Senior Male Athlete of The Year Nominee: Bagdat Zhubanysh (2019 Amateur MMA Awards)

In his debut year at the international level, Bagdat Zhubanysh was a breakout star of the IMMAF – WMMAA Unified World Championships, accelerating without any hindrance to the summit of the men’s senior strawweight division, claiming the 2018 World & 2019 Asian Open titles.

Weighing in at 115lbs and little over 5 feet tall, Bagdat reigns as Kazakhstan’s standout amateur export of the past year. Representing the prominent Kazakh national team, Bagdat was the nation’s sole gold medalist at the 2018 World Championships.

At the 2018 Worlds Bagdat presented his rounded skill set of striking and grappling, securing a first round arm-bar submission over Bahrain before an opening round TKO against Lebanon in the semi-finals.

Against Ukraine’s undefeated Roman Syrkin (pictured above), Bagdat exemplified the talent depth of the IMMAF platform with a three round showcase of fine-tuned ability, explosive movement and sharp execution without hesitation; springing in-and-out of range, launching superman punches, spinning back-kicks and completing elevated takedowns with masterful counters to all that his opponent could throw.

The reigning world champion extended his rule in 2019, earning the gold medal at the Asian Open Championships in Bangkok, swiftly capturing submission wins over challengers from Malysia and national team mate Yerulan Kabdulov in what was an all-Kazakh final.

World Championships podium: Gold medalist Bagdat stands tall with the Kazakh flag.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) host the 2019 Amateur MMA Awards on Thursday 14 November during the 2019 IMMAF | WMMAA Unified World Championships in Manama.

Senior Male Athlete of The Year nominations include:

• Sola Axel (France)
2018 World Championships: Silver
2019 Africa Open: silver
2019 Pan American Open: gold
2019 Oceania Open: gold
2019 European Open: bronze

• Pasha Kharkhachaev (Bahrain)
2018 World Championships: gold
2019 Asian Open: gold
2019 European Open: gold

• Bagdat Zhubanysh (Kazakhstan)
2018 World Championships: gold
2019 Asian Open: gold

• Lee Hammond (Ireland)
2018 World Championships: gold

• Delyan Georgiev (Bulgaria)
2018 World Championships: gold
2019 European Open: bronze

By lead writer/photographer: Jorden Curran

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