Fight dream turns to nightmare as Arab MMA star Ahmed Amir lands in hospital

Ahmed Amir was hospitalized after being brutally beaten inside two rounds. (Brave Combat Federation)
Updated 14 April 2018
0

Fight dream turns to nightmare as Arab MMA star Ahmed Amir lands in hospital

  • Egyptian was stopped midway through the second round
  • Lebanon's Georges Bardawil is also beaten

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil: There are few more cheerless sights in combat sports than seeing a beaten fighter, freed from their facade of invincibility, sobbing uncontrollably.
Ahmed Amir, the Egyptian who left his wife and seven-month-old daughter at home in Kuwait to follow his fight dream, arrived in Brazil full of confidence but finished heartbroken and hospitalized after being brutally beaten inside two rounds.
Amir was one of only two Arabs on the 13-bout fight card that marked Brave 11, but both he and Lebanon’s Georges Bardawil left the cage with their records tarnished. While Bardawil lost to Carlos Soares by a unanimous decision, Amir saw his bloody fight with Cleiton Silva stopped midway through the second round when, fighting with a broken nose, his mouthguard fell to the mat for a second time. The stoppage came moments after he had complained he could not see because of blood streaming down his face.
Silva, who took his record to 13 wins from 15 fights, had struck the bridge of Amir’s nose inside the opening 30 seconds as the Egyptian attempted a takedown in what was his first fight outside the Middle East. With blood gushing from the open wound, Silva capitalized, pounding his opponent on the ground with a series of savage fists and forearms to the face. The Egyptian managed to escape and, after having his pupils checked, insisted he could continue. Yet when the second round brought more of the same, the referee mercifully intervened.
“There was a lot of blood, usually I knock them out before it gets to that stage,” Silva told Arab News backstage at the Esplanada do Mineirão. “It was over from the moment I broke his nose, but he refused to surrender. Respect. He was a tough opponent. Fighters are proud and I think that pride spurred him to keep going."

Amir lay stricken on a stretcher as he was assessed by medics before a decision was taken to transport the 27-year-old to a nearby hospital for scans and further checks. As he left, an icepack was pressed against his nose, his left eye was swollen over, and his chest heaved from crying.
Earlier in the evening, Bardawil had struggled against an opponent who stood three inches taller.
The 24-year-old appeared to underestimate the local Soares’ ability on the mat, and consequently fell victim to a series of ground strikes. Like Amir, Bardawil showed plenty of heart to keep fighting as elbows rained down on his skull and by the third round the Lebanese found his range.
With the bout drawing to a close and Bardawil knowing he would lose on points, he worked a guillotine choke and would have most likely won had his opponent not been saved by the bell. The judges scored it unanimously 87-82.
“Another 10 seconds and I would have won,” said Bardawil, whose record now reads 6-2-0.
“I was slow to start and my mistake was that I didn’t think he was good at wrestling so I tried to take him down. He was better than I expected, but I’ll learn from this experience — that’s why I never really lose. I’m very disappointed, though. I still can’t quite believe it.”

There were to be more tears too in the main title fight when Luan Santiago, coasting to a points win over Lucas Martins in the fifth round, tried to cushion a slam with his arm and suffered a gut-wrenching break. Martins claimed the Brave interim lightweight belt.


What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

Updated 19 April 2018
0

What now for Saudi Arabia’s big four teams?

  • Al-Hilal won their 15th top-flight title this season.
  • Big summer for Saudi Arabia football with the Green Falcons at the World Cup.

Now the Saudi Professional League season is over for another year Arab News can look back at their title tilts and what the big four clubs have to do over the coming months ahead of the next season.

 



AL-HILAL

Finished: Champions

Coaching situation: Ramon Diaz was in charge for much of the season, but was fired in February after setbacks in the Champions League.
Assistant Juan Brown did Okay in the final stretch, but a top-class coach could get more out of this team.

Squad priorities: A reliable goalscorer to support Omar Khribin and with veteran defender Osama Hawsawi leaving for pastures new, a replacement center-back with leadership qualities. Welcoming back the major stars — Carlos Eduardo, Khribin, Nawaf Al-Abed and Salem Al -Dawsari — will be a major boost.

Aim next season: Win the AFC Champions League

 



AL-AHLI

Finished: Second

Coaching situation: Sergiy Rebrov is out of contract at the end of June. His future is likely to depend on how the team fares against Al-Sadd in the second round of the AFC Champions League in May.

Squad priorities: There is not much wrong. The Jeddah giants were the highest scorers in the league last season and had the second best defense. Keeping star midfielder Leonardo fit will help as will a little cover in the center of defense. Star striker Omar Al-Somah fell out with the coach in a public way in the penultimate game of the season. It may be that one of them has to go. The Syrian has been player of the year for three years and has a longer contract than Rebrov.

Aim next season: Win the league. Maintain good performances in Asia.


 
AL-NASSR

Finished: Third

Coaching situation: Krunoslav Jurcic arrived in January and the former Croatian national team boss produced an upswing in results. May just be a temporary appointment and it needs to be sorted quickly.

Squad priorities: Looks good with the Saudi Arabia national team keeper, a strong center-back pairing of Omar Hawsawi and Bruno Uvini and the full-back position seemingly sorted with the January signing of Saad Suhail. They probably need a defensive midfielder and have to keep Junior Kabananga. The DR Congo striker has shown enough in his few weeks at the club to suggest that he could be a real star next season, especially with Leonardo pulling the strings behind him.

Aim next season: A genuine title challenge and getting through the play-offs into  the 2019 AFC Champions League.

 


AL-ITTIHAD

Finished: Ninth

Coaching situation: A bottom half finish is unacceptable for a team with Al-Itithad’s stature and history. Chilean coach Jose Luis Sierra may find that winning domestic cups is no substitute for challenging for the title.

Squad priorities: There is too much reliance on players such as Carlos Villanueva, a creative spark in the team, and Fahad Al-Ansari, the midfield engine, who are the wrong side of 30. The possible return of star winger Fahad Al-Muwallad will help, but an introduction of energy is needed.

Aim next season: Top three and, if the team wins the King’s Cup, a good showing in the 2019 AFC Champions League.