From Atomweight to Lightweight, a total of 96 women competed across 10 divisions at the 2019 IMMAF | WMMAA World Championships.
Among the international standouts, a newcomer to the World Championships platform would emerge as one of the competition’s biggest surprises and most exciting new faces.
In the women’s senior strawweight bracket, Colleen Augustin made history for the Malaysian national team, achieving a bronze medal to secure her country’s first World Championships podium finish. Augustin and Team Malaysia made it as far as the semi-finals and would produce one of this year’s surprise triumphs in the process.
After her 3-0 start to amateur MMA at the domestic level, the IMMAF platform first glimpsed the 21-year-old in May at the 2019 Asian Open. Taking place in Bangkok, Augustin bested a duo of rivals from the accomplished Kazakhstan national team, both via TKO to earn the continental gold medal, earmarking herself as one to watch at the November World Championships.
Augustin exceeded expectations in the World Championships strawweight tournament, arguably pulling off this year’s biggest upset in the women’s ranks.
Sweden’s Nina Back was on the hunt and considered a most likely finalist having achieved silver at both the 2018 World Championships and 2019 European Open, but the aggression and fearlessness that Augustin showcased in Bangkok carried through to Bahrain where she sensationally eliminated Back after a split-decision nod over England’s Marie Spencer progressed her to the final 16.
The Malaysian clinched a rare TKO stoppage over the Swedish standout during a sudden-death fourth round of their final-16 encounter with the judges having declared a draw after the standard 3 rounds of action. After a back-and-forth bout Augustin had more left in the tank and secured a dominant position on the ground.
With both athletes exhausted, the finishing strikes from Augustin did not carry ferocity, but the display of unanswered volume highlighted to the referee that Back was no longer sufficiently defending herself.
Augustin’s journey would eventually be halted by Ukraine and the highly talented Anastasiya Svetkivska. The reigning European Open gold medalist pulled off an arm-bar submission against the Asian Open standout and Svetkivska went on to win the 2019 world title, defeating Australia’s Olivia Ukmar in the final.
Malaysia’s final victory of the 2019 World Championships booked the nation’s first bronze medal in amateur MMA’s premier tier. In the quarter-finals Augustin out-pointed Estonia’s Ksenija Grabova by way of unanimous decision.
“It was exciting and an amazing experience for me,” she stated. “Since it was my first time competing MMA at a world stage. I learnt a lot and I’m very blessed to be given the opportunity to be there and be able to represent my country and put Malaysia on the map.
“In 2020 I definitely hope to come back to the world stage and become a world champion.”
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran