Can Romania’s Dinescu outshine her Nemisis at 2016 European Open?

Pictured: Romanian teammates Raluca Dinescu and Cristian Iorga 2016 IMMAF EUROPEAN OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS BUY TICKETS: While teammate Cristian Iorga looks to follow up on an impressive World Championships effort, could it be that third time’s the charm for Raluca Dinescu, as she anticipates the potential for a third meeting with Bulgaria’s 2015 IMMAF European Open & 2016 World champion, Alexandra Toncheva. The Romanian amateur export first emerged on IMMAF’s international platform at the 2015 European Open in the UK where her cage grinding, grappling prowess resulted in lopsided decision wins to secure Silver en route to the Strawweight tournament final against Toncheva. It would be Toncheva whose relentless attack secured the Unanimous Decision and Gold medal for Bulgaria, with much of the bout playing out in the pocket, on the feet. A rematch between the pair took place earlier this year at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships in July. In her opening bout Dinescu again showcased smothering control on the ground against Japan’s Rika Hamada, and the 30-year-old forced a TKO stoppage in the second round. However, Dinescu fell victim once again to Toncheva who remained fresh throughout another high pace contest, growing more dominant as the rounds progressed. Next week’s European Open provides a second shot at redemption for Dinescu who has defeated all comers under the IMMAF banner with Toncheva as the only exception. While it is not a certainty that they will meet in the 115lb bracket, the no.5 ranked Strawweight would likely revel at the opportunity to topple her greatest rival. Men’s Lightweight contender Cristian Iroga also returns to action for Romania after an impressive showing that took him to a Bronze medal position at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships. Having faced elimination in the second round of the 2015 European Open, the 21-year-old progressed to Las Vegas via the Romanian National Championships and mounted a trio of wins to reach the 155lb World semi-finals, including victory over Norway’s 2015 European Open finalist Geir Kare Cemsoylu Nyland. In addition, 30-year-old Heavyweight Ion Grigore will make his first appearance under the IMMAF banner next week after a powerful showing in the national RMMAF Amateur Series. The Romanian MMA Federation (RMMAF) has registered a team of 3 competitors for the 2016 IMMAF European Open: Raluca Dinescu  Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Age 30 Iorga Cristian Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Age 21 Ion Grigore Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) Age 38 By lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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