From the Middle East to the MMA World Stage: Stories of Triumph


From the Middle East to the MMA World Stage: Stories of Triumph

Few sports can match the worldwide popularity of MMA. Leading global organizations feature international superstars who will compete yearly for top ho

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Few sports can match the worldwide popularity of MMA. Leading global organizations feature international superstars who will compete yearly for top honors. Over recent times, the Middle East has emerged as a welcoming hub for MMA, and a notable event in the Middle East is set for early March as the ONE Championship debuts in Qatar. In this article, we will take a look at some of the best fighters from the Middle East who have risen to prominence in the MMA world.

Jarrah Al-Silawi

There have been few more successful MMA stars in recent history than Jarrah Al-Silawi. Al-Silawi has been flying the flag for Jordan throughout his career, winning 16 of his 19 professional bouts. He made his amateur debut in 2012 before making his first appearance as a professional just 12 months later.

His success in the ring was evident in 2016 after joining BRAVE CF and winning the Super Welterweight title for the first time in 2018. He would later lose the prize to Abdoul Abouraguimov in 2019 before reclaiming the gold just five months later. Overall, he has won six bouts by knockout, with five victories secured by submission.

Shamil Abdurakhimov

Despite being born in Russia, Shamil Abdurakhimov has a great Middle Eastern heritage and has been a pioneering figure for the region in the heavyweight division. The 42-year-old debuted in MMA at FightFORCE, beating Vladimir Kuchenko by submission. His dominance in the promotion continued before he moved to the Union of Veterans of Sport to suffer a defeat against Thiago Santos.

However, he showed his character to get back on track with six straight victories, which included a stunning TKO win over Marcos Oliveira to win the ADFC Heavyweight Grand Prix. Abdurakhimov quickly became a strong favorite amongst the leading sports betting sites mobile apps in the Middle East. His appearances also caught the eye of UFC bosses, and he made his debut appearance at UFC Fight Night in December 2016, losing by TKO against Derrick Lewis. However, his run in UFC would be largely positive, with dominant wins recorded against Chase Sherman and Marcin Tybura.

Mounir Lazzez

Tunisian-born star Mounir Lazzez has been one of the leading lights in the world of MMA in the Middle East throughout his career. He made history in 2012 by becoming the first fighter to be signed to the UFC after being born and raised in an Arab country. Lazzez was brought to the attention of Dana White after the UFC president was shown highlights of the welterweight while enjoying dinner with friends in Las Vegas. After seeing video clips, White immediately took steps to sign the fighter.

Lazzez has fought professionally on 14 previous occasions, winning on eleven occasions and suffering just three defeats. He enjoyed a winning start to life in the UFC with a successful decision against Abdul Razak Alhassan in the UAE. However, his career is at a crossroads, as he will be looking to return to winning ways in 2024 after suffering a submission defeat at UFC 283 against Gabriel Bonfim on his final appearance in UFC.

Hamdy Abdelwahab

One of the most exciting names in Middle Eastern MMA is Hamdy Abdelwahab. The Egyptian-born star became the first star born in the nation to be signed to the UFC after impressing during his career at the Gamebred Fighting Championship and iKon Fighting Championship. Abdelwahab previously represented his nation at the 2016 Olympic Games in the men’s Greco-Roman 98kg event before being eliminated in the round 16 stage.

The UFC officially signed him in June 2022, first appearing at UFC 277 when he beat Don’Tale Mayers. However, the decision was later overturned following a failed drug test. His return to the octagon was set for October 2022, when he was set to face Parker Porter. But, he was later removed from the card for unknown reasons. Abdelwahab will be looking to get back on track in 2024 after serving his two-year ban handed out by USADA.


The future of MMA in the Middle East has never looked brighter than it does now. A growing number of stars are coming out of the region to compete at the highest level, while massive companies are hosting many events in the Middle East.