Duncan Doubles Down; Top UK Middleweight Targets IMMAF-WMMAA Worlds and Cage Warriors Grand Prix.

Photo via IMMAF

Gloucester’s Christian Duncan (10-3) is doubling down on a major 2018 title haul.

At age 23 ‘the top ranked amateur middleweight in the UK and Ireland’ is all in with his sights set on cleaning out the amateur ranks, both domestically and at the international level, seeking triumph at the 2018 IMMAF-WMMAA Unified World Championships, taking place from 11-18 November, before capping off the year with victory in the Cage Warriors Grand Prix final in December.

With just a single defeat in his last ten bouts, Duncan announced himself on the international stage in 2017, selected by the UK MMA Federation to compete at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships where he earned a bronze medal in the 185lb bracket.

Duncan significantly bolstered his resume at the 2017 Worlds with a streak of three victories in as many days, including a rare omaplata submission against Kazakhstan’s Madi Dosmukhametov and a unanimous decision win in the quarter-finals to eliminate tournament favorite Dario Bellandi. Italy’s Bellandi is also set for this year’s World Championships after winning the IMMAF European Open title in June for a second year running.

Duncan’s tournament exit came in the form of a unanimous decision loss in the semi-finals, against Sweden’s Khaled Laallam who went on to claim the gold medal over Iceland’s Björn Lukas Haraldsson.

“I want to fight against the best in the world again,” Ducnan stated. “This will be the last chance for me to do so as an amateur before the professional journey. I’ll be able to test how much of an improvement a year can make, I know this competition will be the toughest.”

In his World Championships debut, the bronze medalist cemented his position among the top contenders and as one of the most entertaining new talents. At times Duncan puzzled his opponents with an unpredictable style, lulling his rivals before surprising with a risky yet unorthodox, athletic offence of spin kicks and strikes from awkward angles. Capable of setting an intimidating methodical pace or firing with explosive speed on the opening bell, round-by-round you can’t be sure what to expect.

Duncan’s comments ahead of this year’s Championships suggest that an experimental approach was taken in 2017, as he tackled the back-to-back format, a challenge in itself and unique in the sport of MMA. Throughout the week long competition, with a potential maximum of five bouts, the amateur athletes must consider smart weight cutting, recovery and damage limitation with medical clearance required for each contest.

“I learnt how to adjust to the tournament format,” he revealed, “learning to fight smarter with regards to energy and staying healthy for the whole week along with recovery. I expect to be better than last year, to reach the finals, but same as always, only time will tell.”

Duncan has generated winning momentum already with two submission victories this year. As a reigning champion of the domestic Cage Warriors Academy network, he is also scheduled for action on December 8 at Cage Warriors 100, as one half of the 185lb grand prix final.

The middleweight prospect joins the UK national team next month as a squad of 18 athletes bid for success across the Senior and Junior IMMAF-WMMAA Unified World Championships playing out concurrently.