After a highly entertaining start to the GAMMA European Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia yesterday, it was the first opportunity for the women to stake their claim for European glory.
2021 GAMMA World Champion Veronika Smolkova from Slovakia got things under way with an early TKO victory over Carmen Lopez from Spain in the 61.2 kg Female MMA division. Smolkova will return tomorrow to face the Czech Republic’s Natalie Trikalova as she attempts to add the European title to her list of accolades. It will be a busy day for the Slovak as she will also attempt to win gold in the Striking MMA category when she will again face Lopez who will be hoping for a different result this time around.
The heavyweight men were the next to enter the ring after the middleweight women this morning. Despite support from the local crowd, Giorgi Kotorashvili was unable to stop the Polish 120.2kg World Champion Iwo Baraniewski from securing his place in the final against Latvian Arturs Skabarnieks who defeated David Zavoda in their semifinal bout.
The semifinals were happening in quick succession as athletes were trying to preserve as much energy as they could for tomorrow’s finals, with only four matches in the morning session going the distance. They included the unanimous decision victory for defending champion Petr Striz in the 65.8kg category and the split decision victory for local woman Elene Loladze over Italian Roberta Zocco in the 56.7kg category.
The second session of the day began with Ukrainian Anatoli Zhurakivskyi returning to the ring for the third time in 24 hours and qualifying for the final in the 70.3kg category by beating Adam Krol from the Czech Republic. He will face Latvian Makhmud Sayfullaev for the title tomorrow. His opportunity for a shot at a double title was prevented by Giorgi Aptsiauri who managed to defeat the Ukrainian man in the Striking MMA category and set up a final with his countryman Nika Jakonia.
The possibility of a double title for defending champion Kyrylo Kolomiets is still alive after he had a successful afternoon. He first defeated Aslan Bagaev before returning to the ring five bouts later to beat Spaniard Klim Gusyev in the Striking MMA category, securing his place in both finals. Gusyev will have another chance to beat Kolomiets as they will face off in the final of the 77.1kg category.
With only two of tomorrow’s finals being contested by athletes from the same country, Georgia and Ukraine, there are 12 nations from the 14 participating that will have the possibility to win gold medals. For the local fans there will be plenty to shout about with ten athletes ready to battle for gold. The hosts are already assured of at least one gold medal in the all-Georgian 70.3kg Striking MMA final.
It is set to be a fantastic day of competition with the 23 final bouts scheduled to begin at 11:00 local time (09:00 CET) tomorrow, 28 September. All the bouts are being streamed live on GAMMA’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
For all the results from Day 2, the schedule for Day 3, and more on the European Championships, click here.