Brave CF 77 saw one champion retain his title, while another title changed hands, as the promotion returned home to Bahrain to kick off Brave International Combat Week.

In the main event, reigning lightweight champion Abdisalam Kubanychbek produced another impressive display to stop Lucas Martins and retain his 155-pound title.

Martins had blasted his way back into title contention, but missed out on his chance to capture the title after missing weight at the official weigh-ins. However, the bout went ahead, with the title still on the line. Kubanychbek needed to win to retain the strap, while defeat to Martins would see the title fall vacant.

The Kyrgyzstani champion ensured the latter outcome wouldn’t be a factor as he rocked Martins on the feet, then finished him on the ground with heavy ground strikes to claim the 21st win, and the 16th finish, of his pro MMA career to extend his unbeaten run to a staggering six years.

There was a big title change in the co-main event, as newly-crowned super-welterweight champion Marcin Bandel was toppled in his first title defense by undefeated Russian Kamal Magomedov.

The pair stood and traded punches through most of the opening round, until Magomedov stepped in, initiated the Muay Thai clinch, and badly rocked Bandel with a huge knee.

Seeing his opponent in big trouble, Magomedov disengaged the clinch and switched to his punches to drop and finish the Pole and capture the 175-pound crown.

The event also saw crucial victories for lightweight contender Olzhas Eskaraev and rising Ukrainian flyweight talent Vitaliy Yakimenko, and there was also an important victory for bantamweight contender Nicholas Hwende, who handed Mutoliubsho Akobirov the first defeat of his pro career with a shutout decision win on the scorecards.

The night kicked off with a bang, as Slovenian heavyweight slugger Haris “Scarface” Aksalic made a huge impression on his pro MMA debut with a first-round demolition of Egypt’s Eid Amer.

Aksalic dwarfed his opponent in the cage, and he put that extra size and weight to good use as he dropped his man with a short hook, then finished him with a vicious barrage of ground strikes to earn an easy first-round finish.

Brave CF 77: Official results

  • Abdisalam Kubanychbek def. Lucas Martins via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:39 – for lightweight title
  • Kamal Magomedov def. Marcin Bandel via TKo (punches) – Round 1, 4:28 – for super welterweight title
  • Olzhas Eskaraev def. Ruslan Tedeev via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:28
  • Adilet Nurmatoov def. Nikolay Samusev via TKO (injury) – Round 2, 0:06
  • Vitaliy Yakimenko def. Maysara Mohamed via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:10
  • Nicholas Hwende def. Mutolibsho Akobirov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Haris Aksalic def. Eid Amer via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 1, 1:27