I have to admit… I have been to half a dozen or more Desert Force events and have had the pleasure of seeing knockouts galore, brutal slugfests and countless slick submissions. Rarely… Or dare I say it… Never have I seen a card that has unfolded like the one I saw yesterday! From start to finish, from the first low kick thrown by Mohammad Yahya to Selwady’s first submission victory, the event took your heart rate from 75 bpm’s right up to 150 and kept it there for 3 hours! There was not a single boring fight, not one that didn’t keep you on the edge of your seat.
The only downside of is that it makes my job here infinitely more difficult in analyzing and deciding on the awards for this evening. Here we go:
KO of the night:
Winner: Ahmed Beyouk vs Hussein Ayad
One way of announcing your debut in a new promotion is to put on a good show. Ideally by way of a TKO or KO one would think, something to please the crowds right? Beyouk delivered on that… oh boy did he deliver on that! Although he started out by meeting one of Hussein’s left hooks with his face (not advisable) he came back to pick him up, drag him across the ring, slam him down, stand him up and deliver a spinning back fist that separated Hussein from his senses!!! He followed that up with three unanswered punches to force Yves Lavigne to call off the fight. Hussein never saw the spinning back-fist coming!
Honourable mention: Mounir Lazzez’s head kick KO! Is there anything this guy cannot do?!
Submission of the Night:
Winner: Mohammed Trigui vs Ahmed Boussairy
Although a striking virtuoso, Trigui showed that he is equally comfortable with ground combat. This match had it all going for it. Boussairy came out and put on a great show utilizing front-kicks, spinning back-fists and up-kicks. The beginning of the end came when Boussairy sweeped Trigui and ended up in his guard after Trigui had delivered some hammer blows to Boussairy’s head. Trigui was thinking an inch faster than Boussairy though and swiftly pivoted his hips to lock Boussairy’s arm in a nasty looking arm bar!
Honourable mention: 18 year old Saudi up-start Abdulahad Abdulmajeed capitalized on Mohammed Mgharbel’s aggressiveness and relative inexperience on the ground to attempt an armbar that he quickly transitioned into a triangle choke and rolled on top of Mgharbel holding that position. Terrific fight back from the youngster!
Fight of the Night:
Winner: Mohammad Yahya vs Hamzah Nafush
Perhaps this fight was a sign of things to come for the rest of the evening. These guys lit up the place! The match went ahead at full pace from the moment Yves Lavigne got them underway with kicks, takedowns, an attempted kimura, sweeps and some ground and pound (and I am only talking about the first minute here). Hamzah then sweeped Yahya and caught him in a super, super, super tight armbar, push up his hips, arched his back, and squuuuuuueeeezed! Everyone in the audience suddenly got very quiet. Yahya was refusing to tap and it seemed that his arm was seconds away from snapping (both Yves Lavigne and Mohammad Yahya himself revealed after the fight that they could hear the arm cracking). Yahya managed to get out of it however and they both switched to attempted foot locks, sweeps, side mounts, attempted arm triangles before Yahya ended up in a nasty looking guillotine choke. Yahya withstood the constant squeezing however and then it was back to normal service – knees, kicks, overhand punches, ground and pound…. This was all in the first round?!
The second round was just as frantic but Yahya, seemingly wary of Hamzah’s takedowns, saw Hamzah rush in and used the opportunity to deliver a knee to the body that could be heard around the Arena!
This fight was nuts! Arguably one of the best fights I have seen in any MMA promotion in the area… period!
Honourable Mention: Abdulkareem Al Selwady vs Hussein Salim. These guys exchanged leather! They were content to swing for the fences to knock the *@#( out of each other! Selwady also showed massively improved ground game and it will be interesting to see how he matches up with Julaidan when the time comes
Photo credit: Darren Arthur