By Frank Bonada
At the 2023 International Mixed Martial Arts Federation World Championships, Finland’s breakout star, Sani Brannfors, will seek to etch her name into the annals of IMMAF greatness. Already a Youth and Junior World Champion, Brannors will attempt the remarkable feat of completing the trifecta, by capturing a Senior World Championships gold medal.
This bantamweight dynamo has seamlessly progressed through the ranks of IMMAF, showcasing unparalleled prowess in each age division she has graced. Following her triumphant gold medal run at the IMMAF Youth World Championships, Brannfors seamlessly transitioned to the more challenging Junior World Championships.
Leveraging her invaluable experience on the Youth circuit, Brannfors exhibited exceptional fortitude and skill, overcoming three formidable opponents on her journey to clinch the coveted World Championships gold medal. As she continues to ascend through the ranks, Sani Brannfors stands poised to be Finland’s next breakout star on the international MMA stage.
Speaking with IMMAF, Brannfors gave some insight into her mindset ahead of competing in the 2023 World Championships: “I don’t feel pressure at all. Like, I love challenges, so stepping up for the seniors right now, even though I’m 18, is, I just love it more. I’m a competitive person, so knowing that this challenge is a lot bigger just makes me more excited and I’m just happy to be here.”
In contrast to several of its Nordic counterparts, Finland currently lacks a major star to represent them on a global stage in the world of professional MMA. In response to the question of whether she could be the catalyst for shifting this narrative, Brannfors declared the following to say: “Yes, absolutely. I’m absolutely going to be that one. And I’m really proud to represent Finland. And I think, right now I’m doing a breakout, because I have won so many in a short amount of time and I’m pretty young, so I’m pretty, pretty sure that’s going to be.”
“I like being here and the experience is amazing. So, I think coming to get another gold world medal, then I think that’s enough for me to turn pro. The sky is the limit on pro, you know, UFC, everything. I think I’m going there pretty fast and in the professional scene, I think they are appreciating more IMMAF medals and all that. I think you have to get them here, and then go there. And I think the opportunities are a lot better when you have a good base on the amateur scene.”
Whilst the scene is perfectly set for Brannfors to make history, she is confident she will not be the only Finnish athlete on the podium come the end of the World Championships.
She says: “I think we will maybe have three gold medals. I’m really rooting for Juho Suvanto. He’s on the juniors. I think he has a pretty good chance. And, Omar Tugarev. He’s a European champion and I think he has a really good chance to win. And I really like Miro Honkanen, and this is his last IMMAF competition, and I also think he will win a medal.”
Sani Brannfors will make her Senior debut on Day 2 of the 2023 IMMAF World Championships, where she takes on Alisa Bostan of Estonia.