The dark horse in the Academy. From a Kung Fu Sanda practitioner to the finalist in the Desert Force Academy reality show!!! Tareq Hamdi, a Kung Fu Sanda practitioner shocked everybody on the set of Al Academia. After losing via decision in the tryouts against the skilled ground fighter Paul Alam, he was given a second chance when Omar Omaish, the Jordanian fighter, broke his foot in his fight against Khaled Farhan from Kuwait, yet couldn’t’t take part of the show, and was forced out. Tareq was called back in to fill the gap within the lightweight category. No one expected him to advance throughout the show quarter and semi final fights, being a one dimensional fighter with little to no ground game. In the quarter final, he was matched against Mahmoud Sa’eed, which was beneficial for both, as they both are rather stand-up fighters. Shockingly, Tareq was working on few submissions in the fight, and opening a big gash above Mahmoud’s left eye with a big elbow. The fight was a real close one, as both opponents banged till the end of the third round. It could have gone to Mahmoud, if it weren’t for a two-point deduction for holding the fence in several occasions that cost him the fight, earning Tareq his first win inside the house.
In the semi finals, he was matched against the very experienced Sylvester Saba (video below), a real good MMA fighter, with a real good ground game, and as expected, the first round was all Sylvester’s, working on the ground and battering Tareq with punches and elbows. The second round started and it seemed like the asthma attack started to creep in on Sylvester. It slowed down his moves and was telegraphing all his attacks, which Tareq took advantage of and battered Sylvester with strikes and takedowns throughout the remaining two rounds, earning him the unanimous win decision.
Desert Force “Al Academiya” Semi Final – Silvester Saba Vs Tarek Hamdi
Now that we have reached the finals, we all are anxious and excited to know who his opponent is going to be: Bandar Yazan from Saudi, who is a Muay Thai fighter with good Brazilian Jujitsu skills, or Elias Al-Rayyes from Lebanon who, like Tareq, is a Kung Fu Sanda specialist but shows a more rounded game and improved wrestling skills. Will Tareq be able to win and be the black horse of the show? The answer to that will reveal in Al Academiya Finale that will take place in Amman, Jordan on the 27th of January.