Hashem Arkhaga (6-1-0) is one of the pioneers in Arab MMA who carved his fanbase in the region with walk-off knockouts. After the surge of Mixed Martial Arts in the region following the Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Arkhaga landed in the main event of Dana White’s Contender Series 40, where faced fellow unbeaten middleweight A.J. Dobson.
While putting his unblemished professional record of 6 straight wins against Dobson, Arkhaga was back in action nearly after a year. Both men came out swinging, but it was Dobson who connected with the harder shots that put pressure on Arkhagha. While showcasing incredible toughness, the Jordanian fighter fell short to much experienced and active Dobson who won by the first-round submission securing a UFC contract.
Despite the loss, the Jordanian finisher hopes that he will get yet another opportunity to punch his ticket to the UFC. From a business perspective, Arkhage can turn out to be a major asset when it comes to the Middle East selling stadiums and electrifying the audience like never before with his thrilling entrance, stylish finishes, and existing fanbase. A former Desert Force champion has impressed the Middle Eastern MMA scene, competing in every top promotion in the region. But after returning from an almost seven-year hiatus in top form, Arkhaga is ready to take his career to the next level.
And what better way to get back to training than with mixed martial artist Assad Al Hanini, the undefeated youngster who is experienced in training camps, and is part of many gyms worldwide, like Tiger Muay Thai and most recently Fortis MMA that is continuously producing talent that is being shipped into the UFC and quickly rising up the rankings. Besides the three fighters that are competing on Saturday, the team’s roster also includes Carlos Diego Ferreira, Geoff Neal, Macy Chiasson, Steven Peterson, Uriah Hall, Ryan Spann, Alonzo Menifield, Charles Byrd, Kennedy Nzechukwu, and many others.
Al Hanini had focused heavily on the striking game throughout his career setting his previous camps in Tiger Muay Thai, Phuket. The shift to Fortis MMA will add more ammunition to the arsenal of the former Desert Force Champion. The fight team at Fortis MMA is widely regarded for a balanced and strategic approach.
A return by both icons from the Arab world is highly anticipated by the fans in the region. With Arkhaga in the best shape of his career and Al Hanini developing as a formidable force training alongside the former Desert Force champion, 2022 will turn out to be exciting for fight fans in the Middle East.
Hari Bhagirath is the former Chief Creative Officer at BRAVE Combat Federation. Currently, he heads Strategic Relations and Financial Communication for a major Fortune 100 organization. He is also the co-founder of Totem Capital, a private wealth management initiative.