Widespread Opportunity as 8 Nations Advance to IMMAF-WMMAA Pan Am Finals

World championships standouts from Mexico, Canada and France were dominant in the 2019 Pan American Open semi-finals, yet it was a day where results granted widespread opportunity to nations across the Americas and beyond.

Mexico remains in pole position to cap of the Pan-American Open Championships as the event’s most successful team, leading the competition with 8 athletes set for the finals. Team Mexico is guaranteed a minimum of 3 gold medals with all-Mexican finals having developed in the women’s strawweight division and both men’s and women’s bantamweight divisions.

One such bout will kick off the Pan Am finals with strawweight world championships bronze medalist Nadia Vera entering the fold against national team mate Nicole Geraldo who bested the USA’s Meg Ryan via a unanimous decision in the semi-finals.

Vera enters the 2019 Pan Ams following a standout series of performances for Mexico at the 2018 Unified World Championships, with respective TKO and submission wins in Bahrain before finishing on the wrong end of a split-decision in the semi-finals to eventual gold medalist, Ukraine’s Daria Samchik.

In the men’s bantamweight tournament, junior world bronze medalist Ismael Zamora continued to showcase himself at the senior level with his second TKO win of the 2019 Pan Ams, setting up an all-Mexican final with
Agustin Guzman who pulled off an Arm-Bar submission over Colombia’s Jose Alejandro Ruiz.

After Carlos Gamboa’s quarter-final victory in the middleweight bracket, he picks up a bronze medal for Panama following elimination in the semi-finals where the last of Panama’s representatives faced defeat.

Colombia and the USA both faced split-success in the Pan Am semis, Colombia going 2-2 while the USA secured 3 wins against 2 defeats. With each having just a handful of gold medal shots, the two nation’s will slug it out in the men’s flyweight final where Israel Galvan of the USA meets Colombia’s Duvan Chacon.

USA man Angelo Rivera Jr. faces the greatest challenge of all Pan Am finalists as he targets middleweight gold, up against two-time world silver medalist, 2018 European Open and 2019 Oceania Open champion, France’s Axel Sola. Both athletes snatched arm-bar submissions in their semi-final contests.

Stepping up to middleweight, Sola is in the process of capping off his final amateur year with a full run through of the IMMAF-WMMAA continental series, building to his third world championships appearance later this year. Rivera will no doubt find confidence looking towards Sola’s 2019 Asian Open upset where, despite his highly rounded talents, the Frenchman was shut down by Bahrain wrestling specialist Ramazan Gitinov.

Canadian welterweight Jett Grande completes the lineup of the world championships medalists entering the Pan Am finals. The junior world champion is showing early promise as a senior contender, taking his second win of the tournament by submitting Jose Luis Buitrago Sanchez (Colombia) with a Kimura in the second round.

Grande faces the Czech Republic’s Mansur Soltachanov who advanced due to a disqualification of Mexico’s Daniel Sanchez. The small Czech contingent featured a trio of athletes making the long trip to the Bahamas, yet the nation will see two out of three representatives battle in the finals, Jaroslav Hrdlička faces the USA’S Kyle Cason in the men’s lightweight gold medal decider.

Hrdlička earned a unanimous decision over the USA’s Daniel Liberson in the semi-finals with Cason also taking a scorecards win over Erland Meloney (Trinidad And Tobago).

Both Trinidad and Tobago and host nation Bahamas entered the 2019 Pan Ams with inherited underdog status, facing up against experienced competition of the international IMMAF-WMMAA platform. Nevertheless, the Bahamas have clawed their way to the Pan Am finals with T&T also having a shot at a continental gold medal. The two nations will collide in the light-heavyweight final with Christian Miller targeting victory on home soil against Lashawn Sladden.

In the heavyweight division, Marcel Amann’s TKO semi-final triumph was a catalyst for home nation pride as he bested Mexico’s Victor Diaz, but that is not the last he will see of Team Mexico, with Jonathan Muamba scoring his second first round TKO to set up an daunting heavyweight finale with both revenge and Pan Am gold on the table.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

For full results and finals schedule click HERE.

Undefeated Start For Mexico at IMMAF-WMMAA Pan-Ams 2019

The Amateur MMA Pan-American Open Championships made its compelling debut yesterday (May 16) as the fifth continental open championships of the IMMAF – WMMAA platform.

