Mexico and Luxembourg shine in IMMAF debuts

Above: Jonathan Ortega secures a debut victory for Mexico at the 2017 European Open – photo by Jorden Curran

The national Amateur MMA teams of Mexico and Luxembourg secured historic first victories at an IMMAF championship tournament last week, debuting at the 2017 European Open in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Team Mexico brought an admirable sense of grit to Europe and were every bit the example of their nation’s famous heart for combat sport.

Men’s Lightweight competitor Jonathan Ortega not only had the honor of being the first Mexican to represent his country on IMMAF’s international amateur platform, but also secured his nation’s first victories with back-to-back wins, first with a TKO stoppage over Hungarian Lajos Horvath before a technical submission over France’s Campanella Mahio. Each win came in the final round of action and Ortega sported the signs of battle as he met reigning champion Ferdun Osmanov in the quarter-finals. Passion, courage and resolve saw him go the distance but the wildly durable Ortega was unable to claw victory via the scorecards as Osmanov went on to win his second European Open title.

After a back and forth round of striking, light-heavyweight Mario Perez was eventually downed after a well placed body kick from Kazakhstan’s Kudaibergen Toleubaev who would go on to claim the 205lb tournament’s silver medal position. In addition, hardy Women’s Strawweight Sara Cova went the distance with Sweden’s silver medal winning Anna Astvik. Cova’s commitment to press forward and box never ceased, but it was Astvik who claimed the Unanimous Decision win.

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Irishman Austin Lynch (left) battles Jorge Alpizar (right) – photo by Jorden Curran

Wiry Men’s Featherweight Jorge Alpizar emulated the life force of his national team with 3 rounds of unceasing determination as he pushed through exhaustion to make a grab at victory in dazzling fashion with unpredictable strikes and leaping kicks. Pushing his cardio to the limit, Alpizar could not be put away as Irishman Austin Lynch fought to evade and land en route to a Unanimous Decision victory.

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Luxembourg’s Jose Teixeira (left) strikes Welshman Cameron Clarke (right) – photo by Jorden Curran

Luxembourg may be among the smallest nations of the IMMAF family, but Men’s Lightweight Jose Teixeira ensured that the debut appearance of his country was not overlooked. In his opening bout the well rounded Teixeira went the distance with team UK’s Cameron Clarke and pulled ahead to secure a Unanimous Decision, making history for Amateur MMA in Luxembourg. The following day he triumphed with excellent BJJ skills, pulling a straight knee-bar to submit Italy’s Franceso Spinola. Teixeira was defeated in the semi-finals, losing out to Bulgarian Iordan Marinov after a closely contested battle.

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

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