By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran In November the Democratic Republic of Congo will be represented for the first time at the IMMAF World Championships. In February IMMAF officially welcomed the Democratic Republic of Congo MMA Federation (DRCMMAF) as its national representative for the governance of MMA within the nation. Leading the charge for Congo in Bahrain will be none other than one of this year’s most exciting newcomers to the international IMMAF platform, Eliezer Kubanza, who burst onto the scene as he won the welterweight gold medal at the 2017 IMMAF Africa Open Championships in South Africa. Kubanza propelled himself to the final of the 170lb African Open bracket where he faced adopted Bahrain prospect, Ramazan Gitinov, the now former Russian team veteran. Having earned his place in the final via a first round submission victory, it was now the turn of Kubanza’s frightening power to take center stage coupled with the ability to last throughout 3 rounds of amateur competition. The 20-year-old trailblazer stunned Gitinov in the final stanza to force the TKO stoppage and secure a landmark triumph for grass roots MMA in Africa. Kubanza has joined the list of athletes who, ahead of the 2017 World Championships, have assessed their weight management and made the decision accordingly to switch divisions. While Kubanza achieved the African title as a welterweight, the World Championships place all contenders in the world’s deepest pool of amateur talent with a longer tournament process spanning a potential five days of competition (for finalists) with which to maintain weight throughout. Kubanza and the Congo team have opted to waive his position as one of the top welterweight seeds in favor of entering the 185lb middleweight bracket as an unseeded newcomer, but with a greater chance of maintaining competitive efficiency. Kubanza’s decision could make the difference in him maintaining maximum power and ferocity, making him a potentially frightening task for all comers. The 2017 IMMAF World Championships take place at Khalifa Sports City Arena from 12 to 19 November, as part of Brave International Combat Week, the 2017 World Championships are set to be the biggest event in the history of amateur MMA under IMMAF with over 250 athletes representing nations from all continents. 2017 marks the first year of the IMMAF Worlds taking place outside of Las Vegas, USA.