Israel is a nation that appears poised to blossom into one of the new frontrunners on the IMMAF circuit.
The Israeli MMA Federation (ISRMMAF) was recently granted official recognition from the government, acknowledging that MMA is an official sport in Israel and that the federation is the representative and governing body of the sport.
The ISRMMAF will develop and progress the sport of MMA in Israel with all the professional tools they have at their disposal, now supported by the Israeli government.
The CEO of the Israeli Federation Ido Pariente, had the following to say on the news of the recognition of MMA in Israel:
“After two and half years of working, it was all worth it, to get the official recognition from our country. From now on the support will help us to develop the sport and we will continue to work to help our athletes and academies to progress”.
The nation is coming hot off the heels of a groundbreaking 2022, which saw Shaked Nisimian become the first Israeli athlete to capture a gold medal at the IMMAF World Championships. Competing in the junior lightweight division, Nisimian picked up an impressive KO/TKO victory over Zhanerke Zhamalbekova, before going three rounds with Ugiloy Jumanova to claim a decision victory, and the gold medal.
Nisimian is not the only Israeli to have achieved success in the IMMAFs. Moshe Aladi had an extremely impressive 2022 campaign, going 4-2 and claiming a silver medal in the European Championships. Within those wins is a victory over Ieuan Mackenzie, who has since become a top prospect in the world of professional MMA.
Aladi recently found success at the Israeli National Championships, winning gold by submitting Omer Gadot and cementing his spot on the national team.
The Israeli National Championships also featured the nation’s first-ever adult women’s bout, which took place in the co-main event. Lior Harush was crowned national champion, claiming a split decision victory over 2022 World Championships national team member Rony Nisiman.
Yevgeni Shinkarevsky has also found himself on the IMMAF podium, representing Team Israel on multiple occasions. In 2021, Shinkarevsky competed in the IMMAF Worlds, where he defeated Abdulla Mubarak en-route to a gold medal. This is a win that has aged well, considering Mubarak has since earned a gold medal at the 2022 Super Cup. Shimkarevsky then competed in the 2022 European Championships, where he captured the silver medal, defeating Karol Durszlewicz and Oleksandr Stepenko in the process.
With a solid crop of experienced athletes in their ranks and a rising tide of talented newcomers, Israel is certainly a nation to keep an eye on in the 2023 season.