BRAVE among world’s best 2020 promotions; BRAVE President, ONE fights also nominated

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BRAVE Combat Federation, which had featured Team Lakay athletes in their past events, is nominated for two major citations by Fighters Only Magazine. The Bahrain-based promotion is one of the nominees for  Best Promotion of the Year and BRAVE CF president Mohammed Shahid is one of the five nominees for Leading Man of the Year.

Fighters Only Magazine recently announced its nominees for its 13th Annual World MMA Awards.

BRAVE are in competition with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA, Legacy Fighting Alliance and UAE Warriors for the Best Promotion award while Shahid is alongside UFC boss Dana White, MMA manager Ed Soares, IMMAF chief Densign White and Bellator’s Scott Coker for the Leading Man award in this prestigious yearly affair.

Former BRAVE bantamweight king Stephen “The Sniper” Loman and Jeremy “The Juggernaut” Pacatiw are some of the Team Lakay stars that made their mark in BRAVE fighting cages.

Loman captured the BRAVE title with a victory over Canadian-Indian Gurdarshan “St. Lion” Mangat in 2017.

He followed this up with successful title defenses against Frans Mlambo on June 9, 2018,  Felipe Efrain on November 16, 2018; Elias Boudegzdame on March 15,  2019 in a fight held at the Mall of Asia Arena, and Louie Sanoudakis on November 23, 2019.

His successful title defenses on multiple occasions and headlining various events made him arguably BRAVE’s biggest star during his reign.

He departed BRAVE for ONE Championship earlier this year with a 13-2 career fight record and the promotion’s only titleholder who defended his championship multiple times.

He was undefeated in six bouts with the promotion since 2016 and his reign has been active for 1,177 days as of February 5, 2021.

By comparison, Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz of United States is the current holder of the longest single reign in the bantamweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) at  1,117 days.

Bibiano Fernandes of Brazil is the holder of the single reign in the bantamweight division of ONE Championship at 1,848 days before Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon halted his first reign.

On the other hand, Pacatiw had a rough start in BRAVE, losing 3 of his first 5 fights at BRAVE then coming back strong by racking 4 victories in his last 5 fights to accumulate a respectable 6-4 mark during his stay in the Bahrain-based promotion.

Pacatiw last saw action in December 2019 against Brazil’s Felipe Efrain whom he defeated by first-round technical knockout. He landed an overhand right to complete the highlight-reel finish.

ONE Championship, considered home to majority of Filipino MMA artists, didn’t make the best promotion list.

However, two fights featured in the ONE on TNT series made the list for Upset of the Year, namely (1) Adriano Moraes winning against Demetrious Johnson during ONE on TNT 1, and (2) Ok Rae Yoon defeating Eddie Alvarez during ONE on TNT 4 .

A third fight, Thanh Le dethroning  Martin Nguyen at ONE: Inside the Matrix, is also nominated for Comeback Of The Year.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has challenged both organizations greatly in 2020.

ONE Championship was able to resume its operations late last year, with most of its events taking place in Singapore but also infiltrated the US market with said ONE on TNT series.

ONE Championship had just finished airing the pre-taped ONE: Battleground II on Friday, August 13, whose main card was headlined by UFC veteran Zhang Lipeng and Filipino superstar Eduard Folayang.

Like ONE Championship, BRAVE CF also had to cancel a couple of its scheduled events at the onset of the global health crisis. However, it managed to bounce back a few months later and held a successful series of shows in countries such as Slovenia, Romania, Sweden and its home base of Bahrain.

This year, BRAVE CF has extended its reach in Europe, hosting fight cards in Russia, Belarus and Italy. The promotion is slated to have another show in the region with its debut offering in Konin, Poland on September 25.

On the other hand,  BRAVE CF will return to Almaty, Kazakhstan on August 21st to hold BRAVE CF 53. Hometown hero Nurzhan Akishev is penciled to face South Korea’s Tae Kyun Kim in the main event.

Voting for the 13th Annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards is now underway at worldmmaawards.com. It will conclude on Wednesday, September 8th.

By Armando M. Bolislis

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