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By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
With over 15 athletes selected to represent the nation, the UK is intent on dispatching one of its most extensive squads to date for the 2017 IMMAF World Championships in Manama, Bahrain.
The UK team has regularly featured a prominent Welsh contingent with the likes of 2015 world champion Josh Ellis, Jack Shore winning gold at the 2015 European Open Championships, and most recently, Ben Robson taking silver at this year’s inaugural Asian Open Championships in Singapore.
20-year-old Welshman Scott Pedersen is among the new faces to have been selected by the UKMMAF national team. Entering as an unseeded debutant, he will be among the most exciting new challengers heading into the Men’s Lightweight bracket with a significant domestic background in both amateur MMA and as an IKF amateur kickboxing champion.
Having relocated to Swansea in order to commit to full time training as an amateur, Pedersen is a product of the renowned Chris Rees Academy, also home to 14-0 UFC contender Brett Johns.
Per Tapology.com Pedersen holds a 10-3 amateur record and notably remained undefeated throughout 2016 with a 6-0 streak of victories. Pedersen most recently solidified his status as one of the UK’s top amateur mixed martial artists in capturing the Cage Warriors North West championship with a decision victory over Team UK alumni and 2016 World Championships veteran Beau Gavin.
Pedersen’s first taste of international competition fell through as earlier this month he was scheduled to face Sweden’s Tobias Harila – the world’s number 2 ranked lightweight, 2017 IMMAF Asian Open gold medalist and European Open silver medalist.
However, at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships, the pair could potentially be facing off in the opening round of the 155lb division, if not later in the tournament. In the absence of Bulgaria’s world no.1 Ferdun Osmanov, Harila will enter the highly competitive world championships lightweight division as the top seed.
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.