By Caoilte de Barra
In the curtain closer of Junior finals’ day, Asadbek Mannonov delivered one of the most flawless performances of the entire tournament to become Tajikistan’s first-ever IMMAF World Champion.
The Super Heavyweight got to start his route to gold in the semi-finals when he faced RMMAU’s Dmitry Babaev. He made a statement early by outclassing his opponent, submitting him in the second round with a kimura.
In the final, he looked a level above that. His movement was so fluid and he looked to be in the zone, landing strikes at will while also displaying some fantastic grappling. It looked like the fight could have ended in the first, but his opponent, Mykyta Tsybulia managed to survive the round.
The second round was a repeat of the first and just past the halfway stage of the round, the referee stepped in to stop the fight. That performance was one of the best of the session and a great way to end the first day of finals.
Following the fight, Mannonov shared his thoughts on the tournament and was proud of how he represented his country.
“I’m very happy because I got very big experience in the MMA World Championships. This was the first time for me and I got a gold medal, for me it’s a top achievement.”
“I’m sorry for my teammates, their fights were so close. But the tournament was top level, it was beautiful and the organization of it all was very good.”
“First, I represent my country, this win was for my country and my family and for me.”
It will be exciting to see Mannonov return and continue his development through the IMMAF ranks.