For three Unanderra-based MMA fighters next month's GAMMA Oceanic Championships are set to be a very big deal as they prepare to represent Australia in the largest competition in the continent for the sport.
It's set to be a massive June for three Mitch Holden, his partner Emilee Delalibra and Rebecca Mauger from Oni Fight Team in Unanderra with the trio all selected to fight for the green and gold in New Zealand.
The Oceanic Championships are run by GAMMA (Global Association for Mixed Martial Arts), who pride itself on it's long-term ambition of establishing MMA as an Olympic sport, giving all amateur athletes the platform and opportunity to show their potential and make their dream of competing on the biggest stage come to life.
Holden - who established Oni Fight Team with Delalibra - said preparation for the tournament was a little different than usual, but he was proud and chomping at the bit to be representing the green and gold on the international stage.
"It's a bit different obviously not just preparing for one fight on its own [as] it's a tournament," he said.
"We're not really sure how many fights we're going to have over there. It's been a different experience but it's pretty exciting.
"For me this time [preparation] has been a little bit different. I'm focusing on my strength and conditioning. I've just had some previous injuries in the past so I've been focusing more on making sure my body is right, instead of jumping straight into the cage as in the past I haven't looked after my body correctly but this time we thought we should do it properly."
The tournament will mark the first time Holden has represented Australia. He added that this was something that filled him with great pride.
"They sent out emails saying there was 300 competitors for this so I it's the biggest MMA event in the southern hemisphere," Holden said.
Speaking about the event in New Zealand GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt said "we are very pleased that our member in New Zealand and GAMMA Oceania have been working so well together and are able to host this event.
"Providing competitive opportunities for athletes remains our priority and we are looking forward to seeing more athletes from the region attend our World Championships after experiencing the Oceania Championships."
The Oceania Championships will take place from June 9-11 at the Due Drop Events Centre.
Competitors are expected to participate from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.
In a further milestone, this will be the first event organised by GAMMA in Oceania.
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