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The Italian peninsula has seen the rise of many sports throughout its rich history, but mixed martial arts (MMA) has not caught on yet in the mainstream consciousness of its people.
On Sunday, August 1st, BRAVE Combat Federation looks to change all of that as it hosts BRAVE CF 52: Bad Blood in Milan, Italy. The promotion’s first event in the country is going to be headlined by a Light Heavyweight World Championship clash between middleweight title holder Mohammad “The Latest” Fakhreddine of Lebanon and Swiss-Algerian powerhouse Mohamed “L’Ambiance” Said Maalem.
Though one of their own is not on the marquee of the historic card, Italian fans are still in for a treat as hometown hero Enrico “The Killing Machine” Cortese will get a share of the spotlight in the co-headliner as he squares off with Rustam “The Russian Bear” Chsiev in a three-round middleweight clash.
With a professional record of 7-2 with three wins via knockout and three by submission, Cortese will try to capture the hearts and imaginations of the Italian audience with his high energy, immense creativity, and unpredictable in-cage style.
Cortese hasn’t had the luxury of competing in front of a hometown crowd since 2019 when he inked an exclusive contract with the Bahrain-based promotion. Though his countrymen haven’t seen him strut his wares live, he is riding high on an impressive streak overseas.
“The Killing Machine” has won two matches in a row, beating French stalwart Jorick Montagnac by way of unanimous decision in his promotional debut at BRAVE CF 30 in September 2019 before authoring a quick stoppage victory over Romania’s Claudiu Alexe at BRAVE CF 35 ten months later.
Now the wait is finally over for Cortese and his countrymen as he returns home to take on Chsiev in the organization’s much-awaited maiden foray into Milan.
It is a welcome development for The Golden Cage–a local MMA outfit that partnered BRAVE CF to hold BRAVE CF 52: Bad Blood in order to push the sport into greater heights in Italy.
BRAVE CF may have firmly established its roots in the Kingdom of Bahrain, but it did not hinder the company from going beyond its borders to establish itself as one of the major players in MMA today.
Since its inception in 2016, BRAVE CF has been very active in holding shows in different parts of the globe. Thus far, the organization has spearheaded 51 live events in five continents and has visited 22 different countries, including Russia, Sweden, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Mexico and the Philippines.
Furthermore, it took advantage of venturing into untapped markets like India, Pakistan, Columbia, Romania, South Africa, Morocco, and Jordan.
BRAVE CF’s strategic expansion has been credited to its unique business model that focuses more on the development of the sport per continent by creating an MMA ecosystem which will empower governing bodies as well as help local leagues and their athletes gain international exposure.
The same formula will be applied when BRAVE CF makes its much-awaited debut in Milan, Italy on Sunday.
“We are very excited at BRAVE CF to be leading the European MMA scene today,” company COO Valeria Lang stated. “Europe is a key market for global sports regulation and development, and we intend to develop MMA in this market and give the biggest opportunity to the top European fighters and make them global stars.”
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, 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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