2017 European Open: The Biggest Rematch in Amateur MMA

Above: Reigning Women’s Flyweight world champion Gabriella Ringblom (left) and European Open champion Alexandra Kovacs (right).

The 2017 IMMAF European Open Championships could be the platform for one of the most compelling bouts in Amateur MMA to date, in the Women’s Flyweight bracket.

Reigning IMMAF world champion Gabriella Ringblom will be more determined than ever before to take the European Open crown that has so far eluded her with the Swede being forced to settle for silver in her previous 2 attempts. Since earning European Open silver as a bantamweight in 2015, Ringblom switched to the 125lb Flyweight division and cemented herself as the world’s top ranked competitor in 2016, taking gold medals at both the World Championships and Africa Open. Throughout her amateur career Ringblom has continuously evolved between tournaments, from her display of experienced boxing and takedown defense in 2015 to taking over the following year with an offense of wrestling prowess.

Returning to defend the Women’s European Open Flyweight title will be Hungary’s Alexandra Kovacs who produced a stunning TKO victory in last year’s final, becoming the first athlete to topple Ringblom since she became the world’s no.1 pound-for-pound amateur. The Kempo specialist shocked the world of Amateur MMA, showcasing submission finesse and effective striking, she blasted her way to becoming European Open champion in just her first appearance in an IMMAF championship tournament.

The Women’s Flyweight bracket will be among the most compelling divisions when this year’s European Open takes place from March 29 to April 2 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Who will take the title, will Kovacs and Ringblom face off for a second time, or will Finland’s world silver medalist Anette Osterberg take over from the aforementioned standouts? Furthermore, the returning Anja Saxmark (2015 World & European Open silver medalist) will complete the quartet of top ranked Women’s flyweights. Completing the division will be 2016 bronze medalist Ilaria Norcia (Italy) plus IMMAF tournament newcomers Beckie Ainscough (UK) and Janika Antinmaa (Finland) who will have the opportunity to mark their own historic triumph.

By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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