By Jorden Curran
Like many of the worldwide prospects who represent their nation on the international IMMAF platform, Loni Doyle Filimoehala is a national amateur MMA champion who had been on a roll for two years after coming into his stride in the Australian domestic scene. He then made his IMMAF debut at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships, representing the Australian national team.
Over the years many IMMAF alumni have recalled the education they received, seeing how their talent as a top national prospect stacked up against the ability and style of athletes from the rest of the world. Whether the experience resulted in triumph or defeat, those who get a taste of the premier amateur platform left knowing a great deal more about themselves as athletes and how they need to progress moving forward.
“In 2019 I competed against the eventual world silver medallist, Yusup Magomedov,” Loni recalled. “Coming to the Worlds in 2019, I expected to run straight through everybody. I lost on the first day of the tournament.”
“But I knew that wasn’t my last fight under the IMMAF,” he added. “In that bout I got to experience what it was like to compete with the World’s elites. Being at the IMMAF Worlds, I got to witness with my own eyes what a world champion looks like. I’ve made friends from all over the world: people like Ryan Spillane from Ireland, Yusup Magomedov from Dagestan and Hazem Kaylil from Jordan.”
The 24-year-old middleweight continued to chase progress at the international level, his next outing came with the national team on home soil at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open in Palm Beach, Australia. Loni earned the silver medal, besting French Polynesia’s Michael Lisan by unanimous decision before being edged on the scorecards by New Zealand’s Hakaraia Wilson in the tournament final. In December of 2020 Loni was back competing on the national circuit and it took just 30 seconds for the international veteran to score a right-hand KO win.
“I would’ve turned pro already if I hadn’t found IMMAF,” Loni added. “After losing to the word silver medallist it has been my number-one goal to become IMMAF world champion. I believe IMMAF is a great pathway for young fighters, it has changed my life for the better, my goals are now bigger goals. Over here in Australia I’ve tried to convince many fighters to join the national team! I truly believe IMMAF events are where the best talent is and when I go pro, I want everyone to know that I’m an IMMAF athlete.”
Having now started his tenure as an international contender, Lino has had his first taste of the world’s elite. He now looks forward to building on the experience, and furthermore, is now working with Australia’s national MMA governing body, IMMAFA, and its president Richie Cranny, to establish a national athlete’s commission to facilitate a platform to give a voice and open opportunities to Aussie MMA talent.
“I would like to compete at every IMMAF tournament this year, representing my country and my favourite sport in the best way I can!”The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has confirmed its finalised Championships schedule for 2021, following a board meeting on 17 March – full details HERE.