Pictured: Young MMA competitors in the Republic of Tajikistan, regulated by the national MMA Federation By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran This year the International MMA Federation (IMMAF) and World MMA Association (WMMAA) will complete the inaugural Cadet & Pre-Junior Amateur MMA World Championships, welcoming national teams from across the globe to compete in Rome, Italy. The forthcoming announcement of tailored Cadet & Pre-Junior rules will cater to numerous age groups spanning athletes of 12-17 years of age, set to take place 3-4 August and hosted by the Italian Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts Federation (FIGMMA). After joining the IMMAF in 2018 with co-recognition, following the amalgamation of IMMAF and WMMAA, the Mixed Martial Arts Federation of the Republic of Tajikistan is among the group of national federations to have established a head start as we approach the ground breaking international cadet and pre-junior event. Similar to a number of international counterparts, Tajikistan’s government backed regulatory body first established its own domestic competition platform for athletes under the age of 18, back in 2014, and has continued to provide experience opportunities for young athletes ever since. In 2018 alone the MMA Federation of Tajikistan held 11 tournaments that saw national amateur championships take place among cadets, juniors and adults. Over 250 athletes participated in the national championships that spanned 2 days. The federation reports that MMA continues to develop steadily in Tajikistan with the sport being regulated across 8 regional departments. While the country has achieved modest success at the senior competition level in past years, in August the Tajikistan national team will be focused and confident of taking to the medal podium with their sights set on gold, boasting a team of experienced young MMA competitors who may set a precedent for the nation’s future at the senior level. Also, the MMA Federation of Tajikistan intends to hold even more amateur tournaments across 2019 and work in conjunction with adjacent countries in order to widen the opportunity for international experience within Central Asia. Agreements are reportedly signed with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan for friendly competition events to develop young talent.