By Caoilte de Barra
The 2022 World Championships are not far away, and over five hundred athletes have registered to compete in Belgrade, Serbia.
Following the first year of closed continental championships, several athletes from around the globe are looking to build upon their continental success on the World stage.
Tajikistan’s Manuchehr Rioev is amongst the continental champions heading to the World Championships. In his debut on the IMMAF platform at the 2021 World Cup, Rioev impressed with a twenty-second finish over Patrick Moran. He was unable to medal at the competition and fell short again after reaching the quarterfinals of the 2021 World Championships.
He didn’t have to wait too long to secure his first IMMAF medal. His fast-paced bouts at the Asian Championships saw him stand out from the crowd as he won three bouts in as many days, finishing his last two bouts to secure gold.
At the European Championships, Mathilde Aschenbrenner was one of the breakout stars of the competition, making her first appearance at an IMMAF competition in the flyweight division.
The 2022 French national champion was dealt a tough task in her opening bout of the tournament against World bronze medalist Paulina Wisniewska. Aschenbrenner quickly made her mark by outpointing her opponent and followed it up with a win over Estonia’s Ksenija Grabova to line up a gold medal match-up.
In her final outing of the competition, Aschenbrenner put on an exceptional performance, finishing Marta Pankiv to take gold. Currently undefeated as an amateur, the french standout could be a real contender in the flyweight division.
The Africa Championships saw Angola send its first team to the competition. Elisio Andre was one of the nation’s four gold medalists and is returning to action at the World Championships. Competing in the middleweight division, Andre won both of his bouts en route to gold.
He is set to compete with the likes of Fergus Jenkins, Anthony Orozco, and Sultan Omarov in his bid to become Angola’s first World champion.
When IMMAF touched down in Mexico for the Pan American Championships, the Brazilian contingent thrived at the competition. Featherweight entry Ana Vitoria Diniz showed her grappling prowess in both of her bouts, submitting Perla Gonzalez and Andrea Guzman.
For the World Championships, she drops down to the talent-rich flyweight division, where she could face undefeated contenders Mathilde Aschenbrenner and Fabiola Silva in her pursuit of a second IMMAF gold medal.
The 2022 IMMAF World Championships is set to be the largest edition of the Championships yet. All six days of action will be available to stream on IMMAF’s OTT platform, IMMAF.TV, for fans all over the World.