PFL bolster roster with handful of exciting fighters from Middle East – Reuters

Jarrah Al-Silawi helped pave the way for fighters from the region to reach the world stage



Mohammad Fakhreddine from Lebanon. (Facebook)

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

Published: Thu 21 Jul 2022, 01:17

Taking advantage of the recent emergence of mixed martial arts (MMA) talent from the Middle East, the US-based Professional Fighters League (PFL) has recruited a number of top fighters from the Arab world.

The fighter who put the region on the PFL radar was none other than Jordanian welterweight Jarrah Al-Silawi who broke into the league ranks in the 2022 PFL Challenger Series.

Although Al-Silawi’s first season hit a snag earlier this year, by then he had proven to the league and the MMA world that Arab fighters could compete with the best defenders in the sport.

Clearly, Silawi’s success in the PFL has helped open the doors for more Middle Eastern talent to gain attention on the world stage.

The headliner of the PFL’s new group of Middle Eastern fighters is Lebanese Mohammad “The Latest” Fakhreddine, perhaps one of the region’s biggest stars.

Fakhreddine is the current defending middleweight and light heavyweight champion of BRAVE, the most popular regional promotion in the Middle East.

The strike specialist boasts a professional record of 15-4, with 12 of those wins by knockout or TKO. Fakhreddine is coming off a two-game winning streak and is considered an exciting addition to the PFL’s 205-pound roster. He is set to make his PFL 8 debut on August 13 in Cardiff, Wales.

Undefeated bantamweight Ali Taleb, who represents Iraq and Sweden, has also signed with the PFL. Untested in seven professional fights, Taleb is the reigning bantamweight champion of the United Arab Emirates Warriors, having won the title in March 2022.

Six of Taleb’s seven career wins have come by way of stoppage, with four knockouts and two submissions. He is set to make his PFL debut against Kenji Bortoluzzi at PFL 9 on August 20 in London.

Another fighter with championship experience, Tarek Suleiman, will also be heading to the PFL. The only mixed martial artist to come out of Syria, Suleiman won UAE Warriors gold as a light heavyweight but will compete in the PFL’s stacked welterweight division.

He boasts a professional record of 12-8, with an impressive 92% finish rate (5 KOs, 6 submissions). Arriving with a wrestling background, Suleiman should be a tough test for the PFL’s 170-pound division.

Hard-hitting heavyweight Hatef “Boss” Moeil is also set to make his PFL debut this season. Representing Iran and Germany in the cage, Moeil boasts a 12-4 pro record with nine wins by knockout or TKO.

Moeil is the current King of Kings heavyweight champion and has notable wins over former UFC champion Ricco Rodriguez and James McSweeney. Moeil enters the SmartCage for the first time against Szymon Bajor at PFL 8.

Arguably the most popular fighter to come out of Saudi Arabia is light heavyweight Mostafa Rashed Neda who will soon be bringing his talents to the PFL scene. Boasting a 7-2 pro record, Neda is riding a three-game winning streak and has four knockout wins to his name. Neda was also a former Desert Force light heavyweight champion.

Rounding out the PFL’s latest signings in the Middle East is promising Egyptian welterweight Mahmoud “Prince of Egypt” Sebie. Sebie comes in with a 3-1 slate, with all of his wins by TKO. Before making the jump to MMA, Sebi was a 2016 Olympian in Greco-Roman wrestling.

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