Lebanon’s Mohammad Fakhreddine helping to introduce MMA in Syria
When he’s not finishing fights inside the Brave cage, Welterweight star Mohammad Fakhreddine is helping the expansion of mixed martial arts in Middle East in other ways. Born in Lebanon to a Syrian mother, “The Latest” is helping Syria with the process of MMA legalisation. He’s been invited to hold seminars there as the country prepares to introduce MMA to its list of legal sports.
Fakhreddine has been in contact with Syrian martial artists through their muay thai federation and, after his lessons with local fighters, he was positively impressed with the level of their athletes.
“The Syrian Muay Thai Federation invited me to hold a few seminars there just as they’re preparing to open up MMA in the country and legalise it. Their people have been through a lot and need something to take their minds off of it. MMA is perfect for that. I was impressed with the level there. They’re all warriors during training, man. I feel like with the right coaching and direction we can see a lot of talent coming out of Syria really soon. It was a great experience”, said Fakhreddine, who has admitted he would like to fight in Syria one day.
“Man, that would be great. Syria is like a second country to me, the people are always very nice to me, and it looks very different from everything we see on TV. My mother is Syrian so I appreciate everything there. A Brave event in Syria would take things to another level there. It would be awesome.”
Mohammad Fakhreddine is one of Brave’s finest Welterweight fighters, boasting a 2-0 record within the organisation, knocking out Brazil’s Vinicius “Thunder” Cruz and Poland’s Lukasz Witos. His overall MMA record is 10-1 and is currently on a six-fight win streak.
Brave’s Thiago ‘Monstro’ on training with world champ Phil Davis: ‘I’m learning a lot’
After starting off his Brave career with two tough losses against Welterweight contenders Gadzhimusa Gadzhiev and Carlston Harris, Brazilian prospect Thiago “Monstro” Vieira jumped at the opportunity to spend some time with the world-renowned Alliance MMA Gym, in San Diego, California. Originally fighting out of 011 MMA Team, “Monstro” is helping Light Heavyweight veteran Phil Davis prepare for his world title defense next June.
The Brazilian is still representing 011 MMA, but says he welcomes the opportunity to train alongside the likes of Dominick Cruz, Brandon Vera and Phil Davis himself, who’s scheduled to fight Ryan Bader at Bellator 180.
“I’m basically helping Phil with drills and some sparring. It’s an honor for me to be chosen by coach Eric (Del Fierro) to participate in Phil’s camp. I’m learning a lot, the training here in America is very technical, focused on fundamentals and it’s been a great experience”, says Thiago, who’s also soaking in the wrestling prowess of Alliance MMA.
“They have so many great wrestlers here it’s crazy. Dominick Cruz is an amazing wrestler, which is surprising, because he has such a good standup game as well. And, of course, Phil Davis is a monster at wrestling”.
Thiago claims his ground game is something that he identified in his last two fights as an area to focus on his training. And the trip to San Diego has been profitable for him in that regard.
“Oh, man, it’s great to be among so many top guys at Alliance. I know that I have a lot of room for improvement on my ground game, and I’m focusing on that. At 011 MMA Team we have great training as well, but it’s good to get a different look sometimes. I’ll go back to Brazil a much better martial artist, for sure”.
Cristiano Souza on training with striking legend Andy Souwer: ‘Soaking everything in’
Flyweight Cristiano “Pequeno” Souza had an unforgettable Brave debut as he dismantled Mexico’s Cristian Quinonez with a second round TKO in front of his home crowd at Brave 3: Battle in Brazil. As he awaits for another fight, “Pequeno” has been training in the Netherlands with kickboxing legend Andy Souwer, who has won multiple titles and is widely regarded as one of the best fighters ever in the lighter weight divisions.
In Europe to corner his teammate Ariane Lipski, Souza took Souwer up on an offer he made a few years ago. After the Dutch held a seminar at Rasthai Temple, Pequeno’s home gym, he invited some of the fighters to train with him.
“Andy has been great to us. A few years ago we were all learning with him on a seminar at Rasthai and now we’re here training alongside him. This trip has been good for many reasons. It has given me a chance to get to know new cultures and new people, but also the opportunity to train with different fighters, who use different training methods. I feel like I’m growing up a lot as a fighter”, said “Pequeno”, who claims that training with Souwer isn’t just about striking.
“He’s been doing MMA for a while now too, so we train wrestling and jiu-jitsu at his gym as well. The Dutch are known for their kickboxing, but I’m also learning a lot in other disciplines. I’m just trying to soak everything I’m seeing”, commented the Brazilian, who has a professional record of seven wins and only one defeat.