Ahead of the prestigious International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) World Championships 2021 which commences from 24th January in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the MMA India Team, which is set to participate in the tournament, met with His Excellency Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to the UAE, at the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi.
The cordial event, which took place on 22nd January, was also graced by the presence of IMMAF president Sir Kerrith Brown, as well as the federation’s Asia Director, Wissam abi Nader. The MMA India team, which comprises fifteen top athletes from the country, was headed by MMA India president Sharif Bapu, who presented a memento to the Indian Ambassador.
The fifteen Indian MMA fighters earned their place in the team through competing in several Nationals tournaments in the country that took place in Lucknow and Indore last year. Before touching down in Dubai, the Indian contingent underwent training in two groups- one under Coaches Shaik Khalid and Vikram Nagaraj in Hyderabad and the other in Thailand.
The Indian team features former IMMAF Junior World Champion Mahboob Khan, competing in the Men’s Flyweight division, as well as Vridhi Kumari and Muskan Ratre, competing in the Women’s Atomweight and Women’s Flyweight divisions respectively. They had secured first places at the MMA India Nationals held in Lucknow last year in their respective weight classes.
Aside from the athletes, the Indian Team will also comprise MMA India president Sharif Bapu, Vice President Kevin Alfred David, MMA India Federation General Secretary Prasad Gaitonde, MMA India Federation VP Vikash Sharma. Sharif Bapu, who was a referee for the Bahrain MMA Federation in Bahrain, will be joined with MMA India’s Nitin Singh, who also has international officiating experience.
MMA India Technical Director Ajit Sigamani and Shaik Khalid will operate as the coaches, along with Dr. Divya Nitin Singh and Suresh Franklin as the two physios and Varsha Raju Easwaran as Dietitian.
Check out the full list of MMA India Team fighters competing at the 2021 IMMAF World Championships below:
- Vridhi Kumari – Women’s F: Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs)
- Shabarish Ayyanar – Men’s M: Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
- Ishan Kumar – Men’s M: Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
- Mahboob Khan Mohammed – Men’s M: Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
- Vijay Venkatesan – Men’s M: Jr Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
- Muskan Ratre – Women’s F: Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
- Ganesh Raj Srinivasan – Men’s M: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
- Lenin Prakash – Men’s M: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
- Mayur Chandra Prasad – Men’s M: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
- Syed Abdul Nazzeur Ibrahim – Men’s M: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
- Priyanshu Sharma – Men’s M: Jr Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
- Anurag Singh – Men’s M: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
- Ramston Edwin Rodrigues – Men’s M: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
- Priyanjan Shahani – Men’s M: Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
- Mohit Aggarwal – Men’s M: Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)
Returning gracefully after a halt in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2021 World Championships, will commence from 24th January and will take place until 29th January at the Jiu Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City, which is close to Yas Island, more famous to the MMA Fans as the UFC Fight Island. The tournament will be hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Federation, with support from the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and partnership with Palms Sports. The event was originally set to take place in Kazakhstan but the pandemic situation had pushed the fight dates back to January this year.
A total of 467 mixed martial artists across 39 countries made the cut to the championships before the deadline of 23rd December. Countries that will be represented at the IMMAF World Championships are – Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, India, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Nepal, Poland, Polynesia, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tajikistan, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, and the USA.
The tournament will feature sixteen male and female weight classes in both Junior and Senior divisions, locking antlers to clinch gold, silver, and bronze medals. Fights will take place across four cages.