Day 3 of the 2017 IMMAF World Championships saw 2 Team USA athletes eliminated from competition while 4 advanced to the semi-finals.

Team USA’s first fight saw Fotini Kandris getting her first action in the 135 lb Female Division.  The contest was extremely competitive with Kandris and Chamia Chabbi of Finland content to stay on their feet for the majority of the fight, exchanging vicious strikes.  The deciding factor was the reach advantage Chabbi had over Kandris, keeping her on the outside and unable to penetrate.  Kandris lost to Chabbi in a 3 round unanimous decision.

The next fight saw the durable 125 lb UMMAF National Champion Sean Stebbins taking on Giacomo Santora of Italy.  Stebbins showed intense grappling and a willingness to throw strikes with Santora, eventually taking control of the contest for the duration.  Stebbins won the fight via a 3 round unanimous decision.  He will now face Yernaz Mussabek of Kazakstan in the semi-finals.

Former UMMAF National Champion and 2016 IMMAF World Silver Medalist David Evans was set to fight against Bekzat Zhassiya of Kazakstan today until a protest over Zhassiya’s win was filed by the UKMMAF (United Kingdom MMA Federation) alleging that Zhassiya had tapped out during his match against Ashley Williams of Great Britain.  After official video review it was determined that Zhassiya did indeed tap out which was not seen by the referee.  The protest was successful and the decision overturned, advancing Ashley Williams into the quarter finals against Evans.  Today however during the daily pre-competition medical checks, it was decided that Williams was not fit to continue in the competition.  That result advances Evans into the semi-finals against Delyan Georgiev from Bulgaria. The fact that Williams was prevented from further competition is a testament to the strict medical guidelines adhered to the IMMAF to ensure safety is the number one priority in IMMAF competition.  It’s a tough break for Williams and Team UKMMAF of Great Britain but in the interest of the fighters health it was the correct decision.

In the 155 lb weight division, US National Champion Quitin Thomas won another 3 round, dominating unanimous decision over a game John Nguyen of Canada and demonstrated that he has the gas tank to win this competition after all 3 of his fights thus far have gone the distance.  Thomas’s conditioning and well rounded fight game should serve him well tomorrow as he faces off against Ermal Hadribeaj of Albania.

UMMAF National Champion and IMMAF veteran, 170 lb Benjamin Bennett faced off against Oskar Biller of Sweden.  The first round was dicey for Bennett as Biller landed a few good shots before showing off his Judo skills and controlling the cage.  Bennett would recover in the second and third rounds using a seatbelt lock to control Biller against the cage and using the hammer fist to open up a cut on Billers head.  Bennett would go on to win a 3 round unanimous decision and now advances to the semi-finals against Isakov Issa of Belgium.

The last fight of the day ended with 185 lb division, UMMAF National Champion Darian Weeks taking on Joseph Luciano from Australia.  The contest was close one with Luciano taking the first round by controlling the action soundly.  During the break USA Coach Robert Hulett could be seen talking to Weeks with a sense of urgency.  The second round saw Weeks changing the game plan and taking Luciano to the canvas and controlling the action with hard knees to the body and legs of Luciano as well as an amazing display of grappling by Weeks.  The third round was closely contested by both athletes with Weeks continuing to pound kicks and knees to the body until he took Luciano to the canvas again, but was reversed and mounted.  Luciano remained on top for the remainder of the round and won the fight via 3 round unanimous decision.

You can view all of the fights as they happen by downloading the Bahrain TV app onto your mobile device. The action starts at 6 a.m EST , 3 a.m PST, 4 a.m Phoenix on Thursday morning, 11/16/17.
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Written by Ryan Brueggeman