The third instalment of the EFC Africa took place at the Coca Cola Dome this past weekend with unbelievable results in both the overall production of the event as well as all the fights.
With approximately 6000 spectators this event is now becoming more than just a MMA fight night, but a full show experience with plenty for all the MMA fans to enjoy. In this EFC instalment the stage was set for some furious battles and EFC capitalising on the grudge-value elements between each fight. We look into each of the 14 fights and take you through some of the best quality MMA on African soil…
Fight 1: JP Joubert (JHB) vs. Danie “Pitbull” Van Heerden (JHB) – (Heavyweight)
To start off the night two heavyweight fighters, JP Joubert and Danie “Pitbull” Van Heerden, opened the fights with a quick TKO finish. The two contenders, suffering losses in the EFC Africa 02, were on a mission to take the fight with a convincing win. Joubert managed to capitalise early in the fight when he and Van Heerden came out fists flying and were quickly up against the cage in a clinch that saw Joubert take Van Heerden to the ground with a Guillotine. Joubert then transitioned into an Armbar and although Van Heerden tried to pick Joubert up and slam him to loosen his hold, it had no substance and with the tightening Armbar doing some damage the referee was forced to stop the fight in Joubert’s favour due to a verbal tap out by Van Heerden.
Fight 2: Luis Mendes (JHB) vs. Sterling Shaw (CPT) – (Lightweight)
The second fight of the night saw these two fighters out to prove a point with Luis Mendes coming from two previous EFC losses and Sterling Shaw debuting to make his mark as an EFC contender in the Lightweight division. After a first round that was a mix of trivial clinches, punches and some kicking and then ground work that came off somewhat equally from both sides, the missed opportunities by Mendes in the second round, like a Rear Naked Choke on Shaw, allowed Shaw to return the favour but capitalise on the ground and land Mendes into a Rear Naked Choke which ended the fight in Shaw’s favour.
Fight 3: Juan Lubbe (JHB) vs. Paul “Terror” Terblanche (CPT) – (Middleweight)
With this fight Juan Lubbe took on Paul Terblanche in the Middleweight division where, coming from a massive knockout loss in the EFC 03 (against Garreth McLellan), Lubbe was looking to redeem himself in his fight against the muscle-bound Terblanche. Terblanche came out looking like a man possessed and eager to get going (if not somewhat amusing for the crowd) and it was a sure sign of his excitement to take on Lubbe in his debut fight. Lubbe just seemed to miss his opportunity to pull the trigger and it was Terblanche who dominated the fight forcing Lubbe to the ground quickly where he laid it in thick and hard to win by way of TKO when the referee rescued Lubbe from another brutal attack.
Fight 4: Remo “The Destroyer” Ralph (East London) vs. Ozzy “Daddy” De Paiva (JHB) – (Weltereight)
Remo Ralph and Ozzy De Paiva put on one of the best fights of the night with a vicious spectacle between these two brave fighters. The first round saw these two warriors push each other to the limits with some great stand up exchanges between them. Ralph kept De Paiva at bay with his reach advantage, landing accurate jabs to the head, and then De Paiva seemed to dominate Ralph on the ground almost getting Ralph into trouble with some great elbows landed.
Into the second round more blows were exchanged until it went to the canvas again and the fight went back and forth where De Paiva let a Triangle slip its opportunity letting Ralph off the hook. By round three Ralph was dominating the exchanges of blows with De Paiva, visibly exhausted, dropping his hands and taking serious punishment from Ralph’s accurate punches. The referee stopped the fight in favour of Ralph, winning by way of TKO.
Unfortunately the assessment from the fight doctor and medical team was not good and De Paiva was admitted to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where he is in a critical, but stable condition. “We have been assured by our medical team that he is in one of the best trauma facilities in the country” said EFC Africa director Cairo Howarth. “The support from the fighter’s sponsors and community has been amazing, and a fund is being set up to raise money to assist with his medical and rehabilitation costs.” FLUX wishes Ozzy De Paiva a full and speedy recovery! (Ozzy’s Recovery Fund: ABSA Savings, “V. Amoreira”, Acc#9123329156, Eastgate Code: 632005)
Fight 5: Leon “Irion Lion” Mynhardt (PTA) vs. Chad Hepburn (CPT) – (Welterweight)
The welterweight fight between Leon Mynhardt and Chad Hepburn left the crowds wanting with the two fighters feeling each other out in the first minutes of the first round. Although a little slow in the beginning the fighters found their targets, landing some great kicks, but it was Hepburn who managed a takedown on Mynhardt and then left him surely doomed with a great Armbar that was split-seconds away from winning him the fight… but it wasn’t to be; the bell rang saving Mynhardt and before we could see the continuation of this fight into the second round it was called in favour of Mynhardt after Hepburn had damaged his ligaments in his ankle sometime during the fight and could not continue.
