By James Eakin
As the IMMAF Amateur MMA World Championships draw ever closer, we take a look at some of the returning athletes and rising stars who will be looking to take home gold for their country in the Women’s Featherweight division.
One of the key athletes to watch at this year’s championships is current IMMAF number one, Sabrina Laurentina De Sousa. De Sousa won the gold at the World Championships in 2019 with a first-round armbar submission against Italy’s Jasmine Favero and will look to retain her spot at the top of the pile this year.
A bout that would hold real tension and interest is a rematch with New Zealand’s Michelle Montague. De Sousa and Montague took on each other at the IMMAF European Championships, with De Sousa coming out on top with the decision win. Montague, who previously dominated the Lightweight division, winning gold at the World Championships in 2019 will be seeking redemption and will be even more motivated to avenge her loss to the current champion and prove herself the best amateur female Featherweight. Another clash between these two divisional titans will certainly bring the fireworks to this year’s World Championships.
Another key figure to watch at this year’s event is the third-ranked Cecilie Bolander. The Norwegian athlete won gold for her country at the 2021 IMMAF World Cup in Prague and will be looking to improve on her previous victories and take home the world title in Abu Dhabi. Due to the absence of De Sousa and Montague from the World Cup, Bolander easily dominated the Featherweight division and established herself as a serious contender for the title at the World Championships. It will be fascinating to see how Bolander fairs against arguably two of the best amateur female Featherweights in De Sousa and Montague should their paths cross in the competition. Bolander remains undefeated through three amateur bouts and will be looking to protect her perfect win streak this year.
Nina Kharinova will be looking to bounce back from the only loss of her amateur career at the World Championships. She, like Montague, failed to defeat Sabrina Laurentina De Sousa at the last IMMAF World Championships, but before her decision loss was a perfect 3-0 at the 2021 Russian MMA Championships. Currently ranked at number 25 in the official IMMAF Senior Female Featherweight rankings, she will be out for revenge, and will surely be hoping to meet De Sousa again to get back the only blemish on an otherwise clean slate.
11th ranked Featherweight, Marianna Skuba of Ukraine will be seeking to get herself in the win column for the first time in her young career. Her loss to Cecilie Bolander at the World Cup in Prague will have lit a fire underneath her and will drive her forward into this year’s event and she will be hungry for gold.
The full list of entries for the Women’s Senior Featherweight division is as follows:
Michelle Montague – New Zealand
Katerina Lisova – Czech Republic
Sabrina Laurentina De Sousa – Bahrain
Marianna Skuba – Ukraine
Cecilie Bolander – Norway
Andrea Guzman – Mexico
Zhansaya Yermagambetova – Kazakhstan
Iris Nihti – Finland
The rescheduled 2021 IMMAF World Championships will be streamed live from Abu Dhabi at immaf.tv from the 24th to the 29th January 2022. All the information regarding the event can be found on My Next Match.