The biggest star in Bahraini MMA is looking to make national history at BRAVE CF 57.

Hamza Kooheji is known as “The Pride of Bahrain” and the 29-year-old will take center stage in the main event on home soil at Khalifa Sports City Arena in Manama as he bids to become the first Bahraini fighter to win a major MMA world title.

Kooheji will take on Canada’s Brad Katona for the vacant BRAVE CF bantamweight title and, speaking at a press event at Juffair Square ahead of the March 11 matchup, Kooheji spoke of his pride at being able to represent his nation on such a grand stage.

“I’ve always wanted to be an athlete, and was told I couldn’t do it,” he said.

“My legacy will be to help people who want to be athletes to realize their dreams. I think Bahraini people will benefit from having more sports in their day-to-day lives and I want to be a part of that change.”

Kooheji said he was ready for the challenge of SBG Ireland product Katona, who won the 27th season of The Ultimate Fighter back in 2018.

“My opponent is a very tough athlete and he’s very skilled,” said Kooheji.

“But I feel as if I’m preparing for a fighter who’s very much better than him, so I feel prepared.

“I want to thank the Bahraini people for their support and invite all to come on March 11th to the Khalifa Sports City Arena, for what is a very important moment for Bahrain sports.”

The upscaling of BRAVE CF’s International Combat Week festivities include the addition of the MMA Super Cup, an international team-based amateur MMA tournament that will run over the course of the week.

It means that more eyes from across the MMA world will be on the action in Bahrain in March and, while Kooheji may not be a household name outside of his homeland, his importance to Bahrain was underlined by BRAVE CF president Mohammed Shahid in a short, definitive statement.

“Philippines has Manny Pacquiao, USA has Muhammad Ali, Ireland has Conor McGregor and Bahrain has Hamza Kooheji.”