In five weeks time Australia’s amateur MMA prospects will be taking on some of the world’s very best at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships on the Gold Coast.
This year the Oceania Open is set to enjoy an added influx of world champion talent with four reigning gold medalists of the IMMAF World Championships looking to claim the continental title, including New Zealand’s women’s lightweight world champion Michelle Montague, Bahrain’s Ramazan Gitinov (welterweight) and Murtaza Talha Ali (light-heavyweight), plus the renown UK prodigy Muhammad Mokaev (men’s bantamweight).
Australia currently occupies 7th place in the senior team world rankings and the Australian MMA Federation has made clear its statement of intent for success as the host nation, registering a squad of 27 athletes to take on the likes of Bahrain’s national team who lead the world rankings. Pro MMA veteran Alan Philpott, who serves as one Australia’s team coaches, says that the Aussie standouts are excited to be kicking off the year against the best in the world.
“Any of the guys on the ‘Aus’ team that I have trained or spoken to are excited to be facing the tough opposition,” Philpott told IMMAF.org. “We are expecting tough grinding fights. Everyone is pushing hard and focusing purely on themselves which I believe will play a big part in their performances.”
Philpott relocated to Australia two years ago from Northern Ireland and is a vastly experienced veteran whose professional career dates back to 2011. A seven-man coaching staff will be in the corner of Australia’s athletes. Alongside Philpott will be Joel Thompson, Daniel Ung, Ryan Dunstan, Craig Jehn, Ed Bavelock and Renato Subotic.
Philpott experienced his first IMMAF event last year at the 2019 World Championships in Bahrain and believes the exciting and developing MMA scene within Australia has plenty to give. “I had a really good time,” he commented. “Being there among some of the best coaches in the world and seeing how well everyone got on together was good to see. I thought it was very well organised and as an amateur I would have loved to of had this opportunity . I think IMMAF tournaments are the way forward and before going professional this is the road that should be took.
“I have only been in Australia and part of the MMA scene for around 2 years now and in that time I’ve seen massive growth with the likes of Robert Whittaker, Alex Volkanovski , Martin Nguyen all being world champions. You have the guys from Melbourne all making waves and then the Mohktarian brothers with Nadia Kassem and Alex Gorgees and the other top fighters all making a name for themselves and starting to open doors for further athletes. Aussie MMA is on the rise and it’s only going to get better, I truly believe.”
The 2020 Oceania Open Championships take place from 6-8 March at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre, Palm Beach. Athletes set to represent the nation at the 2020 Oceania Open include:
Loni Doyle Filimoehala: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Patrick Best: Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Dane Alchin: Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)
Olivia Ukmar: Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Jesse Wenzlick: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Troy Fumo: Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Corey Reeves: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Jordan Thomas: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Abdul Mahdawi: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Courtney Gray: Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs)
Kim Luk: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Adam Assuncao: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Lachlan Stitt: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Andy Le: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Samuel Marles: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Auryn Parmley: Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Thomas Cooper: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Colby Thicknesse: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
James Sargison: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Aidan Nowfel: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Omer Suliman: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Tye Wall: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Kiera-Lee Botfield: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Cash Douglas: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Angelica Silva: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Tala Peau: Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)
Taj Fewquandie: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran