Mounir Lazzez is not one to go to the judges’ scorecards.
Lazzez (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who became the first fighter born and raised in an Arab country to sign with UFC, will make his promotional debut July 15 when he takes on Abdul Razak Alhassan.
Lazzez, a Tunisian-born striker based out of Team Nogueira in Dubai, has dazzled fans in the region with an array of highlight-reel knockouts, finishing eight of his nine professional wins. He will draw a stern test in fellow proven finisher Alhassan, but Lazzez is excited about the stylistic matchup.
“He is definitely an opponent that requires my full attention,” Lazzez told MMA Junkie. “A 10-1 record with all wins coming via first-round KO isn’t someone you look past. However, he likes to stand and bang, and that will be his demise against me. I have more weapons, and his looping overhands will never find me. Should he decide to grapple, I just got through a black belt Judoka three fights back, and I train out of the mecca of Submission Grappling, the UAE, with top ADCC champions as my sparring partners.
“On my best day It will be hard for anyone to beat me. I don’t want to come across as arrogant, but I truly believe in my ability and feel this is my fate. This is going to be a battle that can end at any moment. It will be fireworks from start to finish, and I can’t wait.”
Lazzez has fought across numerous regional shows, capturing the Desert Force welterweight title early in his career. He has always been dubbed as one of the top talents in the Middle East and despite making history with his signing, he knew this moment would arrive.
“I feel truly blessed to be representing the MENA region in the world’s biggest combat stage,” Lazzez said. “After going through the top promotions in the region and fighting for every title there is around, I have been waiting for this to happen. There wasn’t anything else left for me on a regional scale. The only direction was going international, and thank God it was the UFC.”
With the UFC’s new five-year deal with Abu Dhabi in place, as well as the promotion’s return for the entire month of July on Yas Island, Lazzez’s signing might be a sign of big opportunities to come for Middle East-based fighters.
“This goes to show that the UAE has a base for talent and that my signing is a pioneering moment for all the upcoming fighters in the region and the UFC,” Lazzez said. “I hope I can be the key to all of this and leave a permanent footprint in the expansion of the sport in the region. You need that mentality to make it to the big leagues.
“It is my time to pursue my dream now as it pertains to my MMA journey and will help the UFC grow its footprint here by garnering support from casual MMA fans to support one of their own. A regional born and bred fighter, to show the world what we are capable of and open the door for more to follow.”
And for those who aren’t familiar with Lazzez’s skills, he wants everyone to know that he has no intention of coasting in his UFC debut.
“I come from a striking background, but being in the UAE and around ADCC champions I’ve matured into a well rounded MMA fighter,” Lazzez said. “I enjoy fighting. I would rather go out for the KO than play it safe and try to win a boring decision. It was my flashy knockouts that got me here, and that is what will get people behind me to achieve the belt. For me, this is entertainment as much as it is a sport, and I want to put on a show.”