Ali Al Qaisi ready to defend UAE Warriors featherweight title at his 'second home'

Jordanian fighter promises to put on a show when he takes on Swede Samuel Bark in Abu Dhabi

Ali Al Qaisi with his UAE Warriors featherweight belt. Photo: UAE Warriors
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The UAE Warriors will celebrate a special milestone this weekend when the promotion stages its 50th event, along with the first unified Arabia and Africa fight card, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre Marina.

The highlight of the two day event on Friday and Saturday is the featherweight title contest between holder Ali Al Qaisi and Samuel Bark of Sweden in the promotion’s international card.

Al Qaisi is coming off a stoppage loss to Walter Cogliandro in a catchweight bout at UAE Warriors 45 last October. Before that, the Jordanian fighter was on a three-fight winning streak, defending both his International and Arabia titles.

Al Qaisi is looking forward to the prospect of facing a fresh challenge in the promotion’s milestone fight card.

“I’m super excited to defend my title in this milestone fight card,” Al Qaisi, whose record stands at 15-7, told The National.

“I'm well prepared for this fight. It's a big event, a big show. I'm excited to put on a show for my people here in Abu Dhabi, which I consider as my second home.”

Al Qaisi will be meeting Bark for the first time but said he is ready for the clash after studying his videos. “I don’t intend to go the distance with him, perhaps stop him within the first three rounds,” he said.

“I always like to put on a show. That’s why people come to watch me. I want to fight for the people. They give me a lot of energy when I’m inside the cage.

“Also, my preparation is always to meet the best in the world. If someone is prepared 100 per cent for me, I’ll be prepared 120 per cent to take him on, regardless who it is. That’s always been my approach to any contest.”

His opponent Bark has competed under the Cage Warriors and Oktagon MMA banner. Winner of six of his past seven fights, the Swede registered a split decision win over Vladimir Lengal at Oktagon 50 in December.

Bark appeared in the Warriors card back in July 2022, a contest he won by a split decision over Romanian Alexandru Chitoran. Since then, he has won five times and suffered a loss to Belgian Losene Keita in Oktagon 39 for a 9-2 record.

“I won my only fight in Abu Dhabi and this is a big one with a title belt at stake, and looking forward to take on Ali,” Bark told The National at the pre-fight conference on Wednesday.

“I don’t know much about Ali but I know he’s the champion. He's probably going to take me down and look for submissions. That's what I know of him.

“I like striking but I have good defensive wrestling skills. Nobody has kept me down in MMA so far, so we’ll see if he can be the first.

“I mean in every fight I always get taken down but they never control me on the ground. I always get back up but this time I'm going to try to stay on the feet.

“I don’t want to think too much of my opponent but I’ll do my thing like throwing punches, use my elbows and knees. We'll see who comes on top on the night.”

In the co-main event, undefeated Russian Shakhban Alkhasov (8-0) faces Azerbaijan's Tahir Abdullaev (16-2) for the vacant welterweight title while Japan's Yamato Fujita (11-4) will meet Brazil's Iago Ribeiro (12-3) for the inaugural UAE Warriors flyweight title.

The unified Arabia-Africa clash will see Randy Saadeh (13-4) of Palestine take on South African Cedric Doyle (10-6-1) in the main bantamweight contest.

Saadeh, who is based in Germany, is a former BAMMA champion and has been competing in UAE Warriors since 2021, while Doyle is an EFC veteran who appeared in the Abu Dhabi promotion last year.

Updated: May 15, 2024, 5:02 PM