Asia

Jordan’s Hazem Kayyali wins gold at national championships in Amman

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Hazem Kayyali, 22, of Jordan won a gold medal at the national championships held by the Jordan Mixed Martial Arts Federation at the Martyr Rashid Al-Zayoud Hall of Al-Hussein Youth City in Amman, Jordan from July 29-30, 2022. Six teams participated in the tournament where seven new national champions were crowned. 

The Jordan national team has been performing well in the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and hopes to build upon the number of athletes that travelled to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for the 2021 IMMAF World Championships. The national championships will help select a team as they ready themselves to compete at the upcoming set of Asia and World Championships. 

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In 2019, Kayyali burst onto the IMMAF scene, competing as a light heavyweight. However, he was unable to make waves in that division and bowed out of the tournament in the semi-finals. 

On September 11, 2021, Kayyali went on to enter the 2021 IMMAF World Cup in Prague, Czech Republic as a middleweight athlete. A Brazilian jiujitsu brown belt, he arguably stole the show with his grappling prowess and took home gold after submitting Eoin Sheridan, 27, of Ireland.

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On January 25, 2022, Kayyali lost via unanimous decision to Fergus “The Future” Jenkins, 21, of New Zealand at the 2021 IMMAF World Championships at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zeyed Sports City, Abu Dhabi. They battled it out in the middleweight division.

At the Jordan MMA Federation’s national championships, Kayyali bounced back by utilizing ground and pound to open up the opportunity for an armbar which he snatched at immediately to get the win in the final. This rounded off a big month for him after winning gold at the Abu Dhabi Jiujitsu Pro (AJP) Tour Jordan Nationals the previous week. 

The tournament marks a significant moment for the Jordan MMA Federation as it continues to build talent in Jordan. The federation is currently preparing its youth team to compete at the 2022 Youth World Championships.

Four athletes were selected to represent Jordan in Abu Dhabi this year. In 2021, the country had a sole entry.

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