Four things we learned from Desert Force ‘Vs The World’

Whilst I was flipping through the pictures and video clips and putting together my notes for the “Report Card” and “Re-Cap”, I realized that there were four main things to take away from the event.


Walking into my apartment in Amman, I grabbed a cup of coffee and looked at some of the footage and images of the Desert Force vs the World show and remembered just how awesome of an event it was.

So whilst I was flipping through the pictures and video clips and putting together my notes for the “Report Card” and “Re-Cap”, I realized that there were four main things to take away from the event

1. The Welterweight division is off the charts!

I thought that the Middleweight division was arguably the most stacked division in Desert Force. After all, where else can you find Arkhagha, Sawi, Fakhreddine, Suleiman, Abou Hamdan etc., all competing against one another. But after watching Anas Siraj’s destruction clinic in Dubai I think its time to re-evaluate. Think of it, the welterweight division now has:

  • Thabet Agha
  • Georges Eid
  • Ali Ahli
  • Victor Monfront
  • Bechir Majri
  • Aniss AlHajjajy
  • Gabriel Tayeh
  • Amr Wahmann
  • Mohammad Ghorabi
  • Ammar Tchalabi

That is a murderers row of fighters! You could really pick any two and match them up and you would be in for a great fight! One thing is for sure, the match-makers at Desert Force will have their work cut out coming up with matches. The champion, Aniss AlHajjajy, can not take it easy knowing that he has a whole bunch of top contenders gunning for his shield.

2. Beware Anas Siraj Mounir!

The “Moroccan Sensation” is the real deal! Yes, he is as good, as strong, as versatile and as lethal as we had thought. He put on an absolute master class of a performance! His striking was astonishing and he strung together his combinations in a way we have rarely seen in Middle East MMA. Anas is a great addition to Desert Force and the Middle East MMA scene will be a richer place with him fighting here.

3. MMA becoming recognized as a “Sport” in the Middle East

It is amazing to see how MMA has been embraced in the Middle East. Originally looked at as a form of “human cockfighting”, it is gradually gaining widespread acceptance. I couldn’t help but notice how the make up of the fans in the arena has been morphing over the past four events. The number of younger fans, older fans, female fans, etc… And these are not just people tagging along with their friends, but these are fans that know the fighters names, cheer them on and wince when they are hit. One particular moment sticks out during the event on Thursday. As I was sitting next to the cage doing the “play by play” coverage, I overheard a young girl no older than 11 explain to her father why Christopher Silva kept on taking down Abdelali Yatchou “He is a black belt, he is stronger on the mat”!

MMA has gone from being a “spectacle” to becoming recognized as a sport in its own right in the Middle East.

4. Next year is going to be even better

It’s crazy to think that things will only get bigger and better from here. The Fight Card on Thursday was one of the most impressive ones we have seen, but think of what’s coming up next? Arkhagha vs. Fakhreddine, Selwady/Aniss/Karaki defending their titles, Desert Force Academia airing on MBC Action, the return of many fighters … 2014 is going to be a good year for fight fans.

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