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

According to Gustavo Firmino, Vice President of Fight Operations at PFL MENA, the event, in Riyadh, will feature the best lightweight and welterweight fighters in the region.

“PFL MENA 2 is without a doubt the biggest fight card in the history of the Middle East,” said Firmino.

“We have rounded up the best lightweight and welterweight fighters the Middle East has to offer. They will compete in the PFL league format, where every fight counts and is decisive for each fighter to continue their journey to the title, adding another layer of excitement for the fans.

“Many of these fighters are established regional MMA champions or have strong backgrounds in other combat sports before making the transition to MMA. They will bring an incredible mix of skills and an unwavering desire to win.”

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

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

Another intriguing matchup features undefeated fighters Mohammad Alaaqra and Youcef Ouabbas. Firmino said: “Alaaqra has a strong background in judo and wrestling, trained at the AKA gym with Javier Mendez and completed his training at Khabib’s gym in Dagestan, Club Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.

As a disciple of Khabib, there is a lot of excitement for this PFL MENA debut. However, he will go up against the complete and undefeated Algerian fighter, Youcef Ouabbas, who has won several grappling championships in France.”

The PFL MENA lightweight division is loaded with talent. Firmino mentioned undefeated prospects such as Abdullah Saleem of Kuwait, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, and Omar Reguigui, the sambo black belt from Tunisia.

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

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

He sees the PFL MENA as part of the PFL’s overall goal of creating the MMA Champions League. “The PFL is a global power in MMA and the fastest growing sports league worldwide.

PFL MENA is part of the PFL’s overall vision to create the Champions League of MMA. We’ve built a strong roster of top talent from the MENA region, combining established champions and top prospects, making the 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 substantial growth of MMA in the Middle East, and PFL MENA is excited to showcase this untapped talent.

Firmino noted: “MMA has grown substantially worldwide in recent years, and particularly in the Middle East, with the rise of Saudi Arabia as the epicenter for combat sports. We believe this region has a lot of untapped talent like Hattan Alsaif who became a big star already 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 through the PFL Global season.”

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

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