By Caoilte de Barra
Jonathan Powell got the United States team off to winning ways on the opening day of the 2022 Pan American Championships. Competing at featherweight, Powell defeated Brazil’s Breno Yuri Santos in his first-ever IMMAF bout.
Despite getting the win, he did not always have things his way. Santos threatened some submission attempts in the first round, but Powell weathered any storm that came his way. From the second round onwards, it was one-way traffic for the 20-year-old. He used his striking to set up some takedowns, then dominated using his relentless wrestling and grappling ability to take the win.
When speaking about his experience in IMMAF so far, his first impressions have been very positive. “The Pan Ams are great, a lot of tough fighters. The organization is organized and is taking care of us well.” He said. Before explaining what it was like to compete against international competition for the first time.
“It was different because you really don’t know who you’re stepping in the cage with. It was good, I made a few mistakes, but it was good to get my body awake for the upcoming fights.”
His win means that the four-time state champion in MMA remains undefeated heading into the semi-finals. Powell trains in California Mixed Martial Arts under the tutelage of Chad George, who is also at the Championships as a coach. Ahead of the tournament, he explained what preparation was like in the build-up to the event. He said: “Where I train, we are always working hard, and our preparation is always top-notch.”
Tomorrow, Powell will face fellow countryman David Camacho in a match-up which has fireworks written all over it. A win will send either man through to the final, and Powell told us what to expect for the rest of the competition as well as teasing a potential run at the Worlds later in the year. He said:
“You can expect me to go out there and fight my heart out. I will be looking to compete at the worlds, but I like to take it one fight at a time.”
Following a clean sweep for the United States team on the opening day of the competition, it will be interesting to see how they progress moving forward. Powell will be looking to make it through to the finals, which you can watch live at IMMAF.tv on June 24.