BRAVE COMBAT Federation stages its first-ever Manila event today with world bantamweight champion Stephen “The Sniper” Loman headlining it.
Set to take place at the Mall of Asia Arena beginning at 6 p.m., Bahrain-based Brave plays “Brave 22: Storm of Warriors,” the first offering of what it said to be of many it plans to hold in the Philippines.
Bannering the event is the bantamweight title fight between Filipino champion Loman (11-2) of Team Lakay and challenger and former featherweight champion Elias “Smile” Boudegzdame (15-5) from Algeria, by way of Montpellier, France.
This will be the third title defense for Mr. Loman since winning the bantamweight belt in November 2017 but first in his home turf.
And that, the Filipino champion said, has him very excited and motivated and he is hoping to make the Philippines proud with a victory come fight night.
“I’m very excited because my title defense will be held here. It’s a good opportunity to showcase not only what I can do but also those of the other Filipino fighters in Brave in front of our countrymen,” said Mr. Loman, in the vernacular, in the lead-up.
“On March 15 I will do everything I can to retain my belt and I hope the Filipino fans would come out and support us,” he added.
For Brave, to finally descend on the Philippines and show its brand of world-class mixed martial arts action was something it has always been angling for.
“[Coming here was] something we were looking forward to for a very long time. This event is for the Filipino fighters and fans. It’s about time that Filipino fighters are recognized back in their home,” said Brave President Mohammed Shahid.
“When I first came here a few weeks back, a lot of people asked me how come we have not known of Stephen Loman, the champion of Brave CF. They did not know that he was representing your country around the world. He has proven what a world champion is. We hope to change that with Brave 22 and show who he is and what true martial arts is,” he added.
Mr. Loman is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Brazilian Felipe Efrain in his second title defense in November last year.
The Filipino had a tough time against Mr. Efrain in Bahrain but did what was needed to come out on top and highlight his standing as a world-class fighter.
Mr. Boudegzdame, meanwhile, is coming off a unanimous decision loss in his last fight in Brave last September where he lost the featherweight title to Bubba Jenkins.
He is now hoping to get back on the winning track in a big way — with another title under him.
Meanwhile, co-headlining Storm of Warriors is the lightweight clash between Irish fighter Cian Cowley and Swede John Brewin of New Zealand.
Also seeing action at the event are Filipinos Jeremy Pacatiw, Mark Alcoba, Rolando Dy, Harold Banario, Rex De Lara, Jayson Margallo, John Cris Corton, Jason Vergara and Jomar Pa-Ac.
Live coverage of Brave 22: Storm of Warriors will be handled by ESPN5 on various platforms. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo