By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran Sweden’s Irman Smajic will return to the heavyweight bracket to defend his world title at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships in Manama, Bahrain. Taking place at Khalifa Sports City Arena from 12 to 19 November, as part of Brave International Combat Week, the 2017 World Championships are anticipated to be the biggest event in the history of amateur MMA under IMMAF with more participants than ever before representing nations from all continents. 2017 marks the first year of the IMMAF Worlds taking place outside of Las Vegas, USA. For the ‘Bosnian Bomber’ his list of amateur accomplishments continues to expand: a two-time European Open silver medalist (2015, 2016), the 2016 World Championships gold medalist, 2017 European Open gold medalist and most recently he took gold at the 2017 Asian Open in Singapore to extend his lead as the world’s number-one ranked amateur in the IMMAF pound-for-pound rankings. For the 2017 European Open in Sofia, Bulgaria, Smajic stepped up to the 265lb+ super-heavyweight division where he achieved the gold medal, swiftly finishing Austrian Damian Visenjak via TKO in the opening round before progressing to avenge an early career loss to Marcin Kalata, defeating the Polish veteran via submission. After a strong first round performance in the final against the giant defending champion Atanas Krastanov, Smajic claimed the gold medal after the Bulgarian suffered a shoulder injury that forced a second round TKO stoppage. For this year’s World Championships Smajic is back in the -265lb bracket to defend his world title. With an amateur record of 14-3, Smajic has 11 victories competing on the international IMMAF platform, including 3 submissions and 6 knockouts. His fastest victory to date came in the 2016 European Open semi-finals with a thunderous KO strike that sent Irishman Ryan Spillane to the canvas in just 16 seconds of the opening round. Smajic has the opportunity to make history with only 2 athletes having successfully defended the IMMAF world title, each representing the USA: Men’s bantamweight trailblazer Jose Torres earned the gold medal in 2014 and retained the crown in 2015 followed by Will Starks winning the welterweight crown in 2015 and retaining in 2016.