2016 IMMAF Worlds: New Zealand’s breakthrough year

Picture: 2016 IMMAF Middleweight World Champion Byron Chivers showed his intensity against Dallas Jennings New Zealand’s National Amateur MMA Team traveled in force to the #2016IMMAFWorlds with a squad of 13 battle ready participants. With rowdy support, the Kiwi’s were vocal throughout the championship’s duration, from July 5th to July 10th, as the nation quickly established itself as one of the most competitive and fast developing teams on IMMAF’s international Amateur platform. At the 2015 IMMAF Worlds, the small island nation picked up a pair of Bronze medals with Sarah Archer (Women’s Strawwweight) and Brayden Graham (Men’s Flyweight) making their way to the podium. This year, New Zealand returned to the World Championships, culminating at the UFC Fan Expo where the team finished second in the overall Gold count, enjoying two newly crowned IMMAF World Champions, plus a total haul of 4 podium finishes across the 13 featured weight categories. Returning to the Women’s 115lb Strawweight division, Sarah Archer retained her place as a World Championships Bronze medalist for a second year running. In addition, Women’s Flyweight competitor Jess Bradley secured Bronze at 125lbs, announcing herself with a devastating knockout victory over the USA’s Ashley Hancock in the tournament’s opening round.

Brayden Graham
Picture: Men’s Flyweight World Champion Brayden Graham
New Zealand’s greatest individual improvement was no doubt the triumph of 2015 Bronze medal winner Brayden Graham (pictured, right). The lively Men’s Flyweight contender battled through 4 rounds of the 125lb bracket, besting opponents from France, Northern Ireland, and the UK before facing Ireland’s David Fogarty on Finals day where he claimed the World Championship via a second round TKO stoppage. Outside of the cage, New Zealand provided one of the most inspiring displays ever seen at the IMMAF World Championships, with a performance of the Haka, in front of the iconic Nogueira Brothers, as Middleweight Byron Chivers prepared himself for the 185lb championship final. A product of American Top Team New Zealand, Chivers went the distance and grew stronger as the bout played out against the USA’s Dallas Jennings, earning the Gold via a unanimous judges’ decision. Inspired by the tribute of his team, Chivers showcased incredible passion, finesse and determination in the final, and rallied himself to take over the final round of the bout in a last fearsome push towards victory. With 32 competitors, the middleweight division served as one of the Championship’s deepest brackets. https://vimeo.com/174452795 By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran Photos by Jorden Curran

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