Fahad Abdulrazaq of Team Bahrain launched himself into the history books as he defeated Bulgaria’s Nikolay Ivaylov in the 2016 IMMAF World Championship quarter finals, guaranteeing himself a bronze medal. He finished the fight via arm-bar submission in the second round after a thrilling bout.
Following some excellent performances from Arab fighters in Team Lebanon and Team Bahrain, Abdulrazaq delivered the icing on the cake, showing the skill, courage and heart which many of his fellow Arab fighters had shown, even in defeat.
I am very grateful for this win. I delivered a right that caused him damage before taking the fight to the ground and catching him in a tight armbar.
Fahad came out aggressively with bad intentions. He set the tone from the off, throwing hurtful combinations and engaging the game Bulgarian. A hard knee in the clinch seemed to wake Ivaylov up as he realized he was in a dog fight. Fahad remained patient and almost lured his opponent into his game plan, as the Bulgarian chased him around the ring.
Fahad was given a little reminder with a nasty inside leg kick and a hard right hand met his face as he lunged in with an attack. Then came the turning point in the round, as Fahad picked off the Bulgarian beautifully with some kicks from the outside then punished him with a counter right. Fahad knew he had hurt him and went to change levels, attempting to wrestle Ivaylov to the ground.
The Bulgarian showed superior strength, reversing the take-down, landing in full mount, but as he was preparing to rain down blows Fahad hip-escaped and landed himself in top position. An exhilarating round ended in this position and set the tone for a memorable round two.
Light on his feet, Fahad tip-toed his way around the outside of the cage, patiently circling the Bulgarian, until finally from nowhere a lightning bolt head-kick from hell, which was set up with a little faint as if he was going for a low kick. Bam. Ivaylov went crashing down like timber and Fahad leapt in for the finish, but suddenly his arm was trapped in a sneaky arm bar attempt, which forced Fahad to frantically try and wriggle free. As he successfully did this the referee stopped the fight inexplicably and seemed to check the awareness and consciousness of the Bulgarian, who had recovered his senses. Both men went back to work in this thrilling contest as Fahad ducked under the Bulgarian’s attack and went for a take-down, which was once again reversed into full mount position for Ivaylov. Yet Fahad showed, again, how dangerous he was off his back, wriggling free into the Bulgarian’s full guard then smoothly locking in the fatal arm bar, which drew an immediate tap-out from Ivaylov.
Abdulrazaq is the Youngest Team Bahrain fighter and will now fly the flag proudly for Arab MMA in the semi-finals.
His two dominant victories have showcased to the world the talent which is being developed in the middle-east region, and will only grow more rapidly after this success.
His medal is solid proof of the growth of Arab MMA in the middle-east and with Phoenix Fighting Championship on the horizon, next year is set to be the biggest yet in the region.