x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Mixed martial arts contenders put on show at Guts and Glory tournament in Dubai

The second Guts and Glory Amateur Tournament gave Dubai students of the world's fastest-growing sport the chance to put their mixed martial arts skills to the test.

Ousmane Dlor takes on Nadir Ruziev at the Guts & Glory Amateur Tournament at Glory MMA & Fitness Centre in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
Ousmane Dlor takes on Nadir Ruziev at the Guts & Glory Amateur Tournament at Glory MMA & Fitness Centre in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

DUBAI // Fighters, fans and parents turned out to watch 26 up-and-coming martial artists in action at Glory MMA & Fitness Centre in Al Quoz yesterday.

The second Guts and Glory Amateur Tournament gave students of the sport from around Dubai the chance to put their mixed martial arts (MMA) skills to the test.

MMA is regarded as the fastest-growing sport in the world, and one of the safest combat sports.

“We do these events to motivate our students,” said Khalifa Al Mansoori, managing partner of the centre. “This is our second amateur tournament and we plan to hold them every other month.”

Mr Al Mansoori said that they had taken every precaution with the event.

“We have medical professionals here to keep the fighters safe, and five referees, including the one in the ring, who can stop the fight before any serious injuries take place. In addition, all the fighters are required to wear protective gear.”

The competition showcased three martial arts styles – boxing, K1 kickboxing and MMA – with three divisions: aged 10 to 15; 16 to 18; and 19 years and over.

Faris Al Sabagh, 14, has been training at Glory MMA for the past two months. “I joined today so I could know what it is like, and gain some experience. I only treat this as a hobby, not something I want to do professionally.

“I practice so that I can learn self-defence and I’ve already noticed that my confidence has improved. My parents support me in wanting to train, but they were nervous about the fight.

“My dad said if I make one mistake I could end up in hospital, and that would also be it for training.”

Faris also had a strategy for MMA: “It’s simple, don’t get punched in the face.” After three rounds, he fought to a draw with his opponent.

Denis Mayorov, 17, has been doing MMA for 10 months at Glory MMA but he is not new to the sport. “I used to train for two years in Russia, and I was in a few competitions there,” he said.

“I’m comfortable in stand up but I’ve also been training jiu-jitsu, so I want to see how well I [perform] on the ground. I faced the same opponent two months ago in the first tournament, so I know him well.”

Denis almost finished off his opponent in an arm-bar move in the first round but was stopped by the bell. In the second round, he picked up his opponent, slammed him to the mat and got him to submit via the same move.

“He was stronger this time, but I’m happy with the win,” said Denis, who walked away with the best fighter trophy.

Usman Mohammed, 24, needs all the experience he can get. The Pakistani karate black belt will make his professional debut in July.

“I’ve been training MMA for one year, but I have three gold medals in competition karate,” said the fighter, who won his bout.

malkhan@thenational.ae