BAMMA will be hitting our screens on Saturday night as the promotion ventures to the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham for their marquee event BAMMA 20.
The stacked card will feature three title bouts, with the reigning BAMMA Flyweight champion Rany Saadeh (6-1) looking for his first title defence against Chris “Night” Miah (6-0) in the first title fight of the evening.
Rany Saadeh, 21, resides in Berlin, Germany and trains out of the relatively unknown IMAG team. He often spends time at Phuket Top Team alongside the likes of Ian Entwistle and Chris Fishgold.
Saadeh’s only career loss came courtesy of the UK’s top flyweight in Pietro Menga. It was a baptism of fire for Saadeh, who at just 18-years of age and two fights into his pro MMA career, shouldn’t have been in a main event versus someone like Menga. It would have provided Saadeh with invaluable experience though, which undoubtedly helped him in his consequential victories over notables Danny Missin and Jody Collins.
Despite his age and lack of experience, Saadeh has already developed into a fairly well-rounded mixed martial artist. His striking is tight and technical; using simplistic boxing combinations and potent leg-kicks to control the action on the feet. He’s fairly patient on the feet and doesn’t leave too many openings. He utilises feints to disguise his offensive movements and his excellent footwork allows him to dictate the range whilst he waits for an opportunity to drag the fight to the mat.
On the mat is where is Saadeh excels. His wrestling is average, however once on the ground he is very effective at slicing through his opponents guard and manoeuvring his way to the back. Once on the back he uses the body-triangle to great effect, pinning his opponents in place and ensuring their chances of escaping are minimised. Additionally, Saadeh is fantastic in scrambles, coming out on top the vast majority of the time.
Saadeh’s main area of weakness at the moment is his takedown defence. On the European circuit this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, however when he eventually takes his talents to North America, he will have to work diligently to correct this. The typical American wrestler-boxer style would likely give Saadeh fits at this point in his career.
Chris Miah, 23, is a Solihull-based mixed martial artist training out of Pariah MMA. Miah is undefeated so far in his MMA career, but has not fought the same level of competition as Saadeh has. He was awarded the title shot off the back of his one-punch knockout of Mick Gerrard back at BAMMA 18 in February.
The first thing you notice about Miah is how big he is for the weight class. He’s 5’8 and densely built, and in every one of his bouts so far he’s been able to outmuscle his foes. He’s fairly well-rounded as a mixed martial artist, with powerful striking, decent offensive wrestling and a well-versed submission arsenal to boot.
If Miah’s going to win this fight he needs to be a brute, bullying Saadeh into close quarters and letting go with his heavy-hands. Miah never seems to fight with a specific game plan and can often get draw into sloppy striking exchanges. He has one-punch power which is something Saadeh must not underestimate.
Miah might have some success early on if he’s able to use his size and strength effectively, however I do expect Saadeh’s superior technique to prevail over the course of the fight. This is a significant jump in competition for Miah too and I don’t think he has developed the tools to stifle Saadeh just yet. Miah can tend to be a little wild and impulsive on the feet and against a patient and calculated counter-fighter like Saadeh, that could definitely result in an early night.
Ultimately, I think Saadeh outclasses Miah wherever the fight takes place. Picking him apart with strikes when on the feet and controlling him when on the mat. I wouldn’t rule out a finish, especially since Miah leaves openings to exploit, but in my opinion a decision is more likely.
Prediction: Rany Saadeh via unanimous decision