By Caoilte de Barra
In 2022 the English Mixed Martial Arts Federation (EMMAA) made its mark on the IMMAF scene, impressing at the 2021 World Championships and the 2022 European Championships.
A smaller contingent went to the World Championships and were unlucky not to get a medal. However, by the time the European Championships came around, the squad had significantly grown.
The larger squad showcased some of England’s top talent, with the team finishing the competition with eight athletes on the podium.
Ahead of the 2022 World Championships, EMMAA has been conducting squad sessions with some of the nation’s best professional athletes, including Molly McCann, who has also held seminars to help the team raise funds for the trip.
European lightweight gold medalist George Staines is amongst the athletes heading to Serbia. In his first IMMAF outing, Staines went on an impressive run of form, winning four bouts in as many days to take gold and improve his undefeated record to 16-0.
Strawweight bronze medalist Kelly Staddon is also set to compete, while Lauren Reay, Izzy McGaughey and Branden Guest are some of the newcomers on the team looking to test themselves amongst the World’s best.
Fifteen athletes are set to represent England on the World stage, and the provisional list of athletes is as follows:
Atomweight – Caitlyn Hadfield
Strawweight – Kelly Staddon
Flyweight – Lauren Reay
Featherweight – Izzy McGaughey
Flyweight – Jordan Molinari
Featherweight – Mo Zubair
Lightweight – George Staines
Welterweight – Jordan Little
Middleweight – Sydney Dacres
Light Heavyweight – Mitch Goode
Heavyweight – Branden Guest & Owen Cartridge
Bantamweight – Jacob Wall
Featherweight – Jack Humphries
Lightweight – Ryan Southern
In the lead-up to the competition, EMMAA Head of Performance Paul Reed said:
“This weekend marked the last squad training session for Team England to end a great week of training with Molly McCann and the Next Generation Team in Liverpool. The team then moved to Head Coach Paul Kelly’s gym at MAC Stourbridge on Sunday for a session led by new EMMAA coach and Cage Warriors World Champ Jimmy Wallhead and a Molly McCann fundraising seminar.
“With many of the team remaining from Italy, including European champ George Staines they have also been joined by new recruits, and again team spirit and hope for medals are high. Notably, a strong female team travels, including European Bronze medalist Kelly Staddon. Hopes are high for the female team, and the ability to be coached and mentored by Molly is special. Most importantly, all the athletes get experience and opportunities for lifetime memories on the biggest world stage in Amateur MMA.”