By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
In the men’s welterweight division of the 2017 IMMAF World Championships, Benjamin Bennett won the gold medal for the United States. In June of this year, he completed a successful pro debut in Belfast where his domination resulted in a doctor stoppage under the banner of Brave 13.
With multiple pro contract offers following his IMMAF World Championships triumph, ‘Mr Alaska’ joined the fast rising Bahrain based organisation to kickstart his professional career.
Qualifying via the UMMAF (USA MMA Federation) nationals, Bennett first competed on the amateur MMA international stage at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas. There, he battled his way to the quarter-finals before losing a split-decision result to Canadian Alex Martinez, the eventual silver medalist.
Bennett earned the UMMAF national title in 2017 to book his ticket to Bahrain, the host nation of IMMAF’s 2017 World Championships. The U.S. standout capped off his lengthy amateur career by clinching the world amateur title with five victories from 13-18 November in the city of Manama.
Now beginning his ascent of the professional ladder, Bennett paid a reverential compliment to his former amateur rivals. The 24-year-old expressed his opinion that opponents for next year will likely not be as competitive as those he faced at the top flight amateur level, until he further ascends the pro ranks . View the full interview via MMA Connect TV below.
Bennett faced a who’s who of standouts in each year of his amateur stint, including the likes of Martinez, and among his team USA counterparts, former world champions Brendan Allen and Will Starks, plus the up and coming Darian Weeks. Against European opposition, he has bested Sweden’s 2017 European silver medalist, Oskar Billar, plus current leading welterweights Issa Isakov of Belgium and France’s Axel Sola.
Since Bennett edged decision victories over the duo of Isakov and Sola, the latter being a split-decision in the 2017 World Championships final, the European front runners continued to take the division by storm, each man blazing a path to the 2018 European finals in Bucharest where Sola earned gold via a unanimous decision, competing in arguably the most competitive IMMAF division.
The standard of athletes competing on the IMMAF platform continues to rise with each passing year. The historic 2018 IMMAF-WMMAA Unified World Championships sees the World’s premier amateur MMA competition return to Bahrain as the biggest installment to date plays out from 11-18 November, also set to feature Junior World Championships for the first time.