Algerian Federation already showing its potential

A year after a meeting with IMMAF CEO Densign White in London, the Algerian MMA Federation has developed in leaps and bounds.

Under the guidance of Yassine Derradj and Risa Balynas, the federation in Algeria has managed a number of initiatives including an IMMAF Coaches’ Education course led by Director of Sports Development Andrew Moshanov.

The first ever national Algerian Amateur MMA Championship is taking place on 27—28 March, and the federation is also ramping up efforts to develop referees, officials and coaching development pathways, and fully understand the importance of the IMMAF grading system and App.

Mr Moshanov, speaking of his recent experience in Algeria said:

“It is very promising so see how Algeria’s Ministry of Sport are interested in the further development of this sport in the country. They are providing good support to MMA in Algeria and helping the new federation to achieve their goals.”

As is the pattern in a number of countries, the Algerian MMA federation is currently operating as a MMA Committee inside an existing sport structure. In this case it is the Algerian Kickboxing Federation. But the MMA experts are working hard to create a strong structure and to establish themselves as an independent national governing body. IMMAF’s Member Services Manager is working closely with the federation, supplying additional information and advice about membership development and on entry processes for IMMAF events.

IMMAF Statement on Coronavirus & Postponement of Championships

[13 March 2020]

Dear Members,

At IMMAF the health and wellbeing our members matters to us, and we are mindful of current global measures and concerns regarding the coronavirus (Covid-19).

Therefore, we are sadly postponing our two upcoming tournaments in April and May until further notice: The 2020 IMMAF Africa Open Championships and the 2020 IMMAF Pan American Championships. Participants should contact their National Federation regarding refund of participation fees and for further advice.

With respect to our other events in 2020, including Championships and Courses, please be assured that IMMAF is monitoring the global situation extremely closely and following official advice and restrictions issued by Government bodies. We will be looking at online alternatives for educational courses, where needed.

In view of the lock-down in Italy, we have also postponed official announcement of our planned 2020 Youth World Championships (6 – 9 August) and 2020 European Senior & Junior Championships (11 – 16 August) in Rome. IMMAF is researching alternative locations for these and all other events, in case of any travel restrictions in force during the planned dates of competition. Every effort will be made to ensure that relocated events, later in the year, take place as close as possible in time to the original dates. We therefore encourage athletes to keep training and preparing for these competitions.

So far, IMMAF has not been informed of any cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19) among our members, but please do keep us informed.

Note that some travel restrictions may apply to teams from infected regions in line with government decrees. Further to this, if any IMMAF participants are suffering from symptoms of the virus they should not attend IMMAF or National level events or training, and self-isolate. This is of particular importance with MMA being a close contact sport and must be taken extremely seriously. Our Medical Committee is meeting today to review the IMMAF screening process for competition and the latest medical advice for members in light of the coronavirus.

We will keep you updated and informed as the situation progresses, and ask in the meantime that you follow the following guidelines:

  1. First and foremost, follow the advice of your government and government organisations, as the situation will differ from region to region

In regions where there are no government restrictions:

2. make sure to follow World Health Organization guidelines to ensure best cleaning practices are carried out at your clubs and gyms;

3. advise participants/ members not to attend clubs or gyms if experiencing symptoms or if they have knowingly been in contact with an infected person, and to self-isolate as per government advice;

4. advise participants/ members to not only keep their hands clean (washing regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water) but also their bodies and hair after and before sports practice, due to the close-contact nature of MMA;

5. advise participants to properly wash their gym wear with using sanitising agents after each use;

6. advise participants/ members always to sneeze/ cough into tissues;

7. gym matts, machines and equipment should be wiped down with appropriate cleaning fluids after each use (see World Health Organisation advice);

Please inform IMMAF if a member of your team or gym has had the virus or been in contact with it.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Densign White

China’s Martial Arts Machine Will Continue Producing Elite Women in MMA, Federation Official Explains

The presence of Chinese talent within the ranks of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has witnessed significant evolution in the past decade. Nine years have passed since Tiequan Zhang emerged as a pioneer to global MMA audiences, joining the UFC roster as the organisation’s first Chinese-born contender.

In 2020 the UFC is home to around a dozen Chinese athletes with the vanguard including the likes of 22-year-old bantamweight star Song Yadong, currently 5-0 in the world’s leading professional MMA organisation (15-4 overall). Meanwhile, with nine UFC wins and an incredible five bonus awards, 31-year-old Li Jingliang solidified perennial prominence competing in the welterweight division.

While Jingliang had once been earmarked as the face of China’s emergence at the elite pro level of MMA, it has been the nation’s female talent who have secured some of the most stunning triumphs, such as Yan Xiaonan continuing her unblemished UFC tenure in February with a three round dissection of former strawweight title contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Most impressively, 30-year-old sensation Weili Zhang reigns as the current UFC strawweight world champion and most recently defended the crown in a likely ‘fight-of-the-year’ against iconic former champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Zhang blazed a trail and shattered the glass ceiling for Chinese athletes in the UFC and will forever be the one to have shone a spotlight on the pathway for a gargantuan collective of unique national potential.