Taking place in the Bahamas, the host nation secured a historic first victory on the international platform as men’s featherweight contender DiJonnaise Brown (pictured below) clinched a split-decision in dramatic fashion over Canadian world championships veteran Justin Grey.

Sportsmanship and respect shown as Brown and Grey go the distance.

As the highest ranked and most decorated national team in the competition, the United States faced mixed results on Day 1 of the Pan Ams. Men’s featherweight Walter Plazas (Colombia) and heavyweight Jonathan Muamba (Mexico) each snatched TKO victories over their North American rivals, while reigning junior welterweight world champion Jett Grande (Canada) scored his first win at the senior level via a unanimous decision over Joel Geders.

Canada’s Jett Grande was victorious in the welterweight division of the 2018 IMMAF – WMMAA Junior World Championships.

The USA’s Daniel Liberson received an automatic bye in the men’s lightweight division due to a failed medical for McNeil Newton of the Bahamas. Kyle Cason, also of the lightweight bracket, salvaged an opening day victory as he bested Jamaica’s Imran Hall by way of unanimous decision.

Emerging as the big opening day winners was Team Mexico as the nation stormed to victory in all three Day 1 contests.

Mexico’s Ismael Zamora (far right) earned a bronze medal at the 2018 IMMAF – WMMAA Junior World Championships.

Joining Mexican heavyweight Muamba in progressing to the semi-finals was men’s featherweight Mauricio Rios claiming a unanimous decision over Panama’s Felipe Cisnero.

In addition, following the momentum of earning a bronze medal for Mexico in 2018 at the Junior World Championships, men’s bantamweight Ismael Zamora stepped up and announced himself in style among the senior ranks, he forced a second round TKO stoppage over Kyazi Smith (Bahamas).

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

For full Day 1 results and Day 2 schedule click HERE.

French MMA Prospect Tom Duquesnoy Retires From MMA, Dedicates Himself to New Path of Teaching Martial Arts

International MMA champion and UFC contender, France’s Tom Duquesnoy, has announced his retirement from MMA competition, expressing passion for a new path of teaching MMA and the spiritual aspects of martial arts.

The 25-year-old was recruited to the UFC bantamweight division in 2017 after making a name for himself in Europe as one of the top contenders outside of the world’s premier MMA organisation.

Duquesnoy was a two-weight world champion when competing for British based promotion, BAMMA, with an undefeated streak spanning showcase bouts across the UK and Ireland over a period of four years, picking up the featherweight and bantamweight titles along the way.

Retiring on a professional record of 16-2 (with 1 no-contest), Duquesnoy has been a vocal advocate for regulation and development of MMA in France and has given praise to the amateur MMA contenders and world champions of French regulatory body, CFMMA, who have represented the nation on the IMMAF-WMMAA competition platform around the world, despite government restrictions on the sport at home.

In April of 2019 French Minister of Sports, Roxana Mărăcineanu, stated her plans to regulate and permit MMA competition in France. Read more HERE.

Speaking to his 104,000 followers on Instagram, Duquesnoy announced his retirement and new passion for teaching:

“Dear friends,

“The MMA has been for me THE school of life with travels and encounters all over the world, and most importantly, the opportunity to discover myself as a person. Today I decide to go on a different path that attracts me a lot more and that takes me a big part of my energy. My new activities are such that I can not be fully devoted to high level training. I respect that sport too well to engage in « half-hearted » and that is why I am at a crossroads where it is essential for me to focus on what passionates me the most. It is also the result of a long introspection that was not simple since it was my childhood dream to fight in UFC, I who watched the UFC’s since the age of twelve and who did everything, these last ten years, in order this dream to materialize. This decision is good for me and comes from deep inside my heart.

“I announce my official retirement as a MMA fighter. I am already happy to feel your support in this new chapter of life dedicated as you know, to the teaching of the MMA technics but ABOVE ALL, the spiritual aspect of the martial arts and the inner quest. And that is on that path that you are all WELCOME and I invite you to follow the continuation of my journey. A continuation where we will be able to meet more than ever. I take this opportunity to THANK FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART all the people that have illuminate my path, to have made this journey so dense in understandings and human values.

“Thank you to everyone.”

