Lightweight competitor Helin Paara took her place on the medal podium to receive Gold in the Women’s 155lb bracket, at the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships. A historic moment for Estonian MMA; Paara secured the first IMMAF championship medal in her country’s history with Estonia competing at an IMMAF Championships event for the first time. The Estonian Mixed Martial Arts Federation (EMMAF) has been a member of IMMAF since its launch year in 2012, headed by veteran MMA competitor, Ott Tonissaar. Frustratingly, due to compliance differences between Estonia’s historic definition of ‘Amateur’ and the emerging criteria of IMMAF, competitors were previously restricted from entering IMMAF competition. The EMMAF was hindered by a lack of experienced competitors with IMMAF compliant backgrounds within the nation’s small amateur scene. However, the path was clear for a trio of suitable Estonian athletes to make their way to the European Open in Prague, Czech Republic. Estonia was represented at Prague’s Arena of Sparta by Paara, in addition to Men’s Lightweight competitor Kaupo Kokamägi and Welterweight Jaak Rudov. The team was lead by national coach Vallo Hannus. At the European Open finals on November 26 Paara took on Kerttu Kouki of Finland; a nation with a history of high success at IMMAF Championships. Nevertheless, Paara was swift in taking control of the bout in the opening round and forced a TKO stoppage on the ground at the 1:11 mark. Kouki battled hard to defend and escape from under the full mount of Paara, but the Fin remained pinned and was peppered with strikes. Paara’s historic triumph has planted the seeds for legacy and future success of Estonian amateur competitors on IMMAF’s international platform. Click HERE for more information on the 2016 IMMAF European Open, including results and list of medal winners.