Mohamed “L’Ambiance” Said Maalem’s long journey to the Promised Land has finally reached an epic conclusion as the Algerian powerhouse is now a world champion in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Said Maalem captured the vacant Light Heavyweight World Championship by stopping arch-nemesis and middleweight kingpin Mohammad “The Latest” Fakhreddine in the first round of their main-event clash at BRAVE CF 52: Bad Blood in Milan, Italy last Sunday, August 1.
The grudge match was billed as one of the most anticipated bouts in the promotion’s history due to the intense build-up of the encounter as both men traded harsh words on social media and in person.
Fakhreddine had set his sights on becoming the first athlete to hold two world titles simultaneously in BRAVE CF, but Said Maalem flipped the script and seized the moment for himself.
The rivalry lived up to the hype as Said Maalem and Fakhreddine figured in an intense war of attrition from the get-go, allowing the two competitors to showcase their own strengths for almost five minutes.
Said Maalem imposed his larger frame to keep his opponent pinned with his back against the cage fence and took his Lebanese counterpart for a ride with several takedown attempts, while Fakhreddine had his moments in the stand-up department with a series of crisp calf kicks.
The turning point came after the four-minute mark as Said Maleem blasted his opponent with a left hook that immediately dropped Fakhreddine on the canvas.
Sensing blood, “L’Ambiance” swarmed on him and bombarded with a volley of vicious ground-and-pound. With Fakhreddine unable to defend himself from the non-stop punishment, referee Declan Larkin stepped in and called a halt to the contest.
With tears streaming from his eyes, Said Maalem kneeled at the center of the cage holding the coveted belt.
Basking in the adulation poured upon him, he was gracious in victory and buried the hatchet with Fakhreddine right there and then in his post-fight interview.
“I have no issue with Fakhreddine at all. We are brothers before God, he’s a good man, and I like to think I am too. I respect him, his team, and his country of Lebanon. The only thing in my mind now is happiness, happiness for becoming the world champion,” Said Maalem said.
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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