BRAVE Combat Federation, one of the most rapidly growing fight promotions in the world, let alone Europe, has already cultivated a rich line of champions since its birth in 2016. One of the most fascinating divisions, lightweight has seen six men including one interim champ touch gold, but none so far have been able to hold onto it.
On September 25th, Amin Ayoub of France will look to become the first BRAVE CF Lightweight champion to defend the title. However to do so he will have to go through Ahmed Amir, a grappling machine from Egypt.
At only twenty five years old, Ayoub has amassed a professional record of 16-4. In 2019, The Frenchman made his BRAVE CF debut, submitting Djamil Chan and throwing his name into the hat of potential contenders. He would be granted his shot and take full advantage knocking out then champion Cleiton Pereira da Silva in the fourth round. He would follow this with a catchweight victory against Mashrabjon Ruziboev, bringing his momentum to three straight promotional wins going into his title defence against Amir.
With seven submissions across his eleven wins Ahmed Amir has established himself a force to be reckoned with. Beginning his BRAVE CF run with a knockout of renowned jiu jitsu star Richie Martinez in 2016, Amir has been a name-stay of the promotion since the beginning. In 2019 he would attain the biggest victory of his career yet with a rear-naked choke finish of Yousef Wehbe in Saudi Arabia. He would then go top himself with a win over Cian Crowley at BRAVE CF 41, earning a shot at the belt.
Amir Ayoub is a well rounded fighter. On the feet he poses a loose striking style with good leg kicks and sharp boxing. He is patient, and will look to set traps and invest in using footwork in order to take control of the cage. Although usually orthodox, Ayoub is known to switch stance, forcing his opponents to hesitate and disrupt their rhythm. Watch for him to punch wide, especially the right uppercut-left hook combo, but snipe straight kicks and jumping knees down the middle.
What is really special about his style however is his particularly active guard. When he is taken down, or knocked down he has shown a very strong ability to not only recover but win battles off his back. If he gives up control time he more than makes up for it by prodding his opponents with short punches and constantly attacking sweeps and submissions.
What he does so well is constant hip movement, rarely will you ever see Ayoub stationary on the canvas, rather he is always hip scooting in order to create angles. He will throw his legs up for armbars, or try to posture up and attack guillotines. However the old phrase in combat sports “if he defends, he is just giving up something else” is not shown by anyone better than Ayoub. If he finds his opponent defending the submission he jumps on the sweep instantly and vice versa, and if neither are available he will use the attack to create space and get back to his feet. The important part is he always uses his attack to advance somewhere.
What makes this match up so interesting is the juxtaposition of the styles. While Ayoub is a patient and methodical striker, Ahmed Amir will sit down on his punches and throw with tenacity everytime. While Ayoub will play the chess game off his back, Amir will look to smother his opponents with pressure from the opening bell.
Ahmed Amir’s striking game is built around his strength as a wrestler. Often he will push forward and sit down on his punches on the get go because he wants his opponents to respect the power as quickly as possible. This forces them to react when he throws, often straight and long, because when he does get that reaction, he uses it to feint and set up the double leg which starts with the similar forward lunging motion.
From there Amir is relentless. If he finds himself pushing his opponent against the cage he will use the cage in order to rotate to the back and secure the body lock. He will invest in knees to the body and legs to break his opponent down and weaken their grappling defense further. He is quick to transition between the lower body takedowns but his best work is when he can drag his opponents down directly into his back control.
Although Ayoub may be the best at creating space, Amir may be equally good at shutting it down, his chest to chest pressure is some of the best in the world. Rather than give his opponents the space to move, Amir will use the canvas or fence in order to peel and force his opponents to give up their side or back in order to pass the guard and hunt submissions.
I believe that early on we will get to see whether Ayoub will be able to create space against Amir. At some point in the fight Amir will get on top and from there a better gauge on the fight will be clear depending on who wins out in that area.
If Ayoub can create space on his back I think he can force Amir to react to him, and leading the dance, eventually force Amir to expose his neck while trying to push forward. If he cannot create any space, I think that he will be giving up control against possibly the best grappler he is yet to face and may find himself down on the scorecards. Particularly, if Amir looks to force Ayoub’s head to the fence, even in guard it could spell trouble for the Frenchman.
However ultimately I think that Ayoub will be able to stay composed, and over five rounds, his patience will pay off.
Official Prediction: Amin Ayoub to win via submission.