Manama: Not only in Mixed Martial Arts, but basically in every single sport, even when a star is still shining, fans and specialists around the globe start looking for the next big thing, for the athlete that will come and replicate, or yet surpass his or her achievements.
Since Khabib Nurmagomedov took the MMA world by storm, rising through the ranks and to become a legendary figure in the sport, and collecting name after name to his record, everyone is out there searching for the “next Khabib”.
Although many have been labeled as such, one name stands out as the perfect prototype to build a story as successful as Nurmagomedov’s within the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. His name is Muhammad Mokaev.
A British national with Dagestani roots, Mokaev is only 20 but has been shaped to become a superstar in the sport of MMA since day one. A member of Bahrain KHK MMA, “The Punisher” made his amateur debut at age 15, and since then he never stopped competing, winning, and breaking records.
Before he turned 18 and finally joined the IMMAF competitions, Mokaev had already fought seven times, in events all over England. In the 2018 Junior World Championships, he won his first world title but wanted more. In Bahrain, where the Juniors were held that year, he vowed to come back in 2019, this time to win the senior tournament.
But before, Mokaev made a quick stop in Rome, Italy, where he secured the IMMAF European title. Arriving in Bahrain a year after his first tournament experience already as an amateur star, he lived up to the hype and obliterated the competition to become the 2019 IMMAF World Champion.
The similarity in style, with a strong physique, lots and lots of pressure, and enough wrestling to not only take the opponents down but keep them there and punish them severely, Mokaev quickly started to be compared with his fellow Dagestani Khabib Nurmagomedov. Although Mokaev himself would rather be known as the first Muhammad Mokaev.
His fame probably preceded him, because BRAVE Combat Federation had several different opponents dropping out of Mokaev’s debut fight, scheduled to take place in Sweden, at BRAVE CF 37.
Finally, the promotion was able to find someone who not boasts a record as strong as Mokaev’s but also has the confidence to take on the feared amateur multi-champion on short notice: the 11-5 former Clan Wars amateur champ from Belfast, Northern Ireland Glenn McVeigh.
BRAVE CF 37 will see the biggest test so far for Muhammad Mokaev, for the first time in a global stage, without the shinpads, and with all the pressure over his shoulders. Will he deliver again?