Afghanistan vs Pakistan: Najam Khan beats Abdul Wodood Matin at ‘SLFC: Attack Fight Night 8’ in Kabul

Abdul Wodood Matin, Najm Khan

Afghanistan-based mixed martial arts promotion Snow Leopard Fighting Championship held “SLFC: Attack Fight Night 8” in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 5, 2019. In the main event, Najam Khan, 31, of Islamabad, Pakistan faced Abdul Wodood Matin, 25, of Farah, Afghanistan in the middleweight division.

As the fight started, Khan was employing the counter striking strategy trying to catch Matin on his way in. Moments into the fight, the Afghan fighter made a single leg entry and his Pakistani opponent landed two hefty blows, followed by some vicious ground and pound to seal the win for Pakistan.

Khan knocked out Matin in the first round, improving the professional MMA record of the Pakistani fighter to 2 wins and 1 loss. On the other hand, Matin now has 1 win and 1 loss.

The few Pakistani supporters in the crowd were thrilled upon the win. On the other hand, it was a hush of silence to the dismay of Afghan fans.

“Alhamdulilah for the victory and this would not have been possible without the support of my family, friends, supporters, teammates and everyone who supported me in one way or another,” Khan said when asked about his victory at “SLFC: Attack Fight Night 8.” “It is an individual sport but a lot of work by numerous people goes in to the preparation. This win is for all the people of Pakistan and Inshallah many more victories are ahead.”

It was a great turnout in Kabul with numerous fans who came to cheer for their athletes. The result of the main event was a revenge for Pakistani MMA fans.

On January 25, 2019, Matin made his professional MMA debut at “SLFC: Attack Fight Night 6” in Kabul. He submitted Shah Nawaz via rear-naked choke in the second round.

The fight between Khan and Matin had a lot of weight going into it especially after the Pakistan-Afghanistan political tensions and the close Cricket World Cup 2019 encounter.

Watch the “SLFC: Attack Fight Night 8” press conference here:

Bashir Ahmad’s protege Irfan Ahmad is 2nd Pakistani to win at ‘Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series’

Bashir Ahmad, Irfan Ahmad
Bashir Ahmad, Irfan Ahmad

Irfan “The Gorilla” Ahmad, 23, was one of the winners in the sixth season of “Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series.” This made him the second Pakistani to win at the ONE Championship subsidiary.

Featuring 16 mixed martial arts matches, “Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series 6” took place in Singapore on June 20, 2019. In the ninth bout of the evening, Ahmad faced Sandeep Gurung, 26, of Nepal.

Ahmad and Gurung competed in the strawweight division. The Pakistani contender won by armbar submission in the first round.

Gurung is training out of All Martial Arts Academy in Nepal. He is a Nepali kickboxing champion.

On the other hand, Ahmad has worked from humble beginnings training at a charity gym called Shaheen Mix Martial Arts Academy in Lahore, Pakistan. The gym was founded by Bashir “Somchai” Ahmad, 36, a former ONE Championship athlete who is dubbed the Godfather of Pakistani MMA.

According to Bashir, he created Shaheen Mix Martial Arts Academy as a non-profit facility “to create good citizens of Pakistan.” The facility provides free martial arts training, after school tuition and scholarships for promising students to schools they would not otherwise have access to.

At Shaheen Mix Martial Arts Academy, Shaheen trains alongside a team of youth and is seen by them as a mentor and a role model. He is considered to be the captain of Team Shaheen as the kids of the team aged 12 to 16 wish to follow in his footsteps.

Before being called up to compete at ONE Warrior Series, Irfan won on the national level. He would travel back and forth from his home in a small town in Punjab, India to Lahore in order to train with Bashir, who at the time was competing in ONE Championship.

Having competed in ONE Championship from 2013 to 2016, Bashir was the first professional MMA fighter to represent Pakistan on a global stage. Under his guidance, Irfan went undefeated in national competition, winning all his matches at PAKMMA Fighting Alliance before representing Pakistan at the International Mixed Martial Arts Amateur Championships in Bahrain in 2017 and 2018.

Despite being unable to medal both times, Irfan kept at his craft working with his teammates at Shaheen Mix Martial Arts Academy. He also worked with Bashir’s first student Waqar Umar, 29, a Lahore native who has been competing in ONE Championship since 2014.

Irfan was then called up to take part in “Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series” for a chance to win a US$100,000 contract. The first Pakistani to win in the ONE Championship subsidiary was Anita “The Arm Collector” Karim, 22, of Hunza, Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan.

