Tarek Suleiman, one of the Middle east’s most legendary MMA stars, won his most recent bout at UAE Warriors Arabia in under 2 minutes. The BJJ black belt who typically fights out of Thailand and currently fighting out of #dubai, put all of his skills to use in a dominating performance last week.
The light heavyweight champion fights for his native Syria, representing an alternative narrative to the war-torn country. He hopes to inspire fellow countrymen of what is possible and remind others that Syria is not just a conflict zone, nor are its people all refugees; they are athletes, academics, and artists.
He began boxing at age 15, but the war in 2011 pushed him towards MMA. At 31, he now cross-trains BJJ and Muay Thai while also representing Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. From a small village, he is now one of the most dangerous names in combat sports in the Middle East. He is currently ranked #2 in the middleweight division and #1 in light heavyweight.
The champ faced off against French Algerian Laid Zerhouni in a main event middleweight contest. Previously only held as a tournament, UAE Warriors Arabia will now exist as a series exclusively for Arab fighters. This spin-off will run parallel to their international series, with champions from each eventually competing for a title.
This fight was off to a punishing start as Suleiman threw a dangerous overhand. His opponent, Laid Zerhouni, managed to roll beneath it, taking the match to the floor. Suleiman immediately took the top position, and although Zerhouni tried to turn things in his favour, he was mostly unsuccessful. Suleiman threw powerful punches to the head on his back and searched for a choke until he got the perfect opportunity.
Suleiman submitted his opponent via rear-naked choke in round one, bringing him a winning streak of two and an 11-7-0 record.
All eyes are on Suleiman and it will be interesting to see what is next for the champ, and we have a feeling UFC may be calling.