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HomeEntertainmentIsraeli judoka Muki loses to Iranian defector and friend Mollaei in 1st-ever...

Israeli judoka Muki loses to Iranian defector and friend Mollaei in 1st-ever matchup

Israeli judoka Sagi Muki was defeated Saturday by former Iranian champion Saeid Mollaei, in the pair’s first-ever match-up. Mollaei fled his country to Europe in 2019 after being ordered to lose bouts in order to avoid competing against the Israeli.

Mollaei and Muki became friends following the highly publicized incident at the 2019 World Championships, and have cheered each other on over the past few years. Saturday was the first time the two officially competed against each other, at the 2022 Judo Grand Slam held in Budapest, where Mollaei is representing Azerbaijan.

The two embraced after Mollaei was declared the victor.

“First ever contest between Saeid Mollaei and Sagi Muki! What a beautiful friendship between these judoka!” the International Judo Federation said on Twitter.

A caption to a 2020 Instagram photo of the two published by Muki read: “Friend for life!!!”

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