“We were a family. I made sure everything was ok for my brothers so they could focus on winning.„
Mehdi Baghdad, Walid & Walid’s Coach
Season 2 of Al Batal ended on an appropriately dramatic note for both the 84KG and 70KG finalists.
Walid Akrouh was the youngest fighter on the show and took out his opponent Sofiane Seghir in the eliminations with a brilliantly executed Armbar. On reaching the 84KG finals he suddenly found himself with no opponent when his challenger Youness Mikiss broke his wrist in the semi-finals. Sofiane stepped back up to take on Walid again. Even though Sofiane put up a brave fight, with an injured shoulder, Walid once again had him in an Armbar for the finish and was awarded the Middleweight Al Batal title.
“When I selected Walid I knew he would win because he was the ‘hungriest’ fighter.„
Mehdi Baghdad, Walid’s Coach
“I believe he’ll have to drop a weight class to compete at 77KG in the international scene, but he’s real capable of growing into a real star in the Arab MMA community.„
Ray Elbe, opposing team coach
Walid Seghir joined Al Batal as the only black belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter and became a 70KG finalist when he hastily choked out his opponent in less than 30 seconds. His final fight did not end nearly as quickly though. After 3 gruelling rounds against the charismatic Tariq Ismail, the referee mistakenly raised Tariq’s arm for the win even though the judges had unanimously scored Walid the winner. The drama that ensued until Walid was officially announced the Lightweight Al Batal champion was indicative of the importance of sport to the fighters, and the support and brotherhood afforded by their coaches.
“The ref made a mistake and Tariq thought he won, but I was sure I won the 1st and 3rd rounds. Tariq was maybe my best friend at the Al Batal camp, and I didn’t want to fight him, but that’s the game.„
Walid Seghir, Al Batal Lightweight Champion
“Tariq was an excellent striker, but I think he lost because he was in the wrong weight division. He should fight in a more suitable weight category.„
Mehdi Baghdad, Walid & Walid’s coach
Both Walid Akrouh and Walid Seghir have high aspirations after their respective wins and they have already been approached by leading MMA promotions to represent Al Batal and Arab fighters around the world.
“It felt like a dream being selected to be part of the show and walking into the Al Batal camp. The opportunity and the win have given me the confidence to pursue my dream to one day fight for the likes of ONE FC or the UFC.„
Walid Akrouh, Al Batal Middleweight Champion
With the airing of Season 2 complete and the new Al Batal Champions crowned, the Al Batal team have begun preparing for the next season and are calling all 66KG Featherweight pro- and semi-pro fighters to submit their applications to the Al Batal website.