Above: Sweden’s 2016 IMMAF world Champions, Cornelia Holm (left) and Gabriella Ringblom (right).
By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
Leading amateur mixed martial artists Cornelia Holm and Gabriella Ringblom are both now set for their anticipated professional MMA debuts.
Over the past 4 years they have represented Sweden’s national amateur team on the international IMMAF platform, travelling the world to earn multiple titles. In addition, each has enjoyed a stint as the world’s highest ranked amateur competitor in the IMMAF pound-for-pound rankings.
As a bantamweight, Holm remained undefeated in her amateur career. The early days served up a series of difficult bouts as a featherweight competitor, but Holm got into her stride at the 2015 European Open where she came away with the silver medal. From there on she conditioned herself to join the bantamweight ranks and never looked back.
Holm has since remained undefeated with a dominant streak of 9 victories at 135lbs. She became known for her fearless approach and ability to score takedowns at will. ‘Conny Future’ established herself as a seemingly untouchable champion winning the European Open in Prague 2016 and Sofia 2017, in addition to being crowned 2016 IMMAF bantamweight world champion in Las Vegas.
Following this year’s European Open triumph that saw her reach the pinnacle of the pound-for-pound rankings, Holm informed IMMAF.org of her intention to turn pro before confirming a link up with prolific athlete representatives, Intensiti Fighter Management.
Last week it was confirmed that Holm’s professional debut was set for October 14 in Wales, UK, under the banner of leading European MMA promotion, Cage Warriors. She takes on Portugal’s Diana Felipe in a 125lb flyweight contest.
Having represented the Swedish national team since 2014, Gabriella Ringblom also broke through alongside Holm at the 2015 European Open. Ringblom showcased the delightful combination of boxing finesse and takedown defense to reach the bantamweight finals, but a decision loss forced her to settle for silver. Ringblom went on to excel as a flyweight and even switched up her approach to win the 2016 IMMAF World Championship with a predominantly wrestling based offence, closing out the tournament rounds with takedowns and unshakable top control.
Ringblom’s success saw her make history as the first woman to become queen of the pound-for-pound rankings.
The European Open was the one title to elude Ringblom, she once again reached the final and earned silver in 2016 as Hungarian newcomer Alexandra Kovacs took the division by storm. Nevertheless, she capped off 2016 as both the IMMAF World and Africa Open champion before closing out her amateur career in 2017 by winning the gold medal at the Asian Open Championships in Singapore.
Ringblom will make her pro debut on home soil having signed with Sweden’s top organisation, Superior Challenge, who this year promoted the debut of Rostem Akman, the two-time IMMAF European Open champion. On December 2 Ringblom faces off against 1-1 pro veteran and fellow Swede, Malin Hermansson.
Sweden remains as the world’s top ranked national amateur team and will be represented by a squad of 17 athletes at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships, including reigning heavyweight king Irman Smajic and several continental medalists who have established themselves as top contenders for gold in Bahrain. For more team information and updates visit MyNextMatch.com.
Taking place at Khalifa Sports City Arena from 12 to 19 November, as part of Brave International Combat Week, the 2017 World Championships are anticipated to be the biggest event in the history of amateur MMA under IMMAF with more participants than ever before representing nations from all continents. 2017 marks the first year of the IMMAF Worlds taking place outside of Las Vegas, USA.