The new discipline of Striking MMA made its highly successful global debut today at the GAMMA Asian MMA Championship 2021 in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan.

Striking MMA, while allowing for take downs, prohibits ground and pound, and is therefore considered the perfect gateway for athletes looking to transition into traditional mixed martial arts (MMA) from purely striking styles such as boxing, kickboxing and muaythai.

Day 1 of the three-day Asian Championship featured 22 Striking MMA bouts and 20 MMA bouts in total. Team Kazakhstan led the way with an impressive 19 wins. India also put in a strong showing, racking up 10 victories, while hosts Kyrgyzstan notched 8.

Athlete in focus: Harpreet Kaur from India

Kazakhstan’s Seitenov Belgizhan emerged victorious against his bout with Turakulov Shokhzod of Uzbekistan

Kazakhstan’s Nurtaza Jumakhanov had arguably the day’s best results, making it into the quarterfinals of the -70,3 kg/-155 lbs Elite Men’s Striking MMA division with wins over Alberth Xavier (TLS) and Islomozhon Satimov (KGZ). Jumakhanov dominated the final bout of the day with an uniramous decision against Satimov.

“Athletes in both divisions put on quite a show for us today and it clearly demonstrates just how deep the talent pool is throughout Asia,” said GAMMA President Alex Engelhardt. “We were particularly impressed with Striking MMA, which has opened the door to so many more elite amateur athletes, many of whom proved today they have what it takes to take the next step on their MMA journeys. We’re very excited for them and the Striking MMA discipline.”

In total, elite amateur MMA athletes from nine Asian countries competed today in three rings at the Solemar Resort, site of the competition venue and Athlete’s Village on the shores of Issyk-Kul Lake.

Athletes from Pakistan (2), Palestine (2) and Uzbekistan (1) were also victorious on opening day.

The competition continues Friday with the second day of preliminary bouts, followed Saturday by the medal rounds. Be sure to watch all the action live on the GAMMA Facebook page, starting at 10 a.m. local time (UTC +6) on Friday.