In 2022, IMMAF closed continental championships for the first time to further enable the development of the sport in each continent. It was the first time since 2019 that more than one continental championship took place.
Over the year, four continental championships took place – Africa, Asia, Europe, and Pan America, and each one saw new stars emerge, along with new countries debuting on the IMMAF platform.
The return of the championships saw an increase in participation across the board. A notable increase was seen in female participation compared to 2019, where there was one more continental competition than in 2022. Over the five competitions in 2019, twenty-seven nations had entries in the female ranks, with total entries sitting below ninety.
Across four competitions in 2022, these figures increased, with total entries straying four athletes shy of a hundred, while the number of national federations increased to thirty, highlighting the worldwide growth of the sport.
The European Championships had the most participation of all. The competition saw Magdalena Czaban capture gold in one of the most competitive strawweight divisions in IMMAF history, not to mention youth world champion Anastasiia Holinko making her mark on the junior marks after graduating from the youth team.
At the Pan American Championships, the number of national teams with female athletes rose from two to six. Brazil dominated the women’s ranks, with Giulliany Perea displaying high-level grappling en route to winning gold.
The Africa Championships saw double the number of entries compared to 2019. The competition, which was held at the EFC Performance Institute in South Africa, saw Nicole Van Wyk, Kiara Fegen and Mischka Laubscher all take gold for the home nation.
Compared to 2019, entries grew from fourteen to twenty-three at the 2022 Asian Championships, and it was a competition to remember as the Tajikistan Mixed Martial Arts Federation hosted its first IMMAF event. It was an event that saw Sabrina De Sousa continue to make history as she added a fourth IMMAF medal to her collection, extending her undefeated amateur MMA record.
Many standout athletes from the continental championships will feature at the upcoming World Championships. Registration for the competition remains open until January 13. Any interested athletes should contact their national federation for more information.