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

2019 Russian National Championships: Medalists & Recap

The finals of Russia’s national amateur MMA championships recently concluded in Moscow across two days of competition. The landmark contest showcased the nation’s most prominent up and coming talent and was attended by some of Russia’s leading MMA professionals and international sport stars, such as heavyweight MMA icon Fedor Emelianenko and former heavyweight boxing world champion, Nioklai Valuev.

Arguably the most impressive domestic level competition in the world of amateur MMA, the event served as a major test for Russia’s 2018 IMMAF-WMMAA world champions, who were awarded automatic qualification to the 2019 national championships finals.

As the world’s most extensive domestic circuit for amateur MMA, the regulated competition platform spans the entire nation and draws on thousands of athletes, from Moscow to Siberia, where challengers compete to advance through their local city, regional and federal championships in order to reach the coveted finals.

The Russian MMA Union estimates twenty-thousand (20,000) active amateur MMA athletes spanning age levels from cadet to senior. As a result, the talent pool is vast and has produced no shortage of established veterans, many of who now feature as professionals in the UFC and under the banner of other standout promotions such as Bellator, PFL and M-1.

In 2018, Russia produced a combined national team for the first time under both the Russian MMA Union and Russian MMA Federation, with record breaking success.

2018 men’s flyweight world champion, Ruslan Satiev, cemented himself as Russia’s number-one senior competitor at 125lbs, alongside his 2018 national team mate and IMMAF-WMMAA World Championships gold medalist, Islam Bagomedov, who claimed the Russian MMA Union’s national crown at 170lbs.

Young light-heavyweight prospect Igor Glazkov competed against his countrymen at the senior level, having won the junior IMMAF-WMMAA world title (for athletes age 18-20) in 2018. Glazkov achieved silver at the national finals while senior 205lb world champion Magomed Shakhrudinov bested him to take the gold medal.

The event further contributed to the history of Russian MMA with the first ever women’s national championships, announced by Russian MMA Union president Radmir Gabdullin earlier this year. The championship’s highly contested debut provided a gateway for female talent to achieve experience and follow in the pioneering footsteps of women such as Svetlana Kotova and Polina Kobzeva, who both represented Russia and earned medals at the IMMAF-WMMAA World Championships in 2018.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran
Photos via Facebook

See full list of 2019 Russian national medalists below:

1. Farkhod Rakhmonaliev
2. Magomed Aliev
3. Kenan Kuliev
3. Adam Khamkhoev

1. Ruslan Satiev
2. Suleiman Bershigadov
3. Akhmed Gamzatov
3. Ilyas Sadykov

1. Gadzhimurad Zavaev
2. Magomedrasul Gusengadzhiev
3. Dzhamaludin Aliev
*3. Magomed Gadzhiev

1. Akhmed Gazimagomedov
2. Magomed Magomedov
3. Magomed Daitbegov
3. Asad Datsilaev

1. Murad Umachiev
2. Salamat Isbulaev
3. Omaraskhab Yusupov
3. Magomedrasul Magomedov

1. Rustam Khadisgadzhiev
2. Evgeniy Morozov
3. Islam Bagomedov
3. Alibek Suleimanov

1. Yusup Magomedov
2. Gazimurad Magomedov
3. Alexandr Chemaev
*3. Magomedhabib Umarov

1. Magomed Shakhrudinov
2. Igor Glazkov
3. Alexey Timoshishin
3. Anton Leschev

1. Shamil Kuramagomedov
2. Gadzhimurad Bagaudinov
3. Maxim Drokin
3. Shamsutdin Makhmudov

1. Khamzat Taisumov
2. Islam Ramazanov

1. Daria Nyrkova
2. Raxana Ivanova
3. Olga Vaseeva
3. Bella Shakova

1. Karina Ivanova
2. Kristina Purgina
3. Xenia Vildanshina
3. Ekaterina Blokhina

1. Zemfira Alieva
2. Olga Kochkina
3. Anastasiya Chebotareva
3. Daria Minaeva

1. Daria Tereschenko
2. Viktoria Dudakova
3. Maria Serpeneva
3. Zuleikha Tolgurova

1. Tatiana Postarnakova
2. Anastasiya Glotova
3. Natalia Starkova

1. Olga Rusina
2. Alena Maskaeva
3. Maria Mironova
3. Olga Alieva

Finnish National Championships Results; Gold Medalists to Receive National Team Funding

The national Amateur MMA Championships of Finland concluded last month under the Finnish MMA Federation at the Ahjo Training Center near Helsinki. Junior and senior level competition took place with gold and silver medalists qualifying to represent the Finnish national team at upcoming IMMAF-WMMAA international championships in 2019.