As just two athletes, the impact of Zhang and Xiaonan is small scale in terms of a Chinese takeover at the elite level, yet their sudden dominance upon arrival is certainly rousing. Will China’s female talent continue to overrun the women’s divisions? To bring such opportunity to fruition, the UFC unveiled its Shanghai based Performance Institute in 2019, tasked with developing high level professionals from across the country. Meanwhile, on the amateur scene Chinese athletes have made an impact at the premier level, most notably through women’s bantamweight prospect Guangmei Han (pictured). Han who won gold for the Chinese national team at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships and has since been taken on board at Shanghai’s UFC P.I.

Asian Open champion Guangmei Han defeated Ireland’s Shauna Bannon in the bantamweight final of the 2019 IMMAF World Championships.

Before reaching the sport’s upper tier, how is China’s female talent currently cultivated and on what scale is it happening? With China’s legendary and storied martial arts heritage commonly associated with men, what part does national culture play in producing generations of MMA athletes and could similarities be to drawn with the success of Russian males fighting out of the Dagestan region, renown for its wrestling and MMA exports?

To discuss the possible factors, spoke with Joe Qiaobo, General Consultant and National Team Leader for the MMA Department of the Chinese Boxing Federation, the nation’s government affiliated member to IMMAF. Joe had recently shared the below video that gave a brief insight into the scale and intensity of Chinese girls and women practicing martial arts from a young age.

“These girls are around 15-18 years old,” Joe explained. “They are doing Sanda, which is a Chinese style combat sport allowing punching, kicking and throws. This kind of large group is common in China, what you see in the video doesn’t really show the whole training hall, the whole place is at least 8 times larger than what you see in the video and full of young athletes. Chinese style Sanda has formed the fighting style for most of the Chinese [MMA] fighters which is with strong standup skills with solid takedown defense.”

China hosts a significant professional kickboxing scene with major shows such as Kunlun providing a platform for top domestic talent in both kickboxing and MMA. It is clear that disciplines such as Sanda play an integrated role in streamlining young athletes towards the competitive level while recreational levels of participation among women are potentially off the charts in comparison to other nations. As seen in the Sanda training halls, this machine is engaging practitioners at a young age and carves a pathway similar to the one followed by the current UFC strawweight queen. While the wrestling and sambo youth of Dagestan has produced a wealth of MMA’s most formidable names, is China’s own combat sport culture in the process of constructing a similar highway to the top?

“This is a very good point,” Joe responded, considering the possible similarities between Dagestan’s production of male talent alongside that of Chinese women who may be set to follow in Zhang’s footsteps. “There’s a massive pool of young athletes in China like you saw in the video, male and female, and yes, there will be tons more young MMA talents coming to dominate. It is the reason girls like Xiaonan and Weili are doing so well in the UFC and MMA in general, they were originally good Sanda athletes when they were younger and after retiring from Sanda they started to add more elements on top of their base and applied them so well in MMA.”

And it does not stop there, the official status of China’s MMA Department under the IMMAF umbrella has opened up the national body to the Chinese Olympic Program, presenting all new opportunities and extended pathways to truly world class athletes.

Joe added, “In addition to Sanda, China is very diverse regarding MMA Development. China’s biggest potential is our Olympic combat sports talent pool with real top level athletes of Boxing, Judo, Wrestling, etc. These young athletes were chosen for the Olympic Games and we are also transitioning them as future MMA athletes. The world will see Chinese Olympic level MMA athletes from Judo and Wrestling to Boxing and MMA as well as other pathways. However, we foremost focus on the direct evolution of grass roots MMA and well rounded style development, targeting teenagers in China to take on MMA as their introduction to combat sport.”

The direction of MMA in China is operating on two fronts. The current crop of premier battle ready athletes making their way to MMA’s pro level has been funneled through the various disciplines that boast talent pools of formidable experience. Meanwhile, China’s MMA Federation aims to build the sport from the ground up, planting seeds that one day bring MMA participation to an equal footing with that of leading disciplines in the country, but to what extent could Chinese MMA and the national team, with its aspirations for success, strike a balance between engaging unique grass roots foundations while also integrating with the existing waves of experienced young athletes?

By lead writer: Jorden Curran

Australian MMA Federation Responds to Oceania Open Success

The IMMAF 2020 Oceania Open concluded on Sunday, March 8, at Palm Beach in the city of Gold Coast, Australia. As the host nation, Australia fielded the largest squad of athletes and as a result were able to top the medal table.

