- Balkan Champions to face Kazakhstan in the Quarter-Finals
- ‘Not a Dark horse team’, says Head Coach. ‘More like a Unicorn’.
The Balkan Champions are set to face Team Kazakhstan at the MMA SuperCup in Bahrain on 9, 10 and 12 March 2022, broadcast on immaf.tv.
Organised by BRAVE as part of BRAVE International Combat Week, the MMA SuperCup presents the 6 strongest, national amateur MMA teams in the world, according to the IMMAF World Amateur MMA rankings plus 2 wildcard teams. The teams will be facing off to determine the greatest nation(s) in MMA and for the opportunity to win cash prizes of US$100,000, US$75,000 and US$50,000 for first to third place respectively. The prize money is intended to fund the development of the next generation of MMA athletes in the winning nations through their IMMAF affiliated national federations.
Billed as the ‘dark horse’ of the tournament, the Balkans ‘wildcard’ team features Slovenian IMMAF World Cup Bronze Medallist Miha Frlic in the Heavyweight division with a cohort of Serbian athletes who have all championed at either national or international level in MMA and combat sports. The Balkan Champions will face world #3 ranking Kazakhstan in the opening quarter-finals in 9 bouts across 9 weight categories. Team Kazakhstan boasts numerous IMMAF world and continental champions and medallists, including rising stars Ayan Tursyn and Bagdat Zhubanysh. Its line-up for the SuperCup is yet to be announced.
The Balkan Champions roster includes the following athletes with accolades as reported by the team:
● Bantamweight (135lbs): Vojo Katanovic, Serbia
MMA Leagues Serbia 2nd; Karate Black Belt and National Champion; ADCC Tuzla 2nd
● Featherweight (145lbs): Voja Simicic
4x national MMA champion; 2x Balkan MMA champion; 8x grappling champion; kickboxing national champion
● Lightweight (155lbs): Danilo Ristic
MMA Junior National champion; 2x Best fighter of the tournament, Fight Games International; National Taekwondo Champion; King Konstantin Cup
● Welterweight (170lbs): Radovan Lukovic
WAKO kickboxing 3rd place; Macedonia Open (freestyle wrestling) 2nd place
● Middleweight (185lbs): Vuk Lekic
National MMA champion; National Wrestling champion
● Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Dževad Baltić
Serbian National MMA champion; Serbian National Grappling Cup champion
● Heavyweight (265lbs): Miha Frlic 93+
2021 IMMAF World Cup Prague Bronze medallist
- Flyweight (125lbs): Anastasija Rajkovic
Fight Games Xll 1st place; Fight Games Xl 2nd place; Serbian Grappling Cup 1st and 2nd place; ADCC 3rd place
- Bantamweight women (135lbs): Nikolic Sandra 62kg
Balkan MMA Champion 2019
The quarter-finals of the MMA SuperCup will also see Team Russa fighting Ireland, Bahrain up against Tajikistan and Team Ukraine take on the Arab Champions.
Slovenian MMA Federation President Zlatko Mahic and team manager commented:
“The Balkans team are here to show our muscle on the world stage, as MMA continues to grow regionally. We will make our region proud. We’re not dark horses, more like a unicorn!”
Serbian MMA Federation President Luka Nikolic added:
“The MMA SuperCup provides an excellent platform and a great opportunity for our fighters to show what the Balkans is made of!”
The MMA SuperCup takes place under IMMAF Amateur MMA Rules and World Anti-Doping Agency Rules. All competitors will medically precleared by Safe MMA.
The MMA SuperCup is jointly organised by the IMMAF, KHK Sports, Bahrain MMA Federation, and BRAVE Combat Federation. It takes place between March 8 to March 12, during BRAVE International Combat Week, with BRAVE CF 57 taking place on Friday 11 and an Opening Ceremony on 8 March.