Seef District, Bahrain – BRAVE Combat Federation’s first show in Russia will be headlined by the return of Super Lightweight world champion Eldar Eldarov – he will be making the first defense of his title in the main event with a yet-to-be-named opponent. BRAVE CF is the first and only global organization to open and empower an intermediate division between Lightweight and Welterweight, giving plenty of opportunities to fighters who have previously been stuck in a limbo – too big for Lightweight, but too small for Welterweight.
And in Eldarov’s absence, the division has thrived with several worthy contenders in shape to challenge the Super Lightweight king, showing that the weight-class is a hit.
After struggling to make the Lightweight limit in his last few outings, Luan ”Miau” Santiago, the former world champion at 70kg, got his first taste of Super Lightweight action at BRAVE CF 29, in November of last year. His flawless performance against Gadzhimusa Gaziev encouraged him to move up permanently, which he did after a proposed rematch with Lucas ”Mineiro” fell through due to Lucas’ injury.
Luan is now one of the options to fill up the number one contender place against Eldar since he has the championship pedigree and BRAVE CF experience needed to fill a big spot – a headlining fight in the organization’s first-ever trip to Russia.
Another athlete that has been hailed since making the move to Super Lightweight is young Benoit St. Denis. Only seven fights deep into his MMA career, the former French Special Forces member has had a meteoric rise, which was clear to see in 2020.
St. Denis started the year with his first BRAVE CF win, twisting Ivica Truscek’s legs for a kneebar submission win and then knocked out experienced Mario Saeed, making him one of the front-runners to challenge Eldarov.
Brazilian striker Leonardo Mafra is also in the conversation, having won his Super Lightweight debut back in August of last year, when he dominated Djamil Chan en route to a unanimous decision at BRAVE CF 25, in his homeland of Brazil.
An MMA veteran, he has hailed BRAVE CF for taking the step to solidify an intermediate weight-class, which is perfect for him, as ”Macarrao” has always felt too big for Lightweight but too small to succeed at Welterweight. He has already called out Eldarov directly on several occasions and will be hoping his name comes up when the organization finally announces the other half of BRAVE CF 46’s main event.
Last but not least, Issa Isakov has also been in contention at Super Lightweight. After beginning his BRAVE CF career with a momentous win against Rami Hamed, beating the top Lebanese fighter by armbar submission, Isakov has gone right back to work with a dominant victory over Djamil Chan. Isakov is slated to get back to action very soon and could be on his way to a title shot.
BRAVE CF 46 takes place in beautiful Sochi, Russia, on January 16th, in partnership with Krepost Selection. Aside from Eldarov, other top Russian fighters have been confirmed for action, such as Roman Bogatov, Konstantin Erokhin, and Ali Bagautinov.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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