The MMA Super Cup, a new team-based competition featuring the top nations in amateur MMA, had its inaugural tournament draw on Monday as the competition edged closer to its first-ever event.
The tournament, a joint venture between the governing body of amateur MMA, IMMAF, and Bahrain-based MMA organization Brave CF, features eight teams that will face off in a series of elimination rounds to crown the top national team in amateur MMA, with the winning national federation winning $100,000.
The first tie of the first round sees the Russian MMA Union (RMMAU) face off against the Republic of Ireland in a matchup that carries plenty of previous rivalry between the nations from past MMA skirmishes.
RMMAU dominated IMMAF’s youth divisions during the recent world championships in Abu Dhabi, and finished the championships at the top of the overall medal table, with a staggering 38 of their 49 athletes at the championships winning medals, including 18 golds.
Despite taking a team less than half the size of RMMAU’s lineup to Abu Dhabi, Ireland also performed strongly, claiming four medals, and celebrated world championship success when Nadine Abbott Bissett claimed gold in the women’s atomweight division.
The winners of that matchup will face the victors from Match 2, as Ukraine take on the Arab Champions team.
The opposite side of the bracket will see an in-form Kazakhstan team take on the Balkan Champions team. Kazakhstan had an outstanding week in Abu Dhabi, winning a total of 23 medals, including four golds.
The winners of that tie will take on the winners of the final matchup of the first round, with tournament’s second seeds, Bahrain, set to face off against a Tajikistan team that finished fourth in the medal table at the world championships.
MMA Super Cup: First round matchups and brackets
Match 1: RMMAU vs. Ireland
Match 2: Ukraine vs. Arab Champions
Winners of Match 1 and Match 2 will face off in Semi-Final 1
Match 3: Kazakhstan vs. Balkan Champions
Match 4: Bahrain vs. Tajikistan
Winners of Match 3 and Match 4 will face off in Semi-Final 2