After falling short in capturing a title in the inaugural PFL Europe season, Ali Taleb will now try his hand at becoming the inaugural PFL MENA Bantamweight Champion. Taleb, who has a grappling and jiu-jitsu base, won bantamweight gold before making his way to the PFL in 2022, where he earned a first-round submission of Darius Mafi in a showcase bout during the 2022 PFL Playoffs. In PFL Europe last year, Taleb scored a first-round TKO of Kenji Bortoluzzi before dropping a decision to Khurshed Kakhorov in the semifinals.


The combat sports journey of Nawras Abzakh began with Sambo before adding wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu to his skillset. The Jordan native, who has eight finishes in his 12 victories, has won regional gold at both flyweight and bantamweight. Abdazkh most recently fought in January, scoring a first-round submission of Azouz Anwar.


Which of these two will move on to the PFL MENA bantamweight playoffs?



Round 1


Abzakh with a low kick that misses. Taleb misses a one-two. Taleb tries to back up, but Abzakh’s chase ends with a successful takedown attempt. Taleb lands a couple of strikes from the bottom and throws up his guard, making it difficult for Abzakh to land anything from the top. Taleb continuing to land on the head of Abzakh. Abzakh gets to Taleb’s back, but Taleb brings the fight back to the feet before he can lock in any submission.


Taleb coming forward with his strikes, landing a short uppercut. Taleb with another uppercut that gets blocked, but he lands a solid right hand. Small combination from Taleb. Taleb misses a left hand. Taleb misses a right hand, but he lands a solid uppercut now. Taleb misses a power right. One-two from Abzakh. Left to the body and a right hand upstairs by Taleb. Strong uppercut and another right hand from Taleb. Three-punch combination by Taleb. Taleb continuing to press forward till the bell.



Round 2


Abzakh with a right hand to open things up in this round. Low kick from Taleb. The two clashing, and Abzakh shoots in, scoring another takedown. Taleb looks for roll, and he gets back to his feet, though finding himself against the fence as Abzakh looks for another takedown. Taleb is able to break free. Taleb with a couple of quick, short strikes. Taleb lands a right hand. Left hand by Abzakh. Three-punch combination misses for Taleb.


One-two by Taleb, as he continues to work his combinations. Right hand by Taleb lands to the head. Front kick by Taleb is blocked. The output from both men goes down, as Taleb is trying to keep patience. Right hand from Taleb goes to the body. Both men landing outside punches. Left hand from Abzakh. Left hand from Taleb before he goes in with another strong combination. Abzakh misses a straight, and Taleb lands another combination, landing a couple of strong right hands before the bell.



Round 3


Left hand lands for Taleb. Abzakh tries for a one-two but doesn’t get it. Left and a right from Taleb, and then he stuffs the takedown attempt from Abzakh. Abzakh continues to press forward. He gets the takedown, but Taleb’s arm is around his neck in a guillotine attempt! It’s not tight, however, and Abzakh is able to escape it. Abzakh finds himself in Taleb’s guard. Abzakh lands a left hand. Taleb lands several shots from the bottom.



Abzakh fires off a few left hands but continues to have trouble dealing with Taleb’s guard. A few more left hands from Abzakh, and Taleb responds in kind. The second half of the final round continues to be a striking battle on the ground, with both men landing their fair share of strikes from where they are positioned. Both men rack up punches for the statistics, but neither is able to do anything to score a finish as the final bell sounds.





Ali Taleb defeats Nawras Abzakh by unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28), advancing to the PFL MENA Playoffs in the Bantamweight Division.