European Open preview: The rivalry of Cornelia Holm vs. Camilla Mannes

Pictured above: Camilla Mannes (left) battles Cornelia Holm (right) in the Women’s Bantamweight final of the 2016 IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas.

The Bantamweight saga of Cornelia Holm vs. Camilla Mannes could soon become Amateur MMA’s longest running rivalry with potential for the duo to face of for a fourth time at the 2017 IMMAF European Open Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Sweden’s 28-year-old Cornelia Holm (8-2) ruled 2016 with an unbeaten run that saw her climb to the no.3 spot in IMMAF’s official pound-for-pound rankings while also becoming the top ranked Women’s Bantamweight, winning the titles of both IMMAF World and European Open Champion in addition to success as the SMMAF national champion.

29-year-old Norwegian Camilla Mannes (4-4) has been a perennial top contender and frequent medalist first winning European Open bronze in 2015 before earning silver at the 2016 World Championships and European Open where she battled Holm in each of the 135lb bracket finals. As the world’s highest ranked Norwegian Mannes sits 18th in the IMMAF pound-for-pound rankings and 2nd in the Women’s Bantamweight rankings.

Holm and Mannes first met on the UK amateur scene last May under the banner of BCMMA. On that night Holm forced a second round TKO stoppage with a body shot while pinning Mannes against the fence, but the story was far from over. What followed gave rise to a year long assessment of combat between the division’s front runners, constantly testing each other in a rivalry based on respect and competition.

Holm staredown

While Holm may hold a trio of victories of Mannes, their meetings on the IMMAF platform have been a showcase of some of the most tactful action between championship finalists. Full of heart and determination, Mannes has proved to be a nuisance on the feet, implementing her reach to leave a fair share of marks upon her biggest rival. However, Holm’s level changes and wrestling have thus far made the difference in taking a Unanimous Decision victory in each final.

“In our first fight (at BCMMA) I wasn’t that experienced yet,” said Mannes, in a recent interview with MyNextMatch.com. “In our second fight I think that I had gotten to a next level and she was still at the same as last time we fought. Before the third time I was sure the gold was mine. 

“I had been working a lot on my boxing and had confidence that I could take her. But she had been training a lot and got a lot better than last time. I think she is a great fighter, she works hard (I follow her on Instagram) and of course her wrestling experience helps her a lot.”

This ever evolving rivalry between two advancing talents has been a worthy face for the representation of top flight Amateur MMA. Check out the Holm vs. Mannes 2016 World Championship final below.

In addition to the defending champion and silver medalist, the 2017 European Open Women’s Bantamweight division will welcome back 2016 bronze medalists Chamia Chabbi (Finland) and Arziko Bregu (Italy), in addition to France’s World Championships veteran Manon Fiorot and Swedish newcomer Eva My Persson.

The 2017 IMMAF European Open Championships take place from March 29 to April 2 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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

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