By Caoilte de Barra
The 2021 IMMAF World Championships kicked off today in the Jiu-Jitsu Arena In Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi. The rescheduled tournament is hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Federation, with backing from the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and in partnership with Palms Sports, and took place in the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City, near UFC Fight Island (Yas Island).
Cage 2 set the scene early with the opening round of the Senior Featherweight division taking place. It was all action as Japan’s Reo Yamaguchi made a successful move up to Senior Featherweight, looking very polished on his route to victory. Ryan Keogh and Manuchehr Rioev followed it up with a spectacular back and forth grappling display, with the Tajikistan fighter picking up the closely contested decision. The relentless David Daniel Komar opened his IMMAF account in style, showing off all of his tools to get the nod from the judges. World Cup Bronze Medalist Husainov was the final Senior Featherweight winner of the day after a fun fight with Germany’s Min-Soo Song.
In Cage 1 Youth World Champion Max Lally made a huge impact in his IMMAF Junior debut. The young Irish fighter put on a grappling clinic mixing up his ground and pound and submission attempts nicely before sinking in a rear-naked choke to get the finish.
Not so long after that Bahrain’s Murad Guseinov returned in style. The 2019 Junior World Champion almost instantly locked in a guillotine choke, forcing his opponent to tap early in the first. Elsewhere in the division, England’s Teddy Stringer overcame the adversity of two submission attempts to get a decision win.
Over the course of the day, we saw RMMAU athletes go undefeated. Abdyla Aliev, particularly, impressed in his maiden IMMAF appearance and put on a grappling clinic to outpoint his opponent Cameron Clements. Teammate Shakhban Gapizov also shone in his TKO victory over Daniel Bainbridge.
Towards Cage 3, Daniele Caldarera and David Camacho put on an eye-catching fight that could have been the fight of the day. The closely contested bout saw both have dominant spells. They were keen to trade in the pocket and often found themselves in a firefight at spells. The Italian fighter had the advantage in the grappling exchanges which played its part in him getting split decision victory.
In the later stages of the day, Junior World Cup gold medalist Arlind Berisha made a statement with a lightning-quick finish over Mohit Aggarwal. Berisha quickly got the fight to the mat, advanced his position and rained down punches forcing the referee to call the fight.