Cristiano Marcello and Antony Rea on card for Desert Force in Dubai

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The taxi in Dubai. Desert Force wants to piggyback on the new talent and produce "heroes" for young people. Publicity photo.

A Jordanian MMA event scouting the talent from across the Arab world, Desert Force will touch down in Dubai on the 16th of December.

The UAE event, besides serving up some decisive battles between athletes from the Middle Eastern region, will feature international matchups with fighters like Francimar Bodão, Antony Rea and Cristiano Marcello.

The folks are taking it quite seriously. For example, the black belt Francimar Bodão, who has been residing in Jordan for a year now, returns to Brazil this weekend to prepare for his fight alongside his team, Nova União.

“Dedé (Pederneiras) emailed me asking that I do my preparations in Brazil. There’s no arguing, I’m packing my bags,” said Bodão.

The fighter will be facing seasoned Frenchman Antony Rea, who at the last Desert Force event made quick work of Sean Michael Salmon, on September 30 in Jordan.

However much weight the international card carries, the main focus of the event is till to launch talent from the region. According to Jordan’s Prince Hussein Mirza, one of the promoters of the event, the idea is to produce heroes of the sport to whom Arab youths can look up to as honorable and healthy athletes.

The effort is endorsed by the Jordanian team’s boxing coach, the American Nettles Nasser. Nettles worked with Kevin Rooney, Mike Tyson’s coach, for three years in New York, and is working with Olympic teams in the region. He’s the one tasked with preparing the new stars of Arab MMA.

“Here they’re naturally born fighters. The stories here are similar to those of American inner cities. I’ve seen boxing save hundreds of lives in the USA during the 18 years I’ve worked in the sport. Nowadays I feel MMA will be doing the same,” he reflected.

The event’s organizers confirmed that the Arab winners will earn an extra reward upon capturing the DFC belt:: the idea is to send them to a lengthy training camp, probably in Brazil. From there they will be launched into the international spotlight.

Desert Force
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
December 16, 2011

(-70 kg)
Elias El Rayess (LEB) vs Abdullah Nabas (JOR)
Bachir Yamine (LEB) vs Hassan Al Humaiti (UAE)
Mahmoud Saeed “Balardo” (EGY) vs Abdullah Bin Qasem (SAUDI)
Issa Issa (EGY) vs Mohamed Arti (KUW)

(-77 kg)
Milad Slaibi (LEB) vs Ammar Tchalabi (SAUDI)
Georges Eid (LEB) vs Gabrielt Tayeh (PAL)

(-84 kg)
Ibrahim Sawi (EGY) vs Omar Alqabandi (KUW)
Aymen Ben Ali (TUN) vs Hashem Arkhagha (JOR)

(-93 kg)
Mohamed “Felix” El Sayed (EGY) vs Khalid Walid (SYR)
Amr Shehata (EGY) vs Ayob Al Shemmeri (KUW)
Mohammed Abdel Atheem (EGY) vs Mahmoud El Sayed (EGY)

International card
70 kg = Cristiano Marcello (BRA) vs Brian Cobb (USA)
70 kg = Maiki Ritter (BRA) vs Islam Makoev (RUS)
77 kg = Abdullah Hamdan (LEB) vs Oleb Bagov (RUS)
93 kg = Francimar “Bodao” Barroso (BRA) vs Antony Rea (FRA)

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