Interviews

Coach Ali Makhzoum: I Grew Up Planning to Take This Sport Seriously

ArabsMMA interviews Team Shogun’s 13th degree “Red Silver” MuayThai coach Ali Makhzoum, a face most fight fans have seen in the Middle East MMA scene. How he started, why team Shogun and a lot more interesting subjects discussed with the Lebanese tank. Check it out!

alymakhzoum

Coach Ali, inform our readers about your background. What led to your involvement in fight sports? How did it all start?

It all started out when i was very young. My uncle was a Muay Thai champ and he used to take me with him to Shogun Gym. Since then i grew up wanting to take this sport seriously! Now am a 13th Degree “Red Silver” Muay Thai coach and MMA striking coach.

We’ve seen you often in the corners of Shogun fighters ( MMA and Muay Thai) competitions, do you compete also ?

I have been focusing on coaching as a full time thing but surely like any other coach I had the chance to fight in different divisions, (67kg, 71kg, 75kg, 81kg, 86kg, even +91 ) and it reflected positively on my career as Coach. In addition to Thai boxing competitions I have done some K1, MMA and Grappling. I believe that to be able to help my MMA fighters in striking this knowledge was a must! Seminars, training & sparring on a local or International level was not enough so I had to attend some fights personally. My last competition was “Never Tap” Asia Tournament in Phuket Thailand 2013. I came in second place and got the silver medal after 3 fights.

Moh.Karaki, Elias Baaklini, Moh.Fakhreddine (former teammate), Moh Ghorabi and the list goes on!..What are the things that they need to work on to become better fighters?

Mhammad Karaki is a killer on the ground and as everybody saw after his first fight he needed more striking skills. Since then we were focusing on easy, simple, but very effective techniques which were visible in his last fight against Feras Saada. Now Karaki is ready for higher level techniques and can surely fight on an international level in Desert Force. Baaklini’s first fight at Desert Force was very fast due to injury. Fans didnt get the chance to see what this big man can do! This explosive Terminator showed his skills in his second appearance with a fast TKO win. In my opinion, with more conditioning training, this heavyweight is unstoppable. Mohammad Ghorabi is a tough experienced striker. This fella fights since the age of 4 so when he entered the MMA scene it was obvious he lacked some wrestling and BJJ skills. Mohammad has been working on his ground game with Team Shogun. Fakherddine is a brave fighter, I hope he will win his fight against Hashem Arkhagha.

Being a striking coach, how do you develop speed in your fighters?

I use plyometric exercises to increase speed along with the usual combination of strikes with dumbells and medicine balls.

Are you a full time coach?

Yes its my profession. I am full time Coach as I mentioned before working 6 days a week and occasionally even 7!

Who are you favorite Strikers on the Arab MMA scene, stylistically !

My favorite fighter is Aniss Siraj Mounir with his intelligent combos. I enjoy watching such fighters and I think he has a great future.

What is the difference between training pure Muay Thai and Training Muay thai for MMA?

MMA & Mt differ so we tend exclude some techniques and others. As an example we exclude Muay Thai techniques that leaves our fighter in dangerous positions against a grappler. We add sprawls and other type of defenses to our pad work along with GnP techniques.

When Karaki fought the Feras Saada, what strategy did you guys use?

What Karaki did was exactly the fight plan we worked on. He started out with some strikes and took his opponent down when least expected. Saada didn’t expect this from Moe so the plan worked and it was over before it even started! Karaki was sparring with some if our best strikers, we were sure that he will be able to do the job.

What’s so different about your training style? Why do your fighters dominate on many occasions !

Shogun has been around the block since 1980’s. What’s special about Shogun Gym with Grand Master Sami is the huge history and the experience in different martial art. In my opinion we have the best striking coaches along with top grappling experts ready to help our team reach the top.

Would you like to thank anyone ?

After “ Al 7amidulillah” I wanna thank my Teacher Grand Master Sami Kiblawi who believed in me and all of his students. He gave me a lot of opportunities which got me to where i am.

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