Elias “Smile” Boudegzdame made the difference in the world of Mixed Martial Arts when he claimed the inaugural championship title at the BRAVE Combat Federation. The victory of the Algerian featherweight fighter was crucial due to various reasons and milestones. Boudegzdame was crowned as the champion by His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa during BRAVE CF 4 held in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Boudegzdame is the first champion in the promotion from the continent of Africa. His rise to the top came after he submitted two former UFC stars. His submission victory of Walel Watson in his promotional debut won him the 2016 ArabsMMA’s Submission of the Year Award. He was on a 5-fight win streak when he achieved the milestone of capturing the championship. This was a signal for fans and organizations to turn their attention towards the athletes from the continent of Africa.
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. 🇫🇷 Un honneur pour moi d’être reçu par Mr le ministre des sports algérien.. SURPRISE À VENIR .. . 🇺🇸 Its an honor to be received by the Minister of sport of Algeria .. BIG SURPRISE SOON .. . . 🥊 @eldjazairia_one / @fennec_news / @algerie.aujourdhui / @algerie_team . . . . . #😃 #smile #eliassmile #brave #mma #ufc #boxing #muaythai #fitness #fight #kickboxing #jiujitsu #training #photography #fit #montpellier #algeria #martialarts #sports #gym #wwe #motivation #mmafighter #like #workout #crossfit #fighter #wrestling #sport #fighting
Boudegzdame fought against the odds in the featherweight division. His opponents had a significant size and reach advantage. Fierce striking skills and lethal submission skills from any position made Boudegzdame a serious contender. This was evident in his championship title fight against the ex-UFC star, Masio Fullen. He secured the win by submission moments after getting rocked by Fullen.
Followed by this, ex-UFC star Lucas Martins challenged Boudegzdame to a champion title bout. However, the Brazilian star embarrassed himself at BRAVE CF 9 by missing weight by 4 kilograms and declining the offer face his opponent on the condition that he is under 75Kg followed by rehydration on the day of the fight.
BRAVE CF has a huge following in the Arab world. The popularity had risen in Algeria after my championship title win. The television, media, and the Government showed interest in MMA and BRAVE CF. Soon they were following the events on television. Many Algerians now recognize me in the streets and ask me to pose for photos.Elias Boudegzdame
Boudegzdame successfully defended his title in Jordan where he faced ex-KSW star, Jakub Kowalewicz. Finally, he lost his championship to Bubba Jenkins in a controversial bout to which the Algerian star campaigned for a rematch. Despite the NCAA background of his opponent, Elias pointed out that he often outwrestled the American martial artist even taking down the adept wrestler with ease. Currently, “The Smile” has a professional record of 16-6-0.
Elias was invited to the headquarters of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Algeria along with his coach and brother, Amine Boudegzdame after his championship title win. Minister of Sports in Algeria honored the featherweight star from the region by gifting him the national jersey.
Boudegzdame made an impact in the region and among the Arab world eventually rising in popularity. This was evident as the promotion eventually released their only web film to date titled, Smile (2017). The newly crowned featherweight champion was quick to be recognized for his persona, attitude, and constant smile.
Currently, “The Smile” trains at the La Bonne Ecole in Montpelier, France. He trains under Amine Boudegzdame who is also his elder brother. The featherweight fighter has always highlighted the role his family had played in his career and shaping his goals. The fight team is also home for promising talent from the region including the bantamweight Abelmoumen Mssaate, who competes at LNK in Estonia and at Phoenix Muay Thai, Laïd Zerhouni, welterweight champion at Oasis fight night in Tunisia and champion at Phoenix Muay Thai in France.
A fighter is nothing without his coach, teammates, and family. He is nothing without fans and also retaining his human side throughout. The feeling of being loved by all is very cool! I trust God and after that, I do what my brother advises! My training partners and my brother is my army and weapons, without them, I could not reach where I am.Elias Boudegzdame
With the recent developments in France where the sport of Mixed Martial Arts is legalized, hopes are at an all-time high for fighters who train in the region. This was maximized after the rise in popularity of the sport that was triggered by the UFC focusing in the Middle East. Also, Asia’s largest Mixed Martial Arts organization, ONE Championship has been showcasing athletes from Algeria which has raised hopes for fighters from the region.
Many of his teammates wish to see the submission expert join the ranks at the UFC, BRAVE Combat Federation, or at ONE Championship in the coming days. The Algerian Bantamweight also commands a fanbase in Abu Dhabi where he had won his featherweight championship at BRAVE Combat Federation.
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. 🇩🇿 ALGERIA !!! 🇩🇿 . . . . . . . #😃 #smile #eliassmile #brave #mma #ufc #boxing #muaythai #fitness #fight #kickboxing #jiujitsu #training #photography #fit #montpellier #algeria #martialarts #sports #gym #wwe #motivation #mmafighter #like #workout #crossfit #fighter #wrestling #sport #fighting
I am waiting to get back and fight. My goal is to represent Algeria and bring glory to my people. I am fighting to make a difference that will benefit generations yet to come. I am proud of how fighters from the Arab world are showcasing their dominance around the world. I want to be remembered as one among them. I fought many times in Abu Dhabi. I became a champion there. It is Emirates that gave wings to my dreams.
Fighting is one of the most important things in my life, preparation, physical conditioning, and mental conditioning are somethings that only fighters are able to feel. As you can understand, it is those moments where a fighter experiences life to the fullest.Elias Boudegzdame
The COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on the world of combat sports. With events affected severely due to the crisis, the fighters are eagerly waiting for organizations to bounce back to offer a platform for athletes to test themselves after the long rest.
It is certain that Elias “The Smile” Boudegzdame is ready for the next challenge in his career and his presence will be a great milestone for Algeria and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in Algeria despite whichever promotion he is set to compete.
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.