By Caoilte de Barra
A common story that we are seeing in the build-up to the 2021 IMMAF World Championships is that a division will crown a new champion. Men’s Bantamweight and Featherweight are two examples of this and Women’s Flyweight is no different. The division was ruled by Bianca Antman in 2019, however, she opted to turn pro in 2020. Meaning a new champion will be crowned.
The division currently has twenty entries in the days leading up to the event, the most entries of all the Women’s divisions. It is also one where multiple contenders could steal the show. The front-running standout is Beatriz Consuli Diniz of Bahrain, who won Flyweight gold at the 2021 European Open Championships. Her run in the European Open saw her keep both RMMAU entries at bay to take gold with ease.
There will be two more RMMAU athletes that she could face in Abu Dhabi. The standout is Lyubov Salnikova, who is undefeated after winning four fights in three days back in May.
Third-ranked Millie Eriksson will be hoping to be her fellow countrywoman’s successor. The Swede bounced back from a five-fight skid to finish all that stepped in her way at The IMMAF World Cup back in August. She showed a much-improved skill set and shot up the rankings by taking gold. Her last loss came against Consuli Diniz so revenge could be on the cards if they meet in Abu Dhabi.
Exciting Irish talent Sarah Carney will be hoping to build on her recent silver medal at the World Cup. This time enters unfamiliar territory by moving on from Junior to Senior and stepping down to the Flyweight division. The step down to Flyweight could prove tough but may also be the one that sees her thrive.
Some impressive new talent is entering the pool of talent his year. And each of them could shake up the division. Poland is renowned for having a strong amateur set up regionally. At IMMAF competitions their female fighters have been some of the standouts in recent times. The experienced Paulina Wisniewska could be the latest one to succeed on the international stage as she makes her IMMAF debut with 15 bouts already behind her.
The second newcomer to watch is Naomie Young. She is flying in from the USA following a dominant year that saw her earn XFN Strawweight gold in a card headlining fight. Young also holds a belt at Flyweight and is one of seven entries from the United States this year.
Lastly, we have Giulianny Perea representing Brazil. The nation tends to bring over strong talent, Michele Oliveira, being a prime example. Another Nova Uniao fighter thrived in the flyweight division. Now it’s her teammates’ turn. Perea may only have two fights to date but has a wealth of grappling experience, winning multiple medals in Brazil as a purple belt.
The division is wide open for a new champion, and it remains to be seen who can take the top spot. The answer may lie in the proven competitors that have already medalled, or maybe we see the new wave come through and upset the masses. Either way, it is a division with proven talent from across the globe and will be nothing short of exciting.
The full list of Flyweight competitors is as follows:
Aigerim Torekhanova – Kazakhstan
Alexandra Mitina – Russia
Alice Maniccia – Italy
Beatriz Consuli Diniz – Bahrain
Eman Khan – Pakistan
Giulliany Perea – Brazil
Jessica Gusmerini – Switzerland
Ksenija Grabova – Estonia
Lama Nassar – Lebanon
Liubov Salnikova – Russia
Marketa Urbanova – Czech Republic
Mathilde Aschenbrenner – France
Millie Eriksson – Sweden
Muskan Ratre – India
Naomie Young – United States
Paulina Wisniewska – Poland
Pnina Aronov – Israel
Sarah Carney – Ireland
Sonja Pohjalainen – Finland
Violeta Mendoza – Mexico
Violleta Putintseva – Kazakhstan
Yasmin Moto – Bahrain