Features

Mohammad Karaki Carries The Torch For Middle East Mixed Martial Arts

Oct 24, 2018

Mohammad “O Lutador” Karaki is on a mission to conquer the world.

On Friday, 26 October at ONE: PURSUIT OF GREATNESS, he will face the toughest test of his career when he challenges two-division ONE World Champion Aung La “The Burmese Python” N Sang for the middleweight title.

If the 27-year-old can upset the odds and claim the gold in the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar, he will make the leap from regional hero to international superstar.

What has martial arts taught ONE Middleweight World Title challenger Mohammad Karaki?

What has martial arts taught ONE Middleweight World Title challenger Mohammad "O lutador" karaki? Yangon | 26 October | 6:30PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness18

Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, 23 October 2018

“O Lutador” is a product of his regional scene. He began his martial arts education in the Middle East and North Africa, and has gone on to become one of the Arab world’s most talented athletes.

He started karate at 14 in his homeland and followed it up with jiu-jitsu lessons when he moved to Morocco, before he was old enough to compete in professional mixed martial arts bouts.

The Lebanese warrior’s first match came unexpectedly – he stepped in on short notice to replace an injured training partner, and his career took off from there.

Since recording his first win, Karaki has gone on to compete in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Egypt. The sport is quickly growing in these countries, despite the traditional lack of talent to emerge from them – and Karaki is now leading the way.

Not even a war-torn upbringing could stop Mohammad Karaki from achieving his martial arts dream.

Not even a war-torn upbringing could stop Mohammad "O lutador" karaki from achieving his martial arts dream.Yangon | 26 October | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness18

Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, 15 October 2018

“I like how much importance is being given to the sport in Jordan and in the UAE,” he says. “Interest is growing fast in mixed martial arts, despite the lack of Emirati athletes.”

His undefeated streak on the regional scene has seen him win multiple belts including the Desert Force Light Heavyweight and Middleweight Championships, and the Phoenix Middleweight Title.

The latter organization is based in Karaki’s hometown of Beirut, Lebanon, but it – and the rest of the martial arts community – suffered a huge blow last year.

Despite the success of the nation’s athletes, the Lebanese Ministry of Youth and Sports banned mixed martial arts.

Karaki may not be able to compete at home, but he continues to work on growing the sport’s popularity in Lebanon by representing his country in bouts on the international stage, and training the youth.

“I fight for everything and invest in myself due to the lack of support from officials,” he explains.

“I think that by supporting younger kids, giving them a taste of what mixed martial arts is all about from my experience, and representing Lebanon all over the world, I’m contributing to my country and feeling the support of my people back in Lebanon.”

Aung La N Sang vs. Mohammad Karaki has all the makings of an instant classic.

Aung La Nsang(Burmese Python) vs. Mohammad "O lutador" karaki has all the makings of an instant classic.Yangon | 26 October | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness18

Posted by ONE Championship on Monday, 15 October 2018

Karaki does not receive any official support from the Lebanese government, but he enjoys the backing of a passionate fanbase that recognizes him everywhere he goes in his home country, where he still resides.

“I feel Lebanese people’s support because mixed martial arts is very popular in the country. They back us all the way and love the sport,” he says.

“It’s a real honor to represent my people, and I hope to win for them.”

“O Lutador” adds that many fans will travel from Lebanon to watch his highly-anticipated bout on 26 October in Myanmar.

Ahead of his first contest in a non-Arab country, Karaki has done everything in his power to make sure he is prepared to spring an upset and dedicate another victory to his compatriots.

Yangon | 26 October | 6:00 PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Facebook: Prelims LIVE | Twitter: Prelims + 2 Main-Card bouts LIVE | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness18