Magomedov vs. Ndebele: The featherweight final with weighty implications

Pictured: Nkosi Ndebele (left), Abdulmanap Magomedov (right)

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

Bouncing back from his first amateur defeat in the semi-finals of last year’s IMMAF World Championships, Bahrain’s Abdulmanap Magomedov today forced himself into the 2018 IMMAF Africa Open final.

Employing his high-pressure top game, the defending champion stopped local hopeful Nathanial Komana with little delay, securing a rear-naked-choke submission at just over two-minutes into their featherweight semi-final bout.

For Magomedov, the importance of this year’s Africa Open goes far beyond retaining the title and becoming a two-time gold medalist of the continental event. The Africa Open is just phase-one of his 2018 vision, as victory in tomorrow’s final will see him once again become the world’s number-one ranked competitor at 145lbs.

Currently with 1254 rankings points, just 11 points behind 2017 World and European Champion Delyan Giorgiev, the guaranteed minimum of 300 points that come with a continental silver medal are enough to see him become the new world-number-one. However, the gold medal and accompanying 500 points would see Magomedov further his chances to remain as the division’s top seed for the remainder of IMMAF’s 2018 event circuit.

Standing in his way will be South Africa’s own Nkosi Ndebele, the 2017 Africa Open lightweight champion, who is now looking to make an impact among the featherweights in 2018.

Having gone 3-0 since his exit from the 2017 World Championships, the exciting 22-year-old has remained active through February, March and April, and finds himself in fine form, primed and ready to continue his momentum in pursuit of what would be one of the biggest breakthrough performances of the year, should he topple Magomedov and make history as a two-weight Africa Open champion.

IMMAF is piloting its new video platform this Saturday 24 May from 12pm (GMT+2), with the FREE live streaming of the 2018 IMMAF Africa Open Championships from Johannesburg. Click HERE for more information.

For information on the 2018 IMMAF Africa Open Championships, visit the event page HERE.
For live results visit

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IMMAF Goes Live with – Watch Africa Open Finals this Saturday


IMMAF is piloting its new video platform this Saturday 24 May from 12pm (GMT+2), with the FREE live streaming of the 2018 IMMAF Africa Open Championships from Johannesburg. will also be hosting matches videos of the preliminary rounds.

Over the coming weeks and months, ALL historic matches from past IMMAF Championships will appear at

We are also pleased to announce that IMMAF will live stream all 5 days of the 2018 IMMAF European Championships and Junior European Open Championships, from 18 to 22 June. This prestige event is set to showcase 150 athletes from 25 countries.

2018 Africa Open content is brought to you by Scuffle Media.

Thank you for your support – and enjoy!

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Educational Video: MMA in Context – The Ground Game

The International MMA Federation (IMMAF) has released its latest educational video: MMA in Context.

As an educational tool for Mixed Martial Arts, the feature has been produced with a layman audience in mind and aims to correct misconceptions, misinformation and prejudices surrounding use of the caged competition area and aspects of the sport’s ground game: working from the bottom position, stoppages and referee presence, etc.

World renown MMA referee, IMMAF committee member and regulatory affairs consultant, Marc Goddard, guides viewers through key factors of amateur MMA competition under the IMMAF banner:

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On 10 April, the International MMA Federation (IMMAF) and the World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) announced an amalgamation for the global unification of the sport of MMA. Crucially this step is of key significance to MMA’s bid for sport recognition within the Olympic sport movement.

Today WMMAA and IMMAF have reached out to their collective membership, to officially notify national federations of their recognition status under the new structure. In countries where two federations exist, IMMAF/ WMMAA will be inviting the organisations to collaborate, and where one is recognised by its Ministry of Sport or NOC, for the other to be absorbed into that federation. The respective strengths of national federations have been assessed according to IMMAF/ WMMAA membership targets, which follows the membership criteria set at an international level by the Global Association of International Sport Federations (GAISF). See below.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown welcomed the opportunity for the modernisation of the collective membership:

“The amalgamation provides a catalyst for the modernization and strengthening of our membership, which in turn will accelerate sport development and increase services to MMA participants worldwide. In facilitating the unification of two organisations in some territories, we aim to bring the strengths and successes of each to the table and help them to negotiate a complementary working structure under one banner. For example, we have noticed that while one national federation might focus on professional event sanctioning, its former ‘rival’ may have achieved commendably in youth development projects. Clearly, these two activities are not mutually exclusive. The amalgamation has also instigated a fresh review of our membership,  to what extent they meet international governance criteria and in which areas we need to support them.”

The Romanian Kempo MMA Federation, who will be hosting the 2018 IMMAF European Championships next month, embodies an early success story of a merger between IMMAF and WMMAA members. Very positive initial conversations have been reported between other members too, with a combined French ‘super team’ already reported as planning to participate in the IMMAF European Championships.

WMMAA President, Vadim Finkelchtein, expressed his faith in the ultimate success of national level unifications:

“The WMMAA and IMMAF amalgamation leads to creation of one united world organisation with the number of its members coming close to a hundred. A huge amount of work has been done to unitе the federations on a national level and speed up the movement towards GAISF and consequently Olympic Committee recognition. We expect that each federation – be it an IMMAF or WMMAA member –  is willing to find common ground with their past rivals for the sake of MMA. We’ve achieved so much in the past, much more is yet to be done and I have no doubts we will get there together.”

First international opportunities for the WMMAA and IMMAF communities to come together will be through invitations to WMMAA members to participate in IMMAF continental championships and courses, in the run up to a joint 2018 World Championships of Amateur MMA in Bahrain in November. Participation will see WMMAA athletes enter the IMMAF World Amateur MMA Rankings.

A letter issued yesterday invited “IMMAF and WMMAA communities” to come together in “friendly competition and in the shared spirit of good sportsmanship”.

IMMAF/ WMMAA National Federation Membership Targets

National Federation Membership Criteria can be divided in 3 Categories:

  • Organisational (Main/Others)
  • National Representation/Universality
  • Sporting

Organisational Criteria (Main):

  • Federation is recognized by its Sports Ministry (/ Government) as the national governing body for MMA
  • OR Federation is recognised by its National Olympic Committee as the national governing body for MMA
  • OR Federation is the sole national governing body for MMA

Organisational Criteria (Others):

  • Not-for-Profit
  • Democratic
  • Board and committee structure
  • Anti-Doping: Compliance of regulations with the World Anti-Doping Code
  • Gender Representation: Organisational Chart and importance of women representation in elected Body
  • History: General Assemblies held
  • Accounting: Audited Financial Statement (Income/Expenses report)
  • Strategic Plan: Mid-term/Long term

National Representation/Universality:

  • National membership numbers (clubs/ participants)
  • National membership reach (regions/ geographic spread)
  • Participation in international MMA championships


  • Hosting of National Competitions: Fairness/ Attractiveness/ Non-Discrimination, Fair Play, Solidarity
  • Sports Achievements: Athletes/ Coaches/ Anti-Doping/Medical/ Administration/ Communication & Marketing
  • Education and progression
  • Community



WMMAA Athletes Invited to IMMAF European Championships

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown has extended a historic invitation to World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) athletes to compete in two upcoming IMMAF European Championship tournaments in Romania, from 17 to 23 June:

2018 IMMAF Senior European Championships
(18s+, European nationals only)

2018 IMMAF Junior European Open Championships
(18s – 20s; U21s, all nationalities)

The President’s invitation states:


WMMAA participants will compete under the same national flag and as part of existing IMMAF  teams from their country in super teams. So for example, WMMAA participants from France are looking to compete for France alongside CFMMA participants. New countries may also have the opportunity to showcase on the IMMAF platform where no current IMMAF member exists.

The entry deadline for the tournament has been extended to allow WMMAA members the opportunity to take up remaining spaces in the brackets and on the national team. There remains a limit of two participants per weight class per country, so if a national team already has two lightweights competing, then there will be no room for a further WMMAA lightweight of that nation

The joint ranking points will be attributed by nation in the IMMAF World Amateur MMA Team Rankings, and WMMAA athletes will show for the first time in the individual rankings.

For WMMAA members who express interest in entering the European Championships, IMMAF and WMMAA will facilitate this process. IMMAF national federations do not need to do anything unless contacted by IMMAF.

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