By Caoilte de Barra
It has been a historic two weeks for Italian MMA. From September 27 to October 1, the European Championships took place in Lignano Sabbiadoro. The following week top European promotion Cage Warriors touched down in Rome, their first-ever visit to Italy.
The event was sanctioned by FIGMMA, where several officials from the federation were involved in judging and refereeing. The Cage Warriors 144 event was monumental for the sport as an Italian athlete took home a win in each bout of the night.
The new bantamweight champion was amongst the host of IMMAF alumni to feature on the card as the progression from the amateur setup to pro shone brightly on the night.
2016 European Silver medalist Michele Martignoni was the highlight of the night as he topped off a perfect night for Italy. He outpointed Dominique Wooding in a five-round bout for the belt to boost his hopes of a UFC contract in the future.
Prior to that, 2015 World Champion Micol Di Segni extended her pro record to 10-4 after outworking Bryony Tyrell in a strawweight clash. Recent amateur standout Jasmine Favero continued her pro success too. The two-time medalist made easy work of Awa Sow, submitting her with an Americana to improve to 2-0 as a pro.
Dario Bellandi and Emanuele Sabatino were in the opening two bouts of the card. Bellandi had an extensive amateur career, winning two European gold medals in consecutive years. He handed Joan Arastey his first pro loss on the night, submitting him with a triangle choke early in the second round.
Sabatino on the other hand only featured at two previous IMMAF events but was unable to secure a medal. However, he has found his feet in the pro ranks, and his decision win over Karol Michalak showed exactly that.
The success of the event will help raise the profile of MMA in Italy and will likely be a significant moment as the sport continues to grow in popularity across the country.
Photo Credit: Cage Warriors/Dolly Clew