the “Middle Eastern Conor McGregor,” according to talksport.com.
Ali Al-Qaisi: “The Royal Fighter
Ali Al-Qaisi, nicknamed “The Royal Fighter”, also made his UFC debut on Fight Island in October of the same year. Similar to Al-Silawi, Ali Al-Qaisi is of Jordanian nationality and currently lives in Amman, Jordan when he’s not fighting abroad. Ali Al-Qaisi has a record of (8-5-0) and is currently in the BantamWeight Division. Ali Al-Qaisi first became interested in martial arts when he was around 25 years old. Like Al-Silawi, Al-Qaisi had also joined the BRAVE Combat Federation before joining the UFC.
Analogous to Lazzez, Al-Qaisi has explained how proud he is to serve Arabs around the world, and Jordan in particular. This level of devotion between Al-Qaisi and his fellow Arabs can be seen before his UFC debut fight. He received countless messages of support from them, according to arabnews.com. However, it is his father who was the largest inspiration in his life. His father, as explained by Al-Qaisi, had to leave school to help his grandfather. He was then recruited into the Jordanian army, where he would leave the country and die abroad. However, his father taught Al-Qaisi valuable lessons of family through his hard work in the service of his loved ones according to UFC.com. Since then, he has fought and tried to make not only Arabs but also his father proud in his quest for greatness.
These three fighters have made large leaps and bounds in the world of martial arts. Two of them have just joined the UFC as of last year, becoming the first Arabs to join the organization. Ali Al-Qaisi believed that the entry of himself and Mounir Lazzez into the UFC, as well as roles played by other Arab fighters such as Al-Silawi, will help pave the way for the UFC to focus more attention on the Arab World. It will also no doubt motivate other young Arab martial artists who want to make a career in the UFC and bring pride to their people.
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