Israeli MMA fighter Haim Gozali. (screenshot) screenshot

Mixed martial artist Haim Gozali, the only Israeli to ever fight in Madison Square Garden, is preparing for homecoming bout in November.

By World Israel News Staff

Ready, set, fight!

Tel Aviv will host in a major mixed martial arts (MMA) event called “Bellator 234” on November 14.

Israeli welterweight Haim Gozali, also know as “Israeli Batman,” will take on Russian fighter Artur “The Predator” Pronin.

Forty-six-year old Gozali is the only Israeli MMA fighter who has competed in Madison Square Garden. This will be his last fight before retiring

Gozali’s son, Aviv, is also on the card, and will fight Zaka Fatullazade.

Frequently billed as the world’s fastest-growing sport, MMA combines wrestling and striking martial arts into a single discipline, including techniques from Thai-boxing, judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and boxing. Its roots can be traced as far back as Pankration in the ancient Olympic Games.

As this MMA card demonstrates, Israel has emerged as a top destination for world-class sports competitions.

In May, Israel hosted the first Giro d’Italia cycling race ever held outside of Europe.

The Grande Partenza (Big Start) saw 176 of the world’s top cyclists from 22 teams begin the competition against the backdrop of Jerusalem’s Old City.

The cyclists also passed Israel’s parliament, Supreme Court, the Israel Museum and the Hebrew University on their route through the city.

The race’s leg was named in honor of Gino Bartali, a three-time former Giro champion who in 2013 was posthumously named a Righteous Among the Nations, Israel’s highest honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

Ahead of the start of the race, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met the Israeli team and wished them success. “The whole country will be behind you. It’s a great moment for Israel and Israeli sports,” Netanyahu stated.

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