By Caoilte de Barra
Last week, wins for Bagdat Zhubanysh, Enrique Hecher Sosa and Deylan Georgiev made it a successful week for IMMAF alumni.
This week sees more amateur world medalists competing in the pro ranks. 2015 World gold medalist Saeid Mirzaei is set for the BFL 75 card on December 1 live on UFC Fight Pass.
Mirzaei was inactive for over two years before returning earlier this year and recently suffered his first defeat in a welterweight title challenge. He is moving to middleweight for this bout in the hope of getting back into the win column.
On Friday, December 2, Lee Hammond looks to extend his undefeated streak at Éire FC 1 against Giorgi Esiava. This will be the 2018 World gold medalist’s fifth bout in thirteen months. Teammate Cian Cowley joins him on the card and is looking for his third win of the year.
Before going pro, Cowley competed at the 2016 World Championships and had three straight victories before injury forced him to withdraw. His pro career has had mixed results to date, however, his recent performances have been very promising.
On Saturday, Jakub Tichota is set to compete for the interim featherweight belt at OKTAGON 37 against Mate Sanikidze. Since turning pro in 2020, Tichota has only competed in the promotion, and his run of wins has been rewarded with an opportunity to win a title.
Later that day, Amanda Ribas will meet Tracey Cortez on a stacked UFC card. The 2014 World gold medalist has been competing between strawweight and flyweight in recent years, with her bout at the weekend set for 125lbs. Ribas dropped a razor-thin split decision in her last bout but did get a performance of the night bonus for her efforts. A win over Cortez could launch her back up the rankings as she continues her push for a title shot.
Closing out the weekend is 2019 World silver medalist Shauna Bannon, who is hoping to go 4-0 as a pro at Cage Legacy 17. Bannon only turned pro in April and has been on a rapid rise, winning belts in two divisions at Cage Legacy before signing with Invicta FC.
The 2021 World Cup gold medalist got off to winning ways in her promotional debut but is back competing in Ireland for another bout as she looks to remain as active as possible.