Those in attendance at the 2023 GAMMA Oceania Championships which ended on Sunday in Auckland, New Zealand, were treated to a great weekend of MMA action which included the traditional GAMMA Championship Categories (MMA and Striking MMA) as well as additional youth and novice contests staged by the local organiers.

With the southern hemisphere winter sun shining outside the Due Drop Event Centre, the teams arrived on Day 1 to a celebration of dance and music from the locals, before a traditional haka was performed in anticipation of the challenge that would lay ahead in the ring.

Great support from the local new zealand community

After a highly competitive first day of qualifying bouts, the matchups were set for the 16 medal bouts which took place on Day 2. Although the hosts topped the medals table at the end of the event by winning eight golds ahead of Australia’s five and Samoa’s three, the spoils were shared for the performances of the weekend between Moses Deng from Australia and Mackensie Vellenoweth, with both athletes securing double MMA and Striking MMA titles in their respective weight categories.

Deng won his first medal in the 61.2kg category when he beat fellow countrymen Ryan Jankowski before returning to the ring later in the day for his Striking MMA final against local man Waelin Kerekere who had to settle for the silver medal on this occasion.

For Vellenoweth, she was matched against the 2019 GAMMA World Champion Courtney Martin from Australia who was stepping up a weight category to face the kiwi woman in the 65.8kg MMA category. She secured victory before going on to beat another Australian Rebecca Mauger in the striking MMA category.

Team Samoa with Mackensie Vellenoweth (centre in white)

It wasn’t only the big countries securing medals, the gold medals for Samoa came from Mac Papalii in the 120.2kg MMA category (defeating teammate Vincent Pio), Elizabeth Faumuina in the +72.6kg MMA category (defeating Renata Kingi from New Zealand) and Anthony Nansen in the +120.2kg Striking MMA category (defeating Billy Pohahau from Tonga). The Tongan team also returned home with two silver medals courtesy of Pohahau and Waitangi Vimahi.

With the event taking place in a great spirit and such warm hospitality which is synonymous of the New Zealand culture, it was a great experience for all who took part and a wonderful platform for the future development of MMA in Oceania.

For the full results 2023 GAMMA Oceania Championships information, click here. A highlight video of the event will be released soon, stay tuned!