The Amateur MMA Pan-American Open Championships made its compelling debut yesterday (May 16) as the fifth continental open championships of the IMMAF – WMMAA platform.
Taking place in the Bahamas, the host nation secured a historic first victory on the international platform as men’s featherweight contender DiJonnaise Brown (pictured below) clinched a split-decision in dramatic fashion over Canadian world championships veteran Justin Grey.
As the highest ranked and most decorated national team in the competition, the United States faced mixed results on Day 1 of the Pan Ams. Men’s featherweight Walter Plazas (Colombia) and heavyweight Jonathan Muamba (Mexico) each snatched TKO victories over their North American rivals, while reigning junior welterweight world champion Jett Grande (Canada) scored his first win at the senior level via a unanimous decision over Joel Geders.
The USA’s Daniel Liberson received an automatic bye in the men’s lightweight division due to a failed medical for McNeil Newton of the Bahamas. Kyle Cason, also of the lightweight bracket, salvaged an opening day victory as he bested Jamaica’s Imran Hall by way of unanimous decision.
Emerging as the big opening day winners was Team Mexico as the nation stormed to victory in all three Day 1 contests.
Joining Mexican heavyweight Muamba in progressing to the semi-finals was men’s featherweight Mauricio Rios claiming a unanimous decision over Panama’s Felipe Cisnero.
In addition, following the momentum of earning a bronze medal for Mexico in 2018 at the Junior World Championships, men’s bantamweight Ismael Zamora stepped up and announced himself in style among the senior ranks, he forced a second round TKO stoppage over Kyazi Smith (Bahamas).
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran
For full Day 1 results and Day 2 schedule click HERE.