Richie Cranny, president of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Australia (IMMAFA), share his thought followign the championship’s conclusion:

Richie Cranny (left) alongside former IMMAFA president Joe Minehan

The 2020 Oceania Open is now in the books as the biggest amateur mixed martial arts event in Australian history and Team Australia’s most successful IMMAF Tournament to date.

The most exciting thing to come from this year’s Oceania for me and our IMMAFA federation is the new talent that’s been discovered here over the past year, both junior and senior, which will only help inspire and demonstrate to other athletes out there what amazing pathways we can now offer those that are serious about competing at the world class amateur level and willing to put in the work to do so.

Also, it’s been a year where we’ve added some exceptional coaches to our national team such as Brian Ebersole, Alan Philpott and Renato Subotic as well as IMMAF veteran Joseph Luciano, all of which bring unique skill sets and experience which head coach Ed Bavelock has utilised brilliantly. So with 14 medals, new coaches and some exciting new talent which will be around for some time, Australia is only going get stronger over the coming years and we look forward to supporting other host federations in 2020 by sending our athletes to compete around the world as we prepare for our best showing at the worlds to date this October.

Richie Cranny

Main picture: 2020 Oceania Open men’s strawweight champion, Troy Fumo

2020 IMMAF Oceania: Finals Results & Medallists

The 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships concluded on Australia’s Gold Coast today with the Tournament Finals and Medals Ceremony.

See below for the list of 2020 Oceania Medallists and Official Finals Results.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s nation vs nation, MMA tournament took place from  6 to 8 March at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre.

Go to to view the full brackets and tournament information


Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Gold: Olivia Ukmar (Australia)
Silver: Nina Back (Sweden)

Female Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs)
Gold: Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden)
Silver: Magdalena Czaban (Poland)

Female Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Gold: Bianca Antman (Sweden)
Silver: Jess Bradley (New Zealand)

Female Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Gold: Jesse Wenzlick (Australia)
Silver: Rosemarie McAuslin (New Zealand)

Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Gold: Michelle Montague (New Zealand)
Silver: Jenni Kivioja (Finland)

Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Gold: Troy Fumo (Australia)

Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Gold: Mohammed Almuamari (Bahrain)

Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Gold: Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom)
Silver: Abdulla Mubarak (Bahrain)
Bronze: Keoni TEROROTUA (French Polynesia)
Abdulla Alyaqoob (Bahrain)

Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Gold: Colby Thicknesse (Australia)
Silver: Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom)
Bronze: Abdul Mahdawi (Australia), Denzil Brokken (New Zealand)

Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs):
Gold: Jordan Thomas (Australia)
Silver: Zubair Gadzhiev (Bahrain)
Bronze: Oliver Schmid (New Zealand), Andy Le (Australia)

Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Gold: Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)
Silver: Corey Reeves (Australia)
Bronze: Yousif Sayyar (Bahrain), Lachlan Stitt (Australia)

Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Gold: Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand)
Silver: Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia)
Bronze: Vaibhav Vaman Shetty (India), Omer Suliman (Australia)

Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Gold: Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain)
Silver: Patrick Best (Australia) – TKO R1 2:29
Bronze: Auryn Parmley (Australia), Ezekiel Wetere (New Zealand)

Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)
Gold: Ryan Spillane (Ireland)
Silver: Dane Alchin (Australia)

Super Heavyweight 300 kg (661 lbs)
Gold: Hiro Lemaire (French Polynesia)

FINALS RESULTS: 08/03/2020

1 Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Olivia Ukmar (Australia) def. Nina Back (Sweden) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

2 Female Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs) Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden) def. Magdalena Czaban (Poland) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

3 Female Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Bianca Antman (Sweden) def. Jess Bradley (New Zealand) – Submission (Armbar) R1 2:20

4 Female Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Jesse Wenzlick (Australia) def. Rosemarie McAuslin (New Zealand) – TKO R3 1:18

5 Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Michelle Montague (New Zealand) def. Jenni Kivioja (Finland) – Submission (Armbar) R2 1:38

6 Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Troy Fumo (Australia) def. Cherfi Adil (France) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

7 Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Mohammed Almuamari (Bahrain) def. Ebrahim Darwish (Bahrain) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

8 Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom) def. Abdulla Mubarak (Bahrain) – Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) R1 1:29

9 Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Colby Thicknesse (Australia) def. Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

10 Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs): Gold: Jordan Thomas (Australia); Silver: Zubair Gadzhiev (Bahrain)

Lightweight bronze: Oliver Schmid (New Zealand), Andy Le (Australia)

11 Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain) def. Corey Reeves (Australia) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

12 Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand) def. Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

13 Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain) def. Patrick Best (Australia) – TKO R1 2:29

14 Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) Ryan Spillane (Ireland) def. Dane Alchin (Australia) – TKO R1 0:32

15 Super Heavyweight 300 kg (661 lbs) Hiro Lemaire (French Polynesia) def. Corey Barrett (New Zealand) – TKO R1 1:01