After an exciting back and forth first round, Mohamad Said Maalem lands a beautiful counter follow up with devastating GnP to finish Fakhreddine and become the BRAVE CF Light Heavyweight World Championship pic.twitter.com/iUBK05hV0b— BRAVE Combat Federation (@bravemmaf) August 1, 2021
Brave Combat Federation’s first foray into Italy wasn’t without controversy.
In the Brave CF 52 headliner, Mohamed Said Maalem locked horns with Mohammad Fakhreddine with the vacant 205-pound championship on the line. The clash ended after “L’Ambiance” stopped Fakhreddine with ground-and-pound punches in the opening stanza. However, the Algerian fighter landed multiple punches behind his Lebanese opponent’s head, changing the fate of the fight. Considering that referee Declan Larkin didn’t warn Maalem nor interrupted the action, Fakhreddine filed a formal complaint to the Italian Federation of Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts (Federazione Italiana Grappling Mixed Martial Arts).
After evaluating the footage of the clash, FIGMMA overturned the result to a no contest. As a result, the organization’s light heavyweight championship is vacant once again. Brave hasn’t announced yet whether it intends to schedule a rematch between Maalem and Fakhreddine, but it might be only a matter of time considering the bad blood between the two fighters.
“Following a thorough investigation and analysis, the Italian Federation of Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts deemed that the illegal strikes to the back of the head by Maalem in the final sequence of the fight,contributed to the stoppage of the match,” announced the Bahraini promotion in a statement.
The 37-year-old Fakhreddine (14-4 2 NC, 4-3 2 NC Brave) is currently chasing the dream of becoming the first Brave two-division champion ever after capturing the middleweight crown from Daniel Souza Pereira at Brave CF 41. Maalem (11-3 1NC, 2-0 1NC Brave) earned a chance to fight for the title thanks to his six-bout winning streak, which includes victories over Todd Stoute and Zvonimir Kralj under the Brave banner.
This is not the first time the Maalem-Fakhreddine matchup has been surrounded by controversy. The pair should have collided in the Brave CF 50 co-main event with the vacant light heavyweight championship on the line, but Fakhreddine pulled out a few hours before the match due to an illness.