Emirati MMA star Mohammad Yahya targets Bellator clash with Aaron Chalmers in Dubai

Alex Rea 27/03/2019
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Mohammad Yahya (Credit: Bellator MMA)

Emirati MMA fighter Mohammad Yahya is plotting a compelling encounter with television personality and fellow Bellator star Aaron Chalmers in Dubai.

The 24-year-old created history for the UAE two years ago when he signed a four-fight contract with Bellator to become the first Emirati to join an international MMA promotion.

Yahya, who fights out of TK MMA Gym based in Dubai, made his debut late in 2017 and secured an emphatic first-round finish of Ash Griffiths.

However, after entering the bout with a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury, the high of victory was followed by the low of surgery.

Out of action for 15 months, Yahya makes his long-awaited return to the Bellator cage on Saturday May 4 to face Gavin Hughes in the 155lbs division at Bellator Birmingham: Primus vs. Wilde live on the Bellator app.

And Yahya is ready to create some noise through his fists having been called out by Chalmers, star of the MTV hit show Geordie Shore, last summer.

“I haven’t seen the call-out on Twitter but I hope he did because that’s one guy I would really like to fight,” Yahya told Sport360.

“Hopefully after this one we can get that done. Maybe we could do it in Dubai? That would be a great fight for Bellator to bring a card to the UAE and have a big fight here.

“I see him as the perfect opponent for that.

“I believe I can beat him in every aspect, so I hope he is calling me out and after this fight, let’s get that done me versus Aaron Chalmers in Dubai.”

The call-out emerged after Chalmers secured a victory of his own over Yahya’s debut opponent Griffiths, via first-round Guillotine Choke.

And despite the Briton fighting at welterweight, a division above the Emirati’s lightweight limit, Yahya is determined to get the bout made providing he comes through  against Liverpool’s Hughes.

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“It’s a fight which makes sense, though. My team wants me to fight him,” he explained.

“I think he fights in the division above me so maybe I would have to come up to 170lbs or maybe it could be catchweight. It doesn’t matter, any weight I’ll fight him.”

First, though, Yahya, who will make his seventh professional outing, must navigate a very tricky encounter with Hughes on May 4.

The British fighter is competing for the first time since being knocked out by Martin van Staden last March and will be making his debut for Bellator.

It was Hughes’ first loss having gathered a record of nine wins but Yahya is in confident mood as he enters the bout free of injury.

“In my last fight, there’s not a massive amount you can tell about my style,” he said.

“I was 50 percent, I literally went into it with a torn ACL and I still made the fight look easy.

“Naturally with the injury I showed some weaknesses in my game but I need to get back in the mix after my big recovery, I need a couple of fights under my belt.

Mohammad Yahya (Credit: Bellator MMA)

Mohammad Yahya (Credit: Bellator MMA)

“Hopefully this fight goes well and I get the win, but I don’t know if anything has been discussed but obviously there are plans for Bellator to come to Dubai one day.

“That would be amazing for me because it would open up so many doors, but it would also be amazing for Bellator to get coverage in the Middle East.

“They love combat sports in Dubai and in the UAE so it’s a good place to do an event.”

Watch Mohammad Yahya in action against Gavin Hughes at Bellator Birmingham: Primus vs. Wilde live on the Bellator app on Saturday, May 4.

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Reign MMA Championship: New promotion to launch in Dubai with blockbuster event

Dan Owen 29/01/2019
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SBG's John Kavanagh

A new MMA promotion is launching in Dubai – and will feature some of Europe’s best amateur talent on a blockbuster opening card.

Reign MMA Championship is the brainchild of Core, a production company who brought the World’s Ultimate Strongman event to Dubai last year.

This latest venture will see its first event in early March and will showcase amateur talent from Ireland and Poland in a head-to-head team battle.

Ireland will be represented by the world-famous Straight Blast Gym (SBG), headed up by coach John Kavanagh.

