Hussain Abdulla: The Jewel of Bahrain’s Amateur MMA Scene

Above: Bahrain’s Hussain Abdulla celebrates victory in the quarter-finals of the 2017 European Open – photo by Jorden Curran

Having first been submitted by David Fogarty in the opening round of the 2016 IMMAF World Championships, Bahrain’s leading amateur standout, Hussain Abdulla, secured one of his most impressive wins to date when facing the Irish world silver medalist for a second time, earning a near flawless Unanimous Decision victory at the 2017 European Open in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The Irish BJJ specialist entered this year’s European Open as the number seed having earned silver at both the World and European Open Championships in 2016; Fogarty and Abdulla faced off in the opening round of bouts. With a striking display of his talents, Abdulla became the physical embodiment of his nation’s commitment towards mixed martial arts development. Representing Bahrain’s national amateur MMA team, developed through KHK MMA – the nation’s hub for grass roots development, the 23-year-old took a huge step in boldly showcasing  just how much his skillset has developed.

In a coming of age performance Abdulla took to the bout with intelligence and a tactful awareness for matching Fogarty’s strengths with those of his own. While frequently tagging his opponent, his evasive striking and brilliant head movement throughout the 3 rounds of action made him incredibly difficult to land upon. While Abdulla had employed a good understanding of head movement in previous tournament’s, the icing on the cake that made all the difference against Fogarty was his heightened takedown defence that left the Irishman running short of answers and unable to take control as each round played out.

Hussain Abdulla slips

Fogarty was unable to land as Abdulla slipped his shots

Abdulla made his debut on the IMMAF international amateur platform in 2015 and made history as Bahrain’s first medal winner, taking bronze at the European Open and upsetting former world silver medalist Serdar Altas with a surprise rear-naked-choke submission to announce himself on the international scene. He missed out on a podium finish at the IMMAF Worlds and European Open in 2016 but has since re established himself as an up and coming contender in the Men’s Flyweight division, kicking off the year with European Open bronze after narrowly losing out in the semi-finals, via a split-decision loss to Bulgaria’s Nikolay Ivalyov who went on to earn silver.

Abdulla was joined at this year’s European Open by national team mates including 19-year-old Nayef Fikey, 25-year-old Hamad Mattar and 18-year-old Maher Hamed who competed just two weeks after his 18th birthday. While the trio were unable to clinch victories of their own, the young hopefuls are only just getting started as they represent the promising foundations that have been set out for Bahrain’s sporting youth.

By lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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