By Jake Smith
A World Cup champion, three 2021 European open medalists and a stack of top talent, the Female Strawweight division is shaping up to be one of the most competitive weight classes at the 2021 World Championships.
With the two top-ranked women in the division and familiar faces such as Anna Gaul and Nina Back missing from the tournament; the door is open for a new star to be born in Abu Dhabi. Whether a former medalist adds another to their collection, or an IMMAF debutant delivers on the biggest amateur MMA stage there is, the Strawweight division will no doubt deliver some fantastic contests during the Championships.
Inaugural World Cup Gold medalist Josefine Modig is yet to lose a bout at an IMMAF tournament. The young Swede proved she was the real deal in her three outings at the World Cup. Constant movement, heavy striking & a fight IQ way beyond her experience would suggest, Modig enters the Championships as one of the favourites to medal. The biggest scalp of her career, so far, undoubtedly came in the final of the tournament when she beat fellow countrywomen and multiple IMMAF medalist, Nina Back in dominant fashion.
Kazakhstan’s Ayan Tursyn drew attention to herself at the 2021 European Championships. On her way to claiming the silver medal, Tursyn’s slick striking style earned many plaudits throughout the competition. Along with finding herself on the podium, she also claimed one of the most memorable knockouts in IMMMAF history; when she delivered a devastating spinning back fist in the tournament semi-final.
Bahrain’s Aieza Ramos Bertolsowill be keen to add a World Gold to her 2021 European Gold medal and while riding a six-fight win streak, she could be in pole position to do so. Currently finding herself ranked number three in the IMMAF rankings, a medal in Abu Dhabi could take her to the top of the 115lbs division. She could even break into the top 15 in the IMMAF pound for pound rankings.
Along with the IMMAF medalists, there are plenty of IMMAF debutantes who could look to upset the applecart. Russian Diana Naydenova enters her first tournament with an unblemished 4-0-0 record after cruising to victory at the Russian Championship. Although her first IMMAF tournament, Kelly Staddon is no stranger to the IMMAF level of competition, having recently defeated 2019 IMMAF Junior European Silver Medalist Shannon Troup in December 2021.
The division will see 15 athletes, all selected to represent their nation, compete over the 5 days at the IMMAF 2021 World Championships, which can be streamed live on http://immaf.tv/.
Full list of Women’s Strawweight Competitors:
Martina Corradi (Italy)
Ayan Tursyn (Kazakhstan)
Aieza Ramos Bertolso (Bahrain)
Fabiola Silva (Bahrain)
Yelyzaveta Shakula (Ukraine)
Josefine Modig (Sweden)
Nora Ochoa (Mexico)
Janika Antinmaa (Finland)
Kelly Staddon (England)
Amanda Cairney (New Zealand)
Diana Naidenova (Russia)
Hayley Barraclough (Wales)
Altynay Mergenbay (Kazakhstan)
Anna Safeeva (Russia)
Barbara El Rassi (Switzerland)