With 68 athletes, Ukraine will have the biggest team in Sofia ©Twitter/IMMAFed

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Youth MMA World Championships begin tomorrow in Sofia - the second edition of the tournament for athletes aged 12 to 17.

It will be the first IMMAF youth event to be streamed live, on IMMAF.tv, and will showcase the talent of the next generation from 24 countries.

"IMMAF provides the development platform for MMA’s next generation," said IMMAF President Kerrith Brown.

"Three-hundred-and-seventy 12 to 17-year-olds have registered to compete in IMMAF’s second Youth World Championships, with an increase in uptake since 2019 despite the obstacles posed by the pandemic.

"These youths represent a generation that has trained in MMA since day one and show a game-changing level of skill that sets new benchmark for the future of the sport."

The second edition of the Youth MMA World Championships was initially supposed to be held in Turkey but with coronavirus-related issues ongoing the country could not go ahead with the event.

It therefore moved to Bulgaria's capital, which is 2017 stage the IMMAF's senior European Championships.

As the competition is for under-18s, head strikes are disallowed.

The governing body is conscious to the dangers of combat sports to the physiological development of youth athletes, so implements this rule.

To celebrate the relaunch of the streaming platform, the IMMAF is offering a viewing package which includes three days' live streaming for all fields- f play.

Fighters from Albania, Armenia, Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States are all set to compete.