Brave CF welterweight champion Jarrah Al-Silawi is happy to continue proving that he can compete with the best.
Al-Silawi (15-3) meets former UFC fighter Ismail Naurdiev (20-4) in the main event of Brave CF 50, which takes place Thursday at The National Stadium in Riffa, Bahrain.
“The Jordanian Lion” is accustomed to facing elite-level competition. Having won 10 of his past 11 bouts, Al-Silawi holds finishes over the likes of newly signed UFC welterweight Carlston Harris, Cage Warriors’ David Bear and former Brave CF champ Abdoul Abdouraguimov.
In facing someone like Naurdiev, who went 2-2 in his UFC tenure with wins over Michel Prazeres and Siyar Bahadurzada, Al-Silawi is excited for another stern test.
“I’ve beaten guys that have gone onto the UFC,” Al-Silawi told MMA Junkie. “The fact that he’s an ex-UFC fighter gives me an opportunity to prove that I can beat any fighter that comes from any organization. Ismail has a great record and was in the UFC and that just gives me motivation and reason to beat him.”
He continued, “Honestly, I didn’t know who he was. But I looked him up and I saw that he has a great record, he’s had fights in the UFC, everyone knows who he is, so that’s why I liked this fight.”
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Al-Silawi has spent the second half of his camp in Dubai due to the COVID-19 restrictions in his home country of Jordan. He got the opportunity to train with the likes of Gokhan Saki and ONE Championship title challenger Timofey Nastyukhin and is confident in his preparation ahead of his first title defense. With various knockouts, submissions and decision wins on his resume, Al-Silawi said he’s comfortable wherever the fight goes.
“He (Naurdiev) has a really nice style, he’s a really good fighter, but we studied him really well,” Al-Silawi said. “I know how to make him uncomfortable in the cage. The fight will be really tough for him, and I’ve got a big surprise in store for him. I’m used to prevailing against some of the best fighters, I always compete against the best, and I’m always full of surprises. I always beat the odds. I prepared really well for this fight, I’m really amped up, and I’m expecting it to be a really big fight.”
He continued, “I can submit him or knock him out. That’s what separates me from the rest. I don’t just have one style. I have the total package so it can end by knockout or submission.”
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Al-Silawi was scheduled to defend his title against Khamzat Chimaev in April, but the pandemic forced the event in Sweden to be canceled. Chimaev then went on to sign with the UFC and subsequently took the octagon by storm. Al-Silawi admits that he was a little disappointed that the fight slipped away.
“The fight fell through like 15, 20 days before,” Al-Silawi said. “The camp was there, I prepared for Khamzat, and I was really looking forward to the fight, but the fight didn’t happen. Of course, this was one of the fights I was most pumped up for. I had a great game plan, but it didn’t happen.”
With the UFC making numerous trips to “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi, we’ve seen the likes of Middle East-based fighters Mounir Lazzez and Ali Al-Qaisi get signed, which raised eyebrows as to why Al-Silawi hasn’t followed suit. But the two-time Brave CF welterweight champ, who’s widely considered one of the best fighters to ever come out of the Arab region, has recently re-signed a multi-fight deal with the Bahrain-based promotion and said he is happy with his current status with the company.
“I’ve competed against some of the best fighters,” Al-Silawi said. “I even used to welcome any newly signed prospect to the organization. I was the Arab fighter that used to welcome the best fighters, but right now I’m under a contract with Brave CF. I’m very comfortable with Brave, which is why I’m not currently thinking about the UFC. I like the message Brave is putting out there, which is giving the Arab fighters an opportunity to prove that they’re the best and that they can compete against the highest level, so I’m happy where I’m at.”