Karim is considered the first female Pakitani to compete in a professional MMA bout. On February 28, 2019, she defeated Gita Suharsono, 26, of Indonesia at “ONE Warrior Series 4” in Singapore.

Watch all the “ONE Warrior Series 6” bouts here:

Pakistani MMA fighters Abbas Khan, Tayyab Usmani making waves

Several Pakistani mixed martial artists are making waves recently. Among them are Abbas Khan and Tayyab Usmani.

On January 12, 2019, Usmani made his professional MMA debut successfully at “Aspera FC Asia 2,” which took place took place at the Sagul Malingap Foodpark in Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. He submitted Aldredo Melendres of the Philippines via armbar after 1 minute and 20 seconds in the first round.

Usmani and Melendes competed in the lightweight division. They both made their debuts in Aspera Fighting Championship Asia, a branch of Aspera FC Brazil.

Including Usmani, two athletes represented Pakistan at “Aspera FC Asia 2.” The other one was Faizan “The Hunter” Fayaz, who captured the Aspera FC Asia Lightweight Championship title via a unanimous decision victory over his Filipino opponent Lyndon Castillo.

While Usmani now holds a professional MMA record of 1 win and 0 loss, Khan has 8 wins, 4 losses and 1 No Contest as an amateur MMA fighter. In 2018, Khan won 6 out of 7 amateur bouts.

Khan defeated his three opponents at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation 2018 Africa Open Championships from April 24-26, 2018 at the Brakpan Indoor Sport Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. His opponents were Esoe “Soldier of Jesus” Franklin of Cameroon, Sheldon James “Princess” Victor of South Africa and Cody Barnwell of Australia.

On November 27, 2018, Khan made his successful debut in Bahrain-based MMA promotion Brave Combat Federation. He knocked out his fellow Pakistani fighter Sikandar Badar in the first round at “Brave 17” at the Nishtar Park Sports Complex in Lahore, Pakistan.

“Brave 17” marked Brave CF’s debut in Pakistan. It was also the first ever global MMA event to take place in the country.

After the successful Brave CF debut, Khan competed in the 2018 IMMAF-World Mixed Martial Arts Association Unified World Championships at the Khalifa Sports City Arena in Manama, Bahrain from November 12-14, 2018. After defeating Mehraj Zarbaliyev of Azerbaijan and Nate Enright of Ireland, Khan lost to Rusi Minev of Bulgaria.

Currently, Khan is based in Bahrain. Watch his Brave CF bout against Badar here:

Aspera FC Asia Lightweight Champion Faizan Fayaz dedicates win to Pakistan

Faizan Fayaz
Faizan Fayaz (center)

Faizan “The Hunter” Fayaz is one of the Pakistani athletes recently making waves in mixed martial arts. He was recently crowned the lightweight champion of Aspera Fighting Championship Asia, a branch of Aspera FC Brazil, in the Philippines.

“This is for all the people of Pakistan, my coaches, my teams, Team Highlight Reel and KAK’S Fight Club for all the support and insha’Allah,” Fayaz said upon capturing the Aspera FC Asia Lightweight Championship belt at “Aspera FC Asia 2.” “We will work towards further success.”

Led by resident BJJ Professor and MMA Head Coach Major Overall, Team Highlight Reel is based in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore. On the other hand, KAK’S Fight Club is located in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Featuring 10 professional MMA bouts and two amateur matches, “Aspera FC Asia 2” took place at the Sagul Malingap Foodpark in Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines on January 12, 2019. It marked Fayaz’s second Aspera FC Asia outing and second bout as an amateur MMA fighter.

Fayaz made his successful Aspera FC Asia debut on August 26, 2018 at “Aspera FC Asia: Philippines” at the Mega Events Center in Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines. He knocked out Justin Lanz Barotillo of the Philippines in the first round.

At “Aspera FC Asia 2,” Fayaz competed for the Aspera FC Asia Lightweight Championship title against Lyndon Castillo of the Philippines in the ninth bout of the evening. The Pakistani contender won via unanimous decision after three five-minute rounds.

The victory improved Fayaz’s amateur MMA record to 2 wins and 0 loss. On the other hand, Castillo now has 0 win and 1 loss.

Including Fayaz, there were two Pakistani fighters on the “Aspera FC Asia 2” card. The other one was Tayyab Usmani who also faced a Filipino opponent.

Usmani made his professional MMA debut at “Aspera FC Asia 2.” In the fifth bout of the evening, he submitted Aldredo Melendres of the Philippines via armbar in the first round in the lightweight division.

Here is a clip of Pakistani news about Fayaz’s victory as the Aspera FC Asia Lightweight Champion: