On the final day of the 2023 IMMAF World Championships, the very best under the IMMAF banner faced off for a shot at the most prestigious of amateur MMA awards, an IMMAF World Senior Title.
Despite fielding one of the smallest nations in the Championships, Team Brazil were mightily impressive in the Senior Finals. All three of their female athletes competing in the Finals were triumphant, with Giulliany Perea securing her first IMMAF World Championships gold medal, having come up short on two previous occasions. Perea was joined on the gold medals table by her two countrywomen, Josiane Oliveira and Fernanda Guersone, both looking emphatic in victory.
After coming up short in his past two IMMAF tournaments, Belgium’s Patrick Habirora finally claimed gold in typically dramatic fashion. He would dominate much of the fight before finishing it in the third with a barrage of strikes that left Team Tajikistan’s Jovidon Mahmudov unable to continue.
Bahrain put on yet another impressive World Championships display, with two of their athletes walking away with IMMAF World gold medals. Gadzhi Gadzhiev became the first-ever athlete to win gold in the IMMAF Youth, Junior, and Senior ranks, while Sultan Gapizov landed a stunning TKO finish vs. Cary Miller of Team USA.
England’s Lisa Zimmo made short work of Ukraine’s Marianna Skuba, dominating in the wrestling department and forcing the tap via submission in the first round. Zimmo’s English counterpart, Lauren Reay, was not so successful, dropping a competitive decision loss to Swedish flyweight standout Hanna Palmquist.
In the Strawweight division, Tajikistan’s Vohid Zohidzoda captured one of the shock victories of the day. In arguably the most exciting bouts of the day, Zohidzoda went toe-to-toe with former World Champion, Bahrain’s Magomed Sheikov. While both men put in spirited displays of skill and heart in equal measure, it was Zohidzoda who edged it in the eyes of the judges.
Zohidzoda’s win was the first of several for Team Tajikistan. One of IMMAF’s biggest stars, Otabek Rajabov, defeated his fellow Tajikistani countryman Akrom Uzakov, while Loiq Ikromov and Qosim Sardorov also captured Senior World gold medals.
Austrian grappling phenom Elias Erber became the first athlete to capture a World title for his nation since the inaugural IMMAF event in 2014, while Ze Machado became IMMAF’s first Portuguese Senior World Champion.