Day 4 of the 2017 IMMAF World Championships saw mixed results for Team USA as 2 athletes in the semi-finals lost their bouts and 2 moving on to the championship round.
The session began with former UMMAF National Champion and 2016 IMMAF World Silver Medalist David Evans squaring off against Delyan Georgiev from Bulgaria. Georgiev controlled most of the fight, being able to take Evans to the ground and impose his will. Evans looked tired in the second and third rounds unable to escape the various mounts of Georgiev after being taken down and often closing his guard position. Georgiev won a three round unanimous decision and advances to the finals. Of note, the 3rd and fourth place fighters in the tournament receive a bronze medal, placing Evans on the medal podium as a Bronze Medalist.
Next in the cage was 125 lb UMMAF National Champion Sean Stebbins taking on Yernaz Mussabek of Kazakstan. Stebbins, as his been his strategy all tournament, took Mussabek down to the canvas hoping to impose his will. Once there however, Mussabek locked in an arm triangle choke submission and held it for most of the round even as Stebbins attempted to lift him in the air. The second round went to Stebbins as he was able to land some significant strikes while controlling the action. The third round saw much of the same as the first with Stebbins able to take down Mussabek but the Kazakstani fighter was once again able to lock in several submission attempts from the bottom, preventing Stebbins from being able to land any strikes or submission attempts of his own. Mussabek, the 2017 IMMAF Asian Open Champion, won the bout via 3 round split decision. Sean Stebbins will stand on the medal podium with Bronze.
In the 155 lb weight division, US National Champion Quitin Thomas won another 3 round unanimous decision by defeating Ermal Hadribeaj of Albania. The durable Thomas took Hadribeaj down at will and stayed in the mounted position for much of the fight until late in the third round when Hadribeaj escaped and began throwing bombs at Thomas. Thomas obliged and returned fire of his own while moving forward and controlling the cage. Thomas won the fight in a 3 round unanimous decision and advances to the 2017 IMMAF World Championship Finals against Vitali Andruhovich of Bulgaria in what is expected to be a top finals matchup.
UMMAF National Champion and IMMAF veteran, 170 lb Benjamin Bennett won his semi-final match against Isakov Issa of Belgium. After a fairly even round round 1, Bennett stepped on the gas in rounds 2 and 3, pushing the action and showing off his trademark striking before going to the canvas and grappling. Bennett won the contest via 3 round unanimous decision and will now face Sola Axel of France in the 2017 IMMAF World Championship Finals.
All of the finalists get a day of rest on Friday and will no doubt take in some of the sights and amenities that the Kingdom of Bahrain has to offer. Action will resume on Saturday. Details below.
You can view all of the fights as they happen by downloading the Bahrain TV app onto your mobile device. The action starts at 7 a.m EST , 4 a.m PST, 5 a.m Phoenix Time on Saturday morning, 11/18/17.
The Bahrain TV (Ministry of Information and Affairs) app is downloadable from iTunes and Google Play. You can also follow https://www.mynextmatch.com/tournament/44/details/fixture for live results, as well as our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/USAMMAKIF/?ref=hl.
Written by Ryan Brueggeman