This year Cyprus will contest for the first time at the IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA, represented by Men’s bantamweight challenger Stefanos Kyriakides and national coach Stefanos Charalampous. In February the Cyprus MMA Federation (CMMAF) was approved as an observational member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and first featured on the IMMAF competition platform at the 2017 European Open Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. At this year’s European Open, 22-year-old Kyriakides took his nation to the quarter-finals of the bantamweight bracket after a TKO victory over Bulgaria’s Denislav Hadzhiev. The Cypriot was eliminated by seasoned Italian veteran and former silver medal winner, Marco Zannetti, the world’s number-three ranked contender. Kyriakides is currently ranked 21st and he will be aiming to climb the ladder further at the 2017 World Championships in Bahrain when he battles among 28 top 135lb contenders from across 20 nations. The CMMAF is formally recognised by the Cyprus government and by the Cyprus Sports Organisation (CSO), which sponsors its national team and events. In February, CMMAF President, Mr. Stefanos Charalampous, said: “We are a young federation and we strive to do our best by our members and athletes. Our goal is to make this beautiful sport better recognised in our country and help our athletes progress in the right way. It is an honour and a privilege for our federation to be a part of IMMAF.” Based in Limassol, the CMMAF was founded in 2012 to support the development of and to promote the country’s MMA athletes. The federation is managed by representative coaches from each member gym and club whose decisions and proposals are then evaluated by the organisation’s President and Board of Directors. The CMMAF has organised national championships and participation in international events, in which Cyprus’ national MMA team has achieved awards. 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 more participants than ever before representing nations from all continents. 2017 marks the first year of the IMMAF Worlds taking place outside of Las Vegas, USA.