A new registration system for the IMMAF World Championships will begin on Monday ©IMMAF

The top eight ranked national teams have been invited to register athletes for the 2021 International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

Priority registration for the event in the United Arab Emirates capital is due to open on Monday (November 28).

It will be the first World Championships in two years after COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 calendar, with action due to take place at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in Zayed Sports City.

This is close to Yas Island - which became known as Fight Island when hosting Ultimate Fighting Championship contests during the pandemic.

IMMAF said it was introducing a "more phased registration process" to ensure "equitable, international representation".

The top eight ranked countries - currently Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bahrain, United States, Ireland, Tajikistan and Bulgaria, will be able to enter an athlete in each weight division before December 6.

From December 7, all countries outside of the top eight will be able to do the same in categories which have spaces, up until December 14.

Two wildcard places in each division will be allocated by the IMMAF on December 15, before the top eight nations are given the chance to select second competitors if places are available on December 17 and 18.

Teams outside the top eight will have the chance to pick second athletes on a first come, first served basis from December 19, again if slots are open.

Registration will close on December 23.

All registered athletes must be medically cleared and vetted regarding their professional/amateur eligibility by IMMAF to confirm their place. 

Competitor entry is finalised following pre-bout weigh-ins and medical examinations on-site, prior to the tournament draw.

"IMMAF's World Championships typically allows priority registration for the top 32 ranked nations, there being 32 spaces in the tournament brackets," said IMMAF President Kerrith Brown. 

"This is to set elite performance as the bar for entry to our premier event. 

"However, with the pandemic shutting down competition in 2019 and 2020, there are continents that have not seen competitive opportunities in two years, and those for whom travel has remained restricted. 

"The registration system in place this year aims to both acknowledge the achievements of the nations that excelled in Europe in 2021, whilst not excluding burgeoning talent from other regions, to ensure that the event is a true and representative World Championships."

IMMAF continental tournaments are now closed to athletes from other continents, so the World Championships will be IMMAF's only global event.

The Championships had been due to take place in Kazakhstan between November 27 and December 4, before being cancelled due to COVID-19.

Abu Dhabi stepped in with new dates of January 24 to 29 next year, but the event will keep its 2021 title.

It will be hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Federation, with backing from the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and in partnership with Palms Sports.