The gym is home to The Notorious Conor McGregor, the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion, along with elite stars Artem Lobov and Gunnar Nelson.

While the professionals will not be fighting in Dubai, the Irish are sure to bring a strong team over to perform in front of what is likely to be a large, partisan crowd backing the men in green.

“This is a unique opportunity for SBG and our fighters. It’s going to be a really tough night, but we will take a strong team to Dubai, with one intention – winning,” said coach Kavanagh.

“Our team will have some of the best up and coming fighters around, and this event will be a fantastic experience for them.

“It’s great to see Dubai expanding its hosting of MMA, are we are excited to be part of this inaugural event with Reign MMA Championship”

Martin Lewandowski

Martin Lewandowski

Their opponents will be some of the best amateur fighters from Eastern Europe in the form of MMA Poland Association and their chief, Martin Lewandowski.

Lewandowski is a household name on the MMA circuit, having founded KSW, an MMA promotion based in Poland considered to be one of the strongest in Europe.

He’s now assembling a team of the country’s best amateurs to head to the Middle East.

“I am both excited and proud we have been invited as MMA Poland Association, and that we can make our debut at such a unique event,” said Lewandowski.

“We hope that this is just the beginning of a long-term association with Reign MMA Championship. It is very important to invest in amateur fights for the development of MMA as a whole.

“In Dubai, we will show the strength of Polish fighters. Our team is ready to take up the challenge. Dubai, here we come!”

Don Idrees Owner/CEO at Core Worldwide says they are looking to make a serious impact on the MMA scene.

“This is a hugely exciting venture, and what better way to kick things off than to host some of the best amateur talent Europe has to offer.

“We want to put on a show, the like of which the Middle East has never seen in terms of the quality of fights.

“Dubai is expanding rapidly when it comes to top class sporting events, and we hope to be at the heart of that.

The date and location of the inaugural Reign MMA Championship event will be released in the coming weeks.

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Floyd Mayweather tells UFC's Nurmagomedov to 'come to my world' for lucrative bout

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Floyd Mayweather has told UFC’s Khabib Nurmagomedov to “come to my world” in challenging the Russian to step into the boxing ring for a fight which the American estimates could earn him 200million US dollars (£152.6million).

Mayweather says his purse for the fight could be double what he earned from a similar showdown with Conor McGregor in 2017.

Nurmagomedov beat McGregor in mixed martial arts in Las Vegas last weekend before calling out Mayweather, who says the fight must take place in the Nevada city.

“Oh, we fighting. He called me out. So, he gotta come to my world,” Mayweather, 41, told TMZ Sports.

“I’m my own boss. So, I can’t say what’s going on on Khabib’s end. But, on my end, we can make it happen.

“When I face Khabib I’m getting a nine-figure payday. It’s more than the McGregor fight. Probably 100m US dollars more, guaranteed.

“I’m going to say somewhere between 110m and 200m US dollars guaranteed.”

Nurmagomedov extended his perfect professional mixed martial arts record to 27-0 and retained his UFC lightweight title with a stunning fourth-round submission victory over McGregor in a fight which ended in controversy and a mass brawl.

 Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Conor McGregor earlier this month

Khabib Nurmagomedov beat Conor McGregor earlier this month


McGregor made a brief foray into boxing last year to take on Mayweather, who moved to 50-0 in the paid ranks by stopping the Irishman in the 10th round of their highly lucrative showdown.

Former multi-weight champion Mayweather was unable to knock McGregor down, which Nurmagomedov did over the course of the October 6 bout at the T-Mobile Arena before forcing his bitter rival to tap out.

Nurmagomedov told Mayweather “in the jungle there is only one king” in requesting a bout.

And Mayweather’s response warned Nurmagomedov to behave on fight night, with the Russian’s purse from the McGregor fight withheld by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after he leapt over the cage and attacked a member of McGregor’s team.

Mayweather said: “Vegas is the fighting capital and after the fight you have to conduct yourself like a true professional, not just in the ring, but outside the ring also.”

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