In 2018, Team Russia fielded a squad of 26 amateur MMA standouts; 15 seniors, 11 juniors and with a total of over 370 athletes competing between the Junior and Senior competitions.
With over 370 competing athletes from across 50+ nations, a combined total of 26 world titles were up for grabs in 2018. 15 Russian athletes progressed to the 2018 finals; 8 seniors, 7 juniors. The feat set an inaugural junior world championships record and edged out Sweden’s record of 7 senior finalists, set in 2016. Russia’s 5 senior gold medals also topped Sweden’s 2017 record of 4.
The World responded in 2019, this year with 436 total athletes – 118 juniors and 318 seniors – spanning 50 national teams with host nation Bahrain leading the senior team rankings with Russia in a close second place. Russia had previously secured top spot in the junior team rankings.
Russia headed for Bahrain as hot favorites across the majority of divisions. However, talent from nations such as Italy, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Sweden, Ukraine, Bahrain, Poland, Czech Republic, Finland, Mexico and Estonia reminded us that the growing depth of the IMMAF World Championships will always stimulate evolution of competition and tougher challenges with each passing year.
In the senior women’s divisions Russia achieved 3 bronze medals in what was a tough campaign to reach the podium. The Russian women’s team is still a relatively new project following it’s inception earlier this year, and so it is one area where Russia faces some of its toughest challenges. After winning gold at the 2019 European Open, Flyweight division favorite Viktoriya Dudakova was forced to settle for bronze after her quarter-finals victory resulted in an injury and withdrawal from the semi-finals.
Yet still, Russia’s team prowess could not be overshadowed. The team of 45 strong: 28 seniors alongside 17 juniors, topped the respective medal tables and further raised the bar of success at the World Championships stage.
Russia achieved a haul of 19 medals at the senior level, equaling their record of 5 gold medals alongside 4 silver and 10 bronze while setting a new record for total senior finalists (9).
Russia built upon 2018’s inaugural Junior World Championships records, matching the current gold count record of 5 while also earning 3 silver and 3 bronze. The team extended its junior finalists record from 7 to 8.
Under the Russian MMA Union, the nation’s squad is selected based on those who medal at the Russian national championships. Russia’s great depth of talent has seen the country’s governing body implement an alternating squad between the World and European Championships, meaning that several prominent IMMAF champions of the 2018 calendar did not feature at the 2019 Worlds due to the squad rotation order.
Russia’s 2019 Senior Gold Medalists:
At senior bantamweight, national champion Gadzhimurad Zavaev earned gold in the place of 2018 champion Sharapudin Magomedov who has since turned professional.
Ahmed Gazimagomedov earned gold at bantamweight, taking the place of Bulgaria’s Delyan Georgiev, the two-time world champion who has also turned his attention to a pro career.
National champion Murad Umachiev conquered the lightweight ranks while Gazimurad Magomedov took gold at middleweight and
Gadzhimurad Bagaudinov avenged a European Open loss to Bahrain’s Shamil Gaziev and went on to claim the heavyweight title.
For full list of medalists and medal tables click HERE.
Main picture: Men’s lightweight gold medalist, Murad Umachiev
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran]]>