National gold medal winners are set to receive financial support in representing Team Finland on the the international platform. Familiar faces were in action and made their way to the podium, among them was 2018 IMMAF European Open champion and IMMAF-WMMAA World Championships bronze medalist, Jenna Horto, who picked up the 2019 national title in the women’s flyweight division.

In addition, European Open gold medalist and World Championships silver medalists, Janika Antinmaa, secured the women’s bantamweight title following her highly impressive debut year on the IMMAF-WMMAA platform in 2018.

Striking specialist Jenni Kivioja picked up the silver medal in the women’s featherweight division as Elisa Koivupuu (pictued above), who would be a newcomer to the national team, earned a unanimous judge’s decision to earn the 2019 Finnish title. Kivioja earned silver medals at the both the European Open and World Championships in 2018, in addition to winning ‘Performance of the Year’ at the IMMAF-WMMAA International Amateur MMA Awards.

In the men’s lightweight final, Eemil Kurhela showcased himself once again as a threat to any tournament favorite, stepping up to lightweight and calling on his vast international experience to go the distance with world silver medalist, Marko Sarasjärvi, who edged a split-decision.
Sarasjärvi stormed to the 2018 World Championships final where Irishman Lee Hammond survived an intense arm-bar attempt to go on and clinch a split-decision of his own.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

Finland’s 2019 National Championships medal winners listed below. For images visit MMAViking.com

Junior Men’s Flyweight
NO CONTEST (accidental knee strike)
Rasmus Ikonen, MMA UTTI
Juuso Renfors, Eura Fight Brothers

Junior Men’s Featherweight
1. Max Hynninen, Espoon Kehähait
2. Veeti Maksimainen, MMA Imatra

Junior Men’s Lightweight
1. Omar Tugarev, MMA Lappeenranta
2. Pyry Lyytikkä, Lahden Kamppailulajikeskus

Junior Men’s Middleweight
1. Nicholas Neuwerth, Sisu Gym
2. Badou Faal, Barreto Helsinki

Women’s Flyweight
1.Jenna Horto, GB Gym ry
2. Aino Kartela, Combat Society

Women’s Bantamweight
1. Janika Antinmaa, MMA Team 300
2. Emma Puro, Loop Martial Arts

Women’s Featherweight
1. Elisa Koivupuu, Kickboxing Team Oulu
2. Jenni Kivioja, Sisu Gym
3. Karolina Hulkko, RNC Sport Club
3. Jenna Roivas, Crest

Men’s Strawweight
1. David Pajunen, GB Gym ry
2. Toufan Ahmadi, BJJ Vaasa
3. Alireza Aholami, Kickboxing Team Oulu

Men’s Bantamweight
1. Roope Tuomi, Finfighter’s Gym
2. Karvan Ahmadi, BJJ Vaasa
3. Stefan Kok, MMA Joensuu
3. Robin Abdulhamed, Espoon kehähait

Men’s Featherweight
1. Tommi Alatalo, Lahden Gentai ry
2. Naser Garban, Espoon Kehähait
3. Mika Räsänen, MMA Kuopio
3. Verneri Hakkinen, Gladiator Factory

Men’s Lightweight
1. Marko Sarasjärvi, GB Gym ry
2. Eemil Kurhela, RNC Sport Club
3. Pauli Hämäläinen, Jyväskylän FightClub
3. Elmo Peltonen, Eura Fight Brothers

Men’s Welterweight
1. Jesse Liljeberg, Loop Martial Arts
2. Rene Katajalaakso, Jyväskylän FightClub
3. Otto Saari, MMA Team 300
3. Lemar Khan, Porin Kamppailu-urheilukeskus

Men’s Middleweight
1. Omran Chaaban, GB Gym ry
2. Jussi Turunen, Gladiator Factory
3. Matias Virta, Finnfighter’s Gym

Men’s Light-Heavyweight
1. Kirill Andreev, Finnfighter’s Gym
2. Brayan Aspegren, Loop Martials Arts Men’s Heavyweight
1. Tomi Jaakkola, Ahjo Training Center
2. Kasper Virtanen, Combat Societ