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In the 2023 IMMAF World Championships semi-finals, the very best in the world of amateur MMA clashed for a spot in the Senior and Junior Finals.
After having his first two opponents fall through, Kazakhstan’s Yersultan Shakenbay made his long-awaited first appearance. However, it was not all clear sailing for the former World and Continental champion. His opponent, Tajikistan’s Yoqubjon Safarov, pushed Shakenbay to the limit, resulting in the fight going to a fourth round.
In deeper waters, Shakenbay’s experience showed through, and he was able to claim his nation’s first victory of the day. Kazakhstan would claim five wins in total; however, Shakenbay’s teammate and potential rival, Chingiz Zhussupov, was submitted by Belgian flyweight Nessim Akhdim.
Akhdim’s win represented the start of a bountiful day for Team Belgium. Patrick Habirora, Alvi Dasuyev, and Ines Boulabarj all secured spots in the finals, with only one fighter coming up short. The stage is now set for the developing MMA nation to achieve its greatest success in IMMAF history.
Team Brazil achieved a clean sweep as their female fighters dominated their divisions with a trio of impressive finishes. Fernanda Guersone and Josiane Oliveira both put on extremely impressive performances, while Giulliany Perea landed a sensational spinning back fist KO.
As impressive as the aforementioned nations were, Tajikistan once again had their hand raised more than any other team. Otabek Rajabov secured another win, his first finish of the Championships, while Qosim Sardorov, Jovidon Mahmudov, and more also impressed.
Despite their dominance, there were a few outliers in the seemingly dominant reign of Tajikistan. Portugal’s Ze Machado and Austria’s Elias Erber both claimed surprise wins, locking in key spots in the finals.
Tomorrow, the Junior Finals take place, featuring returning World and Continental champions such as Shakenbay and Perea, as well as brand new breakout stars, such as Ukraine’s Yana Shelemba. Don’t miss out on the very highest level of amateur MMA as the stars of the future test themselves on a global proving ground.