USA’s David Evans: ‘I expect to bring Gold back to the U.S!’

The USA National Amateur MMA Team will travel overseas for the first time this month to take part in the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. For the past three years Team USA has stood proudly as one of the most accomplished nations under the banner of the IMMAF World Championships, but will feature in an IMMAF continental championships for the first time when the European Open welcomes over 170 global athletes, from 22 to 26 November at the Arena of Sparta in Prague. Among the Team USA lineup will be bantamweight World Silver medal winner, David Evans. The 22-year-old serves as the current team’s most accomplished member, following the departure of 2015 & 2016 world welterweight champion, Will Starks, who joined the professional ranks of Titan FC after claiming a historic second Gold medal in Las Vegas this year. At the 2016 World Championships, taking place at the UFC Fan Expo during UFC International Fight Week, Evans faced off in one of the event’s most competitive bouts as the 135lb bantamweight final went to a split-decision in favor of his opponent, Abdul Hussein of Finland. “The last trip to the world championships was a great experience,” Evans recalled. “Personally, I don’t look at it as if I necessarily won silver, but as I came up short and lost gold. Though I do take pride in my performance and being the world silver medalist, my goal has always been to be the best in the world and only gold can solidify that. That experience however has only become motivation for me to improve and make the necessary adjustments to take my game to the next level. “In Prague I expect to make a statement on where I belong among the best in the world, and bring some Gold back home to the U.S.”  At the inception of IMMAF’s World Amateur Rankings Team USA stood as the no.1 ranked international team with the likes of Will Starks, Brendan Allen (former pound-for-pound no.1), and the iconic Jose Torres all topping their respective divisions as IMMAF world champions. However, the top spot has since been taken over by Sweden who ruled supreme at the 2016 IMMAF Worlds in Las Vegas, with the USA now ranked in 3rd place. The 2016 European Open Championships in Prague is the USA’s first stop en route to reclaiming any ground atop the international rankings. Evans remains focused regardless and refuses to be distracted by numbers, but recognizes that the IMMAF platform takes Amateur MMA away from being the sport of an individual, and introduces a strong element of teamwork and unity among nations. “I’ve never really been one to buy into the hype of seeds and rankings. Everyday I wake up and train as if I’m the best and I know someone is working just as hard to take what I have, whether I’m  number two in the world or number 20. I’m always confident in my skills and what I’m capable of, so the most pressure I feel at this point is to go out and perform to the best of my abilities in every fight and I’m constantly trying to one up myself. “As individual as our sport can be at times, the tournament format has added a since of team to the mix which I think is a good concept. We enjoyed a pretty strong finish in Vegas, team wise, and I expect us all to build off that and make an impact in the rankings.” The USA MMA Federation (UMMAF) has registered 4 athletes to represent the nation at the 2016 European Open Championships. Evans will be joined by fellow World Championship and UMMAF National Championships veterans Carlos Castro (Men’s Featherweight), Orlando Jimenez (Men’s Featherweight), and Gustavo Gomez (Men’s Lightweight), who each picked up preliminary victories at the 2016 World Championships before being eliminated in later rounds. The team of five will be led by newly introduced UMMAF head coach, Scott Tannenbaum, and Evans looks forward to extending the team legacy. “I have not gotten much of an opportunity to work with coach Tannenbaum outside of a brief conversation on the phone. However, I’ve heard good things about him and he seems to be focused on making an impact on the world stage and progressing us as a team. Without a doubt I know we can do some great things together in Prague.” By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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