UPDATE: Al-Hameed lost a unanimous decision to Felicia Spencer at Invicta FC 27 last Saturday night. It was a fight of the night battle as both women traded toe to toe for most of the fight. Spenser used her taikwondo kicks that were met by Al-Hameed’s boxing style and it was tough to pick who to favor. Both fighters showed well. In the end, all three judges scored the fight 30-27 for Spenser who moves to (4-0) while Al-Hameed is now (0-1) as a pro.
Akeela Al-Hameed is set to represent Minnesota tonight at Invicta FC 27 in Kansas City, Missouri. The 30 year old Army veteran battles Felicia “Feenom” Spencer (3-0) of Canada on tonight’s UFC Fight Pass broadcast beginning at 7 PM Central time. It will be Al-Hameed’s pro debut following an undefeated run that began in 2016 as an amateur.
Al-Hameed was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa but raised in Minneapolis. Competition was a big part of her life growing up, with basketball being her main focus in middle school , high school, and college. Al-Hameed also spent 6 years in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan. Like many American’s who have spent time in the Military, Al-Hameed found herself drawn to combat sports following her services.
“I never had any real martial arts training but I’ve always been interested” said Al-Hameed when asked about her fight background. “When I finally got the chance, I jumped at the opportunity. A friend of mine (Dan Kiser) thought I looked like I could kick ass in this sport and invited me to his gym. I’ve always thought about competing so I decided to give it a try”
After accepting Dan Kiser’s offer to visit Spartan Martial Arts in Oakdale, MN, she was hooked. Despite starting combat sports later in her life compared to the majority, she has been highly successful in everything from jiu-jitsu, muay thai, and MMA.
“Spartan is where I started, and it’s the only gym I’ve been a part of. It’s been a great experience. Dan kiser was a part of this gym and he introduced me to Tom and Kelly Schmitz. There weren’t many woman in the gym at the time other than Kelly so it was a bit intimidating. But growing up, I mostly played basketball with men so it was a bit easy to get used to. The environment was inviting and challenging as hell. I’ve always thought I could handle myself in a fight but my first week at Spartan showed me that there is a difference between a street fighter and a skilled, trained fighter. I love challenges and working hard. Plus Kelly whooped my ass so I wanted to stay! “
Al Hameed was victorious when Fight 2 Win brought top level ju jitsu to Minnesota late last year. She also won bronze at last years IBJJF World BJJ tournament in California. A month later last March, she then captured the TBA muay thai championship belt for the second year in a row. Still, she says that most of her experience comes from the gym. Al-Hameed says that the push from her teammates on a daily bases will be the key to success when she meets Felicia Spencer later tonight.
“I train hard and I’m constantly learning so I feel like my development in this sport is coming along. The decision to turn pro happened due to the opportunity. I’ve never turned a fight down and Invicta FC called for me to step in on short notice to take on Felicia Spencer.”
Spencer was born in Montreal, Canada but fights out of Orlando, Florida. Martial Arts has been a huge part of her life from an early age. She began learning taekwondo at the age of 4 and added Brazilian jiu jitsu by the time she turned 12. Spencer expanded her skills to include kickboxing soon after and finally began MMA training in 2009. She is currently undefeated at (3-0) with all pro wins coming on the Invicta stage.
“I expect her to be a fast paced straight forward fighter” said Al-Hameed. “I see her trying to push the pace and try to finish the fight early. But I will fight the way that I need to in order to win. I believe that I am well rounded and no matter what script the fight follows, I will always be in the lead.”
“I’d like to give a shout out all of my sponsors, Spartan Martial Arts, Calla Clinic, Train Your way Fitness, Cook Saint Paul, Performance Welding, Scott and Cindy you guys are a blessing, and TP Photography. Everything is done for the glory of god and I will always remain teachable, attainable, coachable and most importantly humble.”