By Caoilte de Barra
Tournament hosts Mexico will be a force to be reckoned with at the 2022 Pan American Championships. Boasting a team of twenty-nine competitors, they will be the largest team at the tournament by quite a bit, not so closely followed by the United States team of eleven athletes.
The hosts are renowned for their energy and being the life of the event, from the registration day through to the finals. From chanting, singing and dancing, you can expect the atmosphere to be electric whenever the Mexican team is present.
Asides from bringing the party, they also bring the action in every single bout. Heart and toughness are something no athlete from Mexico is short of, and it’s something we’ve been lucky enough to witness on two previous occasions this year.
After starting the year in style at the 2021 World Championships, Mexico was a late addition to the MMA SuperCup. They won the opening round and caused a stir with their tactics to keep fresh for the semi-finals. They followed their performance by bringing Ireland to the wire in the semi-finals before missing out on a cash prize, losing to Kazakhstan.
In a team as large as Mexico, it’s hard to pick a standout, but one athlete to keep an eye on is Valeria Gomez. The strawweight hopeful picked up a silver medal at the World Championships in the junior category and is back for more silverware.
At flyweight, Violeta Mendoza is one to watch following her displays at the MMA SuperCup. She defeated Eabha Cruise before coming close against Ayan Tursyn, only losing via split decision.
Welterweight competitor Cruz Garcia is another prospect that has been keeping active. He has competed across multiple sports this year, winning multiple BJJ and kickboxing tournaments along with some MMA bouts. He enters a strong division where he may have to compete each day to secure gold.
After a more competitive selection process and not having to do a lot of travelling, the Mexican team believe they will have the psychological edge and expect to take home medals. In the build-up to the Championships, Team Coach Danny Soloranzo explained how they are prepared for anything. He said:
“We’re ready for anything. We’re expecting to have a team ready and mature that is different from other times because we’re in Mexico. That’s one thing. And second, the World Championships and SuperCup that we did a great job in. It was a great opportunity for the whole team to be ready for this kind of championship that will happen here in Mexico.”
“We’re expecting to have a bunch of finals. You can expect a great, exciting Mexican squad.” He added.
The athletes selected to represent Mexico at the 2022 IMMAF Pan American Championships are:
Brenda Castro Colorado [Atomweight]
Wendy Widrobo Espinoza [Atomweight]
Diego Alexis Torres [Strawweight]
Jafet Manzo [Strawweight]
Valeria Gomez [Strawweight]
Angel Galindo Arroyo [Flyweight]
Isabel Sierra Martinez [Flyweight]
Jaime Sierra [Flyweight]
Violeta Mendoza [Flyweight]
Carlos Polito Guevara [Bantamweight]
Genaro Aguirre Medina [Bantamweight]
Itzel Tamara Alfaro Martinez [Bantamweight]
Vania Rodriguez Garcia [Bantamweight]
Andrea Guzman [Featherweight]
Brian Gonzalez Arsola [Featherweight]
Perla Mendoza Gonalez [Featherweight]
Said Cruz Reyes [Featherweight]
Cristian Penaloza Galicia [Lightweight]
Ivanna Benavides Garcia [Lightweight]
Jorge Mendez Navarro [Lightweight]
Samantha Teutle [Lightweight]
Cruz Garcia [Welterweight]
Jaime Herrera Rodriguez [Welterweight]
Carlos Juarez Chavez [Middleweight]
Fernando Hernandez Lucero [Middleweight]
Aaron Rios [Light Heavyweight]
David Maldonado Montes [Light Heavyweight]
Juan Morales Rodriguez [Heavyweight]
Marco Mendez Rodriguez [Heavyweight]
You can catch the finals of the 2022 IMMAF Pan American Championships live at IMMAF.tv, and Facebook (Mexico only) on June 24.