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A chance for ’The Pride of Algeria’ to shine again

Mohamed ‘L’Ambiance’ Said Maalem (pictured left) and Mohammad ’The Latest’ Fakhreddine (right) will be able to settle the score tomorrow at Brave CF 57. Photo: Brave CF

Mohamed ‘L’Ambiance’ Said Maalem (pictured left) and Mohammad ’The Latest’ Fakhreddine (right) will be able to settle the score tomorrow at Brave CF 57. Photo: Brave CF

Published Mar 9, 2022

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Cape Town — Mohamed ‘L’Ambiance’ Said Maalem will be hoping that his next trip home won’t be marred with controversy and heartbreak.

Despite enjoying a beautiful experience on his last visit to Algeria, Said Maalem’s moment was unfortunately brought to a grinding halt after news that his win over Mohammad “The Latest” Fakhreddine for the vacant light heavyweight championship at Brave CF52 was overturned.

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Said Maalem was informed that the Italian Federation of Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts — the sanctioning body tasked to supervise the vacant championship bout — decided to overturn the outcome of the match following a thorough investigation.

The result of the fight originally had Said Maalem winning by stoppage in the first round, however, it was found that there were illegal strikes made by Said Maalem on Fakhreddine in the final sequence, something that contributed to the stoppage of the match in the fourth minute of round one which took place in August last year.

Said Maalem (11-3) stated that — despite the disappointing news — he will always cherish that homecoming.

“After my victory against Fakhreddine, I got a lot of requests and calls, support from everybody back in Algeria. I was in the news, and I even got messages from renowned athletes. I was happy with their reactions, support and engagement. I did not expect to be welcomed by the minister of sports and youth, by athletes, by fans, by journalists. They all came to see me at the airport,” he recalled.

“People were hosting parties for me. They were telling me, ‘you’re the champion, you’re the pride of Algeria, you’re the best Algerian fighter that Algeria ever knew’,” enthused Said Maalem who could not stop crooning over the memorable trip to Annaba, the city where he spent most of his childhood.

“I went to Annaba, my hometown, and I saw my pictures on the walls. Families and their kids came to celebrate. They invited me to dinner at their homes. It was a celebration like no other. I’ve never experienced it before,” added the “Pride of Algeria”.

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Now, “L’Ambience” has the chance to reignite that flame with his motherland by solidifying his status in the light heavyweight division this weekend in the rematch when he takes on Brave CF’s middleweight champion and Lebanon’s Fakhreddine (14-4) once again for the unoccupied 205-pound throne.

Said Maalem made it clear that he plans to humble Fakhreddine when they meet again.

The bad blood between the two stemmed from their canceled fight at BRAVE CF 50 in April 2021 when Fakhreddine opted to pull out of the contest due to illness. The war of words on social media and in person ensued soon afterwards.

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Said Maalem and Fakhreddine had the opportunity to settle the score at BRAVE CF 52: Bad Blood four months later, but to compound the misery, it ended in controversy.

According to the Brave CF promotion, Fakhreddine has cried foul over the officiating of the match and let Said Maalem know about it.

However, the Algerian brute has had enough of it.

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“Fakhreddine is known for arguing. This isn’t the first time. He said the referee wasn’t up to standard, once he said I hit him under the belt, and he also said that I hit behind the head. I won and after three weeks, the results were overturned,” Said Maalem stressed.

“This has never happened in the history of MMA to change a result after three weeks. But it’s okay. On March 11, I am going to end this story.”

The fight will be the co-main event of the card which takes place at the Khalifa Sports City Arena in Isa Town, Bahrain this Friday. Brave CF57 will also form part of the exciting 2022 edition of the BRAVE International Combat Week which will also play host to the new MMA Super Cup that will determine who the best MMA nation is.

BRAVE CF 57 Fight Card

Main Card

Bantamweight title fight: Hamza Kooheji (11-2) v Brad Katona (10-2)

Light Heavyweight title fight: Mohammad Fakhreddine (MW-C, 14-4, 2 NC) v Mohamed Said Maalem (11-3, 1 NC)

Lightweight interim title fight: Abdisalam Uulu Kubanychbek (18-3) v Cleiton Silva (15-3)

Super Welterweight fight: Nursulton Ruziboev (32-8-2, 2 NC) v Luis Felipe Dias (14-3)

Lightweight: Sam Patterson (8-1-1) v Khunkar-Pasha Osmaev (10-6-1)

Lightweight: Kamil Magomedov (14-2) v TBD

Preliminary Card

Flyweight: Asu Almabaev (14-2) v Imram Magaramov (4-0)

Lightweight: Husein Kadimagomaev (8-1) v Agshin Babaev (22-7, 1 NC)

Light Heavyweight: Murtaza Talha (4-0) v Mikheil Sazhiniani (7-1)

Bantamweight: Mohamed Farhad (12-3) v Maysara Mohamed (5-0)

Catchweight 59kg: Magomed Idrisov (4-0) v Rahmatullah Yousufzai (4-0)

Bantamweight: Abdullah Al Yaqoob (1-0) v Omar Emad (3-2)

Amateur Lightweight: Hussain Muhammad (1-0 AM) v Adon Ayoub (2-1 AM)

@juliankiewietz

IOL Sport

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