The final bracket of the inaugural 2022 MMA SuperCup in Bahrain is now official. Hosting nation, Bahrain have booked their final appearance courtesy of a split decision victory over Team Kazakhstan in the semi final, and will meet Team Ireland who advanced to the final tie with their victory over Team Mexico earlier this Thursday afternoon.
The three-day event, which kicked off on Wednesday, comprised of eight teams competing for a grand prize of $100,000 – in a bid to help development the sport and infrastructure in the winning nation or region.
With Team Ireland meeting Team Bahrain in the final, the losing side of that bracket will still net $75,000 – while a best-placed third team, identified by a bracket consisting of both the aforenoted Team Kazakhstan, and Team Mexico battling to secure the $50,000 third-place cash prize.
Turning in an eventual 5-4 victory over Team Mexico, Team Ireland – led by Team Ryano head coach, Andy Ryan and SBG Cork staple, team manager, Liam-Og Griffin, Ireland scored notable victories through the likes of Kerry Ann Vernon, Jordan Furey, and an americana stoppage from Denis Parry eventually sealed Ireland’s slot in Saturday’s grand final.
For Team Bahrain, the highly-touted Sabrina de Sousa got the nation on their way with a quickfire armbar win in her outing – while a split decision triumph for the region in a pivotal last match paved their way to a final outing against Team Ireland on Saturday.
Prior to this Saturday’s grand final, the aforenoted, Liam-Og Griffin explained the financial impact a victory for Team Ireland would be, considering the sport is not officially recognised at a government and regulatory level in the country.
“Irish athletes are and have always been self-funded,” Liam-Og Griffin said. “MMA is not yet recognised in Ireland and there’s no state sponsorship. In 2021 we were fortunate to have a couple of generous private sponsors to help with team expenses but the day to day running of the association is still very much bootstrapped. Any prize money earned at the MMA SuperCup will make a huge difference to what can be achieved by the national association and the entire MMA community would see the benefits of that injection.”
As for Bahrain, BRAVE CF super lightweight champion and KHK MMA head coach, Eldar Eldarov stressed the importance of a tournament victory at the MMA SuperCup on home soil for Team Bahrain.
“It’s (the MMA SuperCup) is happening in Bahrain, so we have to win this MMA SuperCup,” Eldar Eldarov said. “The young Bahraini generation will come and watch. We are here to show them that Bahrain can build champions who can beat anyone in the world.”