Last year IMMAF alumni were in action weekly, from regional shows to the top promotions in the World. There was always someone to keep an eye on in the pro ranks.
Just over a week into the new year, MMA promotions are returning to activity around the World, and some former IMMAF competitors are in action once again. Friday, January 13, sees two former members of the Polish national team make their highly anticipated debuts on CAVEMMA 2.
Patryk Semeniuk and Pawel Domin racked up plenty of experience in the amateur ranks before joining the national team in 2021. Both featured at the 2021 European Championships, and only Semeniuk made the trip to Abu Dhabi for the World Championships.
Both athletes were unsuccessful in picking up victories on the international stage but made their mark on the regional scene over the years and are kicking off the year by embarking on their pro careers.
A notable name to watch this week is 2014 IMMAF World Champion Carlos Hernandez, who competes in the UFC on Saturday, January 14. Hernandez represented the United States national team on three occasions and was IMMAF’s first-ever men’s flyweight World Champion.
His run to gold saw him finish his first two bouts before outpointing Kristian Lindstrøm Skogmo in the gold medal match. Hernandez’s final outing as an amateur came at the 2016 World Championships, where he lost to Josh Neale. Within a year, he jumped to the pro ranks and got off to a rough start, but has since won eight on the bounce.
The flyweight contender earned his UFC contract on the 2021 season of Contender Series, defeating Daniel Barez via split decision. Four months later he made his UFC debut, edging Victor Altamirano on the judges’ scorecards.
He will be hoping to make his mark on the division at the UFC Apex on Saturday, when he faces his toughest test to date in Allan Nascimento, who is currently 1-1 in the promotion.
Hernandez will be sharing the card with Brazilian national team coach Ketlen Vieira. The bantamweight standout was a coach at the 2022 Pan American Championships, where Brazil thrived, taking home four gold medals. She faces Raquel Pennington on the Main Card and will hope to put herself into title contention with a victory.