By lead writer: Jorden Curran

Russia’s gold medal winning standouts of the 2018 IMMAF-WMMAA World Championships will face their first major test as reigning world champions, in the Russian MMA Union National Championships.

For Russia’s world champion athletes, a new pressure awaits with automatic qualification granted to the national finals, where they will be tested by the very best of their domestic rivals, facing off in a bid for their place within Team Russia for 2019, bound for the 2019 World Championships and European Open.

Earning 5 senior world championships gold medals, and 5 junior titles, the overwhelming success of the Russian national team smashed IMMAF records at the first Unified World Championships in Bahrain last November – recap HERE.

Operating under the government affiliated Russian MMA Union, Russia boasts what is likely the world’s most extensive competition circuit for amateur MMA contenders, with an estimated twenty-thousand (20,000) participants spanning age levels from cadet to senior. Athletes setting their sights on the national title must qualify via their local city championships, followed by regional and federal championships, all prior to the national finals event spanning four days of competition.

National championships for senior finalists are set for May 3-6 in Moscow with junior national championships taking place in September – full Russian amateur calendar for 2019 available HERE.

Nine out of ten Russian world champions are expected to compete at national finals with the exception of senior bantamweight gold medalist, Sharapudin Magomedov, who completed a successful professional MMA debut in February. Those with remaining active amateur tenures include:

Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) – Elbek Alyshov
Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) – Reziuan Khotov
Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) – Magomedkhabib Umarov
Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) – Igor Glazkov
Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) – Shamsutdin Makhmudov

Men’s Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) – Ruslan Satiev
Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) – Islam Bagomedov
Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) – Dzhamal Medzhidov
Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) – Magomed Shakhrudinov

At the national finals, Russia’s  reigning world champions will either solidify their status as the nation’s undisputed elite, or the amateur MMA world will see the emergence of an all new favorite to claim major international titles in 2019, as products of an intensive domestic proving ground.

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