Fight 6: Dino “The Lion” Bagattin (JHB) vs. Manny “Loco” Da Silva (JHB) – (Welterweight)
From a less-than-pleasing end in the previous fight the crowd was treated to what EFC referred to as “the East versus the South” fight between Dino Bagattin and Manny Da Silva. This was a stand-up war that had the crowds going crazy with these two skilled and well-supported fighters getting straight into the action from the start of the first round. Although the fight went to ground a couple of times, Da Silva closed the distance between them, when standing, to fight a tighter fight on the inside, but it was Bagattin’s Muay Thai skills that were put to use when they went to ground again and he got Da Silva into a ground ‘n pound session where he landed some deadly elbows that left Da Silva with a bad cut to his forehead. After fighting to their feet again the referee called the fight in Bagattin’s favour, in a TKO decision, soon after assessing the cut to Da Silva’s head.
Fight 7: Barry “The X-Man” Duncan (PE) vs. Alex Cheboub (JHB) – (Welterweight)
One of the more technical fights of the night took place between Barry Duncan and Alex Cheboub, which saw Cheboub test the ground skills of Duncan to the max with both fighters getting themselves into what could have easily been fight-ending situations. Although both fighters escaped these previous fight-ending situations Duncan managed to pull it out of the bag with only seconds to spare when he caught Cheboub with an Armlock that he just could not escape; Duncan took a well-deserved submission win in this fight.
Fight 8: Lance Cerino (JHB) vs. Jacques Joubert (JHB) – (Light Heavyweight)
The fight between light heavyweights Lance Cerino and Jacques Joubert was also one of the quicker fights of the night with the two fighters looking to capitalise on each others’ weaknesses to win. Joubert, using his kickboxing background, made use of an open space, after Cerino came in for a takedown, landing a kick to the face of Cerino and then a flurry of elbows that left him confused and out on his feet. The referee then stopped the fight declaring Joubert the winner by way of TKO, making it a good night for the Joubert brothers.
Fight 9: Chris Bright (PE) vs. Ian “Chucky” Swart (DBN) – (Lightweight)
Again the EFC Africa crowd was treated to the technical skills of Chris Bright who took on an eager Ian Swart in a fight that was obviously going to be a test of which fighter would avoid the others’ skill-set to win. This was made very evident with Swart avoiding Bright’s early takedown attempts over and over again and then managing to land some great punches in the interim, but nothing that would deter Bright. Bright kept up his attempts to then finally take down Swart to the canvas, and although Swart initially managed a more dominating position where he laid in some good punches, Bright kept his cool, as he always seems to do, and he locked Swart into a Triangle that forced him to tap out soon after. Yet another convincing win for the veteran fighter, Chris Bright.
Fight 10: Russell Van Heerden (CPT) vs. Adam “The Prodigy” Speechly (JHB) – (Welterweight)
Although Russell Van Heerden has an impressive record (having, in the past, beaten Chris Bright) he was taking on a dominating figure in his weight division, in the form of Adam Speechly. The fight was a technical one with the battle being taken to the ground and back up again a few times. On the ground Van Heerden tried a number of attempts to lock Speechly’s legs up and take him with a Kneebar, but they did not find their mark. Speechly managed to keep his cool and got Van Heerden into a troubling session of ground ‘n pound which left Speechly leading in with a number of heavy elbows that ended the fight by way of TKO, late into the first round.
Fight 11: Garreth “Soldier Boy” McLellan (JHB) vs. Warren Allison (Bloemfontein) – (Middleweight)
Another firm EFC crowd pleaser and powerhouse Garreth McLellan took on a newbie to the EFC ring, Warren Allison. It was very clear from the pre-fight interview, introducing the fighters, that McLellan was out for a big night of domination and that he expected Allison to bring his A-game if he was to stand a chance. The win was another easy one for McLellan, who avoided an early takedown attempt by Allison, as he managed a ground ‘n pound session that rocked Allison to the brink of TKO. Although looking to continue his ground ‘n pound domination McLellan saw an easy Armbar present itself and won with that in the first minute of the first round. McLellan dedicated the fight to his close friend, Dylan Harris, who tragically passed away in an accident recently – making it evident that McLellan had a lot of rage to release on whomever was going to challenge him in his fight on the night.
Fight 12: Costa Ioannou (JHB) vs. Brendon Katz (JHB) – (Lightweight) – FLUX “Fight of the Night”!
