Photo credit: Anja Dorny Day 1 of the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships kicked off today in the Czech Republic at Prague’s Arena of Sparta. Germany’s National Amateur MMA Team picked up a valuable victory on the opening day of the Men’s Lightweight tournament as the small team, consisting of four competing athletes, saw Pascal Hintzen (pictured above) advance to the final 16 of the 155lb bracket. Hintzen faced Italian Alessio Cocco with the bout progressing to the second round. Hintzen took full control of his opponent on the ground; Cocco found himself in the hopeless belly-down postition with the German sat tightly against his back, both hooks secured. The opening soon came for Hintzen to finish the bout via a rear-naked-choke submission, and though Cocco attempted to force himself free, he was forced to tap as the choke became tighter. Hintzen will now face Albanian Ermal Hadribeaj on Wednesday, November 23. Hadribeaj was victorious on Day 1 of compeition with a Unanimous Decision win over Bahrain’s Abdulla Alfayez. In the Middleweight division, German hopeful Sebastian Otto was out performed by the striking proficiency of Bulgarian Valeri Atanasov. The German Olympic wrestling coach showcased a valiant effort in progressing to the bout’s third round having been dealt damaging shots to the face when attempting to close the distance. Otto attempted to set up a number of single leg takedowns against the fence, but Atanasov was prepared for the expected grappling onslaught and defended to cancel out the action. The athletes progressed to the final stanza. With two rounds in the bank for the Bulgarian, Otto was in desperate need of a finish and sought to land a fight ending strike of his own. The German advanced with powerful shots but in turn opened up for a precision counter strike that sent him towards the canvas and the referee stepped in for a TKO stoppage. Atanasov now faces the UK’s George McManus in the Middleweight final 16, also taking place on November 23. Click HERE for the full list of Day 1 results. Full list of scheduled bouts available at MyNextMatch.com.