World Champion: Flyweight gold medal winner Micol DiSegni is victorious over Sweden’s Anja Saxmark in the 2015 IMMAF World Championships final. Italy surfaced as one of the most talked about nations following the 2015 IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA in Las Vegas this past July. With an impressive haul of medals in both the 2014 and 2015 World Championships, the European country placed second as a nation in the official IMMAF World Amateur Rankings, only surpassed by the USA who took the number-1 spot. A third display of collective success at this month’s IMMAF European Open Championships would confirm Italy as one of Europe’s most progressive hotbeds for nurturing grass roots amateur competitors. At the inaugural IMMAF World Championships in 2014, Micol DiSegni (Women’s Flyweight) and Lucrezia Ria (Women’s Bantamweight) both achieved bronze medals in their respective weight divisions. This year they returned to Las Vegas, more developed as athletes, and both claimed gold medals to become IMMAF World Amateur champions. In 2014 Italy secured a single gold medal with light-heavyweight Alessio Di Chirico, in addition to its three bronze positions. In 2015 Italy achieved a total of 6 medals, including x2 gold, x1 silver and x3 bronze. At the IMMAF European Open Championships next week, the Italian team will have the opportunity to further prove just how progressive its amateur scene can be. World Champions DiSegni and Ria have since left the national team with DiSegni having also gone on to make a successful professional debut in South Africa at Extreme Fighting Championship. However, World Championships bronze medallists Marco Zannetti (Men’s Bantamweight) and Paolo Anastasi (Light-Heavyweight) will be a part of the 8 person team travelling to compete in the UK between November 19 and 22 at the University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall Campus Sports Centre. The athletes comprising Italy’s national amateur team are: Ilaria Norcia – Women’s Flyweight Marco Zannetti – Men’s Bantamweight Andrea Alberto Chiappi – Men’s Featherweight Michele Martignoni – Men’s Featherweight Francesco Spinola – Men’s Lightweight Ehsan Ghandchiler – Welterweight Asterio Lucchesini – Middleweight Paolo Anastasi – Light-Heavyweight For more information on the Italian MMA governing body, FIGMMA, visit http://www.figmma.it/.