Fight of the Night, if not the Fight of EFC History (to date) was an epic battle between two great fighters. The crowd was treated to a battle of immeasurable proportions when debut MMA fighter Costa Ioannou took on Brendon Katz in the Lightweight division. If you are lucky enough to see a fight like this internationally, let alone, in South Africa, you would be in for a treat and a guaranteed value for money event. From their entrances, pre-fight interviews and pre-fight hype, it was clear to see that there was a lot to prove in this marathon encounter. An undefeated Katz was eager to continue his winning streak against the more humble Ioannou.
From the start Ioannou came out with impressive stand up skills and clinches where he landed knees to the head of Katz that would leave most other fighters in another dimension, but Katz managed to continue looking for an opening to do his own damage. Both fighters were impressive in their stand up game, but it was Ioannou who looked to dominate there, leaving Katz with the decision to take it to the ground where he also found Ioannou to be more than capable to continue the fight. After the bell sounded, the crowd was euphoric and insanely eager to see the continuation into the second round.
As the second round started these two warriors went at it again with Ioannou laying in the accurate and deadly strikes time and time again with Katz coming back with little to answer with. Into the clinches that ensued Ioannou dominated Katz where he brought on a combination of heavy punches, knees and elbows which still, unbelievably, left Katz standing. In a controversial decision, after Ioannou managed to take down Katz and had him in a full-mount, raining down deadly punches which surely would have ended the fight, the referee stood the fighters up to continue on their feet.
By the time they went into the third round the two fighters were blood drenched and went at it again, where most other fighters would have called it a day, with some or other excuse. Exchanging massive punches, Ioannou lead the way with his accurate and perfectly timed attacks. Although Katz managed some good punches and low kicks, it was Ioannou who continued to dominate throughout the round and caught Katz in a Guillotine which was cut short by the final round bell.
The fight went to the judges who unanimously declared Costa Ioannou the winner. Katz, on Sunday, said “Congrats Costa, you whipped my ass man. Just for the record, I didn’t want my first post-fight meal to be humble pie, it tastes like crap. I think sometime down the line we’re gonna be looking at each other’s uniquely ‘pretty’ faces again, for the belt.” Ioannou replied by saying “Brendon you are one tough mother f***er! You showed the heart of a champion, man. Congratulations! Whatever has been said between us, and our supporters, was left in the cage and I will see you around very soon for a drink.”
Untouchably the best fight of the night and something we would say is the new benchmark of South Africa’s best MMA fight.
Fight 13: Jakes Els (JHB) vs. Bernardo “The Black Panther” Mikixi (CPT) – (Heavyweight)
The Heavyweight fight between Jakes Els and Bernardo Mikixi saw Mikixi steamroll the debut MMA fighter, and former professional boxer. Knowing very well that a win in this fight would allow for a Heavyweight Title Fight, Mikixi ended the fight by forcing Els to the cage side with his massive punches before slamming him to the canvas where he continued his onslaught from above. The fight was stopped by the referee giving Mikixi the win by TKO.
Norman “Chef” Wessels (JHB) then made his way to the centre of the cage during Mikixi’s post-fight interview to put his stamp on the Heavyweight Title Fight (EFC Africa 04 on the 7th August) by saying “If you want to beat me you’ll have to work my friend. We’re gonna get it on like Donkey Kong”. This fight will see the untested (in EFC) dominating figure of Mikixi take on one of the most skilled and technical fighters, Norman Wessels, in a showdown that we’re sure will be an epic battle and surely headlining the next EFC African event in August.
Fight 14: “King” Leo Gloss (JHB) vs. Wentzel “The Animal” Nel (Durban) – (Lightweight) – Title Fight!
Finally it was the much-anticipated fight for the Lightweight Title between “King” Leo Gloss and Wentzel “The Animal” Nel. The fight started off slowly with the two fighters measuring each other up and obviously cautious not to fall victim to the other’s dominating skills; Gloss having the quicker and more deadly hand strikes and Nel having the aggressive kicks and good ground ‘n pound reputation. The crowd was not too impressed by the slow cautious pace and as the bell was set to sound a mere couple seconds away, Gloss was out cold on the canvas. Nel had surprised even himself when he caught Gloss with a right hook that crumpled Gloss. Nel already had his hands in the air, celebrating, whilst he then also jumped on top of Gloss to land another, make-sure, hammer-fist to confirm his Title win. Congratulations to Wentzel Nel for his win and the first ever EFC Title fight!
All in all another great event by EFC Africa and as we’ve mentioned in the feature the stage is set for more battles in future EFC events and surely the Heavyweight Title fight that will have all the fans back and ready to go crazy.
Photos by Seagyn Davis