Welcome to Saracens MMA 2020: A Year in Review Part Two! Don’t forget to check out Part One where you can find out all about the progress the new breed of Saracens MMA fighters.
February 7, 2020 saw Probellum MMA host it’s debut show in Dubai, and no fewer three Saracens MMA fighters would be in action against international-level opposition.
First, Alaa ‘Thor’ Mansour (10-2) would return to the Middle East for his first fight in the region since a headline outing against US veteran JJ ‘Superman’ Ambrose in Kuwait. This time, Alaa would face Abu Dhabi-based Mohammad Ratib AlKhatib at 185 lbs. Alaa, fresh off a successful move to the Ukraine where he had beaten native Alexey Pasyuga in his WWFC debut, would prove too much for AlKhatib, at times toying with the UAE Warriors and Brave CF veteran. While Alaa wanted the finish, AlKhatib toughed it out, forcing Alaa to settle for an exhibition of his ever-improving MMA game.
Alaa was able to display a much improved clinch work as well as takedowns en route to a Unanimous Decision victory – and the tenth overall win of his career.
Unfortunately, Saracens’ premier flyweight, Mohamed ‘The Executioner’ Gamal (7-2) was unable to get the better of dangerous Welsh standout Aaron Aby, falling to a Unanimous Decision defeat. Nonetheless, Gamal picked up yet more international-level experience and has cemented himself as the number one ranked flyweight free agent in the Middle East. Saracens MMA cannot wait for Moha to get his next opportunity, where we’re sure he will showcase his razor sharp grappling and submission game, as well as improving striking.
Saracens MMA fighters did manage to get back in the win column at Probellum MMA, however, when South Sudanese standout Mohamed ‘John’ Jema (5-1) made quick work of Egyptian heavyweight Ahmed El Tayeb, better known internationally as Koko Hammer. One of the most respected Egyptian big men on the scene, Koko Hammer was entirely unable to withstand the heavy artillery of Jema, who recorded a fifth straight career win – all well within the distance.
At AUFC, one of the Saracens MMA team’s traditional hunting grounds, three top Saracens MMA stars would be back in action at each of AUFC 26, 27 and 28.
First up at AUFC 26, August 20 would see the return of Eslam ‘Ironman’ Syaha (10-2, 1 NC), the 27 year old physical phenom who had fought to an unfortunate split decision loss in his international MMA debut against highly-touted Djati Melan at the burgeoning Ares Fighting Championship promotion. Muscle-bound middleweight Syaha would prove far too much for opponent Ahmed Amer, ‘Ironman’ looking several levels above his gutsy compatriot and competitor. The fight would end inside the first round, Syaha making his mark in 2020 with a clean and decisive TKO victory.
AUFC 27 would take place the next weekend, August 28, and would see flyweight Al Hassan ‘Rush’ Abo Ali (5-5) take on the undefeated Maysara Mohamed. Unfortunately, Abo Ali’s night would end prematurely courtesy of an untimely injury, curtailing his campaign for the year.
Then, at AUFC 28 on September 25, Mohamed ‘John’ Jema (6-1) would return from his successful outing at Probellum to claim another scalp in the form of the previously unbeaten Adham Abdallah. Jema was able to once again pick up a TKO victory, continuing his 100 percent finish rate, this time in the second round. The South Sudanese titan now casts his eyes to a fight in Russia in early 2021.
Rounding out the year on October 18, Alaa ‘Thor’ Mansour (10-3) would return to the Ukraine following his victory at Probellum MMA, dropping two weight classes in order to make his lightweight debut. Looking lean and ripped, the one-time heavyweight fighter would take on the undefeated Anatoliy Zhurakivskiy (7-0) in a contender eliminator.
While the weight cut was perfectly executed, Alaa would find himself on the wrong end of a Unanimous Decision defeat, despite some strong moments in terms of clinchwork, takedowns, striking, and top control. A multi-levelled affair, Anatoliy and Alaa traded exchanges in all aspects of Mixed Martial Arts, with Anatoliy eventually getting the nod in a close encounter.
While inevitably proving a setback of ‘Thor’, his journey through the ranks of Ukrainian MMA has only just begun, and with a 1-1 mark in his new home, we can’t wait to see what he can acheive in 2021!
Well that’s it for Part Two of this End of Year series – do not miss Part Three, which will focus on the ground breaking year set by two of Saracens MMA’s premier pace-setters, Ahmed ‘The Prince’ Faress and Ahmed ‘The Butcher’ Amir!