Any MMA fan from South Africa will know that EFC Africa 08 had the best fight card this country has ever seen, to date. By now EFC Africa has established itself as the top MMA fight promoter and its fighters are becoming more recognized, better prepared and the fights more equally matched up and closely contended. For this instalment of EFC Africa the venue moved to Carnival City and the change was a welcomed one with an excellent setup and a brilliant atmosphere. FLUX Mag was at EFC Africa 08 and this is how we saw the fights go down…
Fight 1: Gina Ifuki vs. Armand de Bruyn (Middleweight Fight) – Fight Cancelled
Unfortunately this fight was cancelled due to Gina Ifuki not making weight for the fight.
Fight 2: Raymond Ahana vs. Sean Robinson (Light Heavyweight Fight) [Winner: Sean Robinson, unanimous decision by the judges]
Raymond Ahana came off a tough win outlasting Riaan Lombard at EFC Africa 07, whilst Sean Robinson, new to EFC Africa, comes off as a strong competitor and his debut was a welcome one to the Light Heavyweight division. The fight started with some solid kicks from Robinson and good punches by Ahana and quickly they went into a clinch where both were landing uppercuts and knees on the inside. They continued to scrap it out like this until the end of the round and into the second round they came out flying with a flurry of punches and back into a clinch with some great inside work by Ahana, also landing good punches when they broke from clinch. Ahana’s reach was winning him the stand-up battle and Robinson managed a takedown and got into full mount to lay in some massive ground ‘n pound. Ahana was saved by the bell. Into the third round they stood and exchanged blows and went into clinch against the cage where Robinson managed another takedown, got side control and eventually took Ahana’s back. Ahana escaped, but almost got caught in an arm bar as the round ended. The decision went to the judges who unanimously decided on Robinson as the victor.
Fight 3: Chett Meyer vs. Riaan Lombard (Light Heavyweight Fight) [Winner: Chett Meyer by TKO before the second round]
Chett Meyer last fought at EFC Africa 04 where he was now looking to put himself into title contention in the Light Heavyweight division. Riaan Lombard came from a disappointing loss at EFC Africa 07 (verbally submitting after gassing out in the second round), but both men were here to prove their worth and the crowd expected a good fight. The fight was a paced one at first until Meyer shot in for a takedown and left his neck exposed and got caught in a very tight, almost fight ending, guillotine. Meyer held out and struggled loose and the fight stayed on the ground where the two fought vigorously. Meyer managed to catch Lombard in his “Chettinator” (his own variation of a crucifix), but Lombard escaped and they wrestled back and forth. Meyer got in another “Chettinator” and landed some heavy elbows, grinding Lombard’s face, doing damage, and then Meyer shifted to a full mount and landed some ground ‘n pound to end the round. Medics looked at Lombard during the round break and Lombard said he could not see properly and it was decided to stop the fight. We suspect Lombard gassed again. Great win for Chett Meyer who controlled the fight on the ground.
Fight 4: Victor Anyaogu vs. Neil Diesel (Lightweight Fight) [Winner: Victor Anyaogu in the second round by verbal submission]
Victor Anyaogu’s last fight against Leo Gloss at EFC Africa 07 won it a “Fight of the Night” award, and even though he lost, it proved he was no pushover. His opponent, Neil Diesel, is one of South Africa’s most well-known MMA fighters making his EFC Africa debut. The two started slowly feeling each other out with Diesel landing some good kicks to push the pace. Anyaogu threw a kick that Diesel scuffed and took the fight to the ground where he almost sunk in an arm bar, but the fight slowed down and the ref stood them up. Diesel then started throwing big punches looking for a KO, some of which found their mark, and Anyaogu came back with some solid punches and solid kicks that found their mark too. Diesel started limping and it was evident a kick had done some serious damage to his knee. Diesel looked in agony and could barely walk to his corner as the round ended, but incredibly Diesel decided to continue and literally limped back into the second round. The crowd went mad. Even more amazing was that Diesel then dictated the pace with punches and Anyaogu then kept his distance circling Diesel and forcing the ref to give him a warning. As they continued Diesel landed some great punches, but Anyaogu kept attacking the injured knee of Diesel and eventually Diesel collapsed and verbally submitted. Huge heart from Diesel, but Anyaogu fought a smart fight and got the win.
Fight 5: Josh Muller vs. Francois Kabulu (Welterweight Fight) [Winner: Francois Kabulu at the end of the first round due to disqualification]
Josh Muller, a ground specialist, came from a great win at EFC Africa 07 and faced off against François Kabulu, also a great ground fighter, who won a tough fight at EFC Africa 07. The pace was very slow to start off and eventually Muller shot in for a takedown got side control, but Kabulu had his neck and a guillotine sunk in. Muller fought free and got into a full mount, but Kabulu escaped out the back, almost got caught in a triangle and then a heel hook, and then the fight went back to the ground again. The fight got standing and after some exchanges from clinch Muller managed a hip throw and got into a full mount to end the round. Muller looked exhausted and the second round saw Muller drop to the ground and draw in Kabulu where he tried for a triangle that just missed and saw Kabulu got into side guard. Kabulu landed some heavy elbows to the head of Muller to end the round off, but some controversy started when Muller claimed back of the head shots and medics sat with him to suss this out. The ref decided the shots were legal and called for seconds-out and Muller would not continue because of his claims (he looked concussed and completely gassed). Eventually the ref decided to disqualify Muller and the win was awarded to Kabulu.
Fight 6: Jean Luc Kazadi vs. Demarte Pena (Featherweight Fight) [Winner: Demarte Pena, majority decision by the judges]
Both Jean Luc Kazadi and Demarte Pena, incredibly, won their last fights at EFC Africa 07 with the same submission (a Rear Naked Choke) and both in the same time of 51 seconds into the first round – so it was hard to tell what would come of this fight. This was a slow paced fight with two strong wrestlers and Kazadi tried pushing the pace with strikes and Pena would simply slip and take Kazadi down. The two would fight for position continuously, changing advantage all the time, and the fight went the distance like this the whole way, leaving the decision in the hands of the judges who voted majority in favour of Pena, probably because of the constant takedowns.
Fight 7: Dallas Jakobi vs. Wade Henderson (Middleweight Fight) [Winner: Dallas Jakobi in the second round by TKO]
Dallas Jakobi’s last win at EFC Africa 06 against Gina Ifuki was a convincing one and his fight against Wade Henderson, who came from a slightly controversial loss at EFC Africa 07 against Jacques Joubert, was going to be a great test of skills and pride on both fighters behalves. They started at a high paced with Henderson pushing with some great hand work and in the tight exchanges seeing the two landing some hard punches and kicks. Eventually they tied in a clinch and went cage side where they both landed good knees, hard inside punches and some elbows. Jakobi pushed for a takedown and the fight went to ground, but Henderson sunk in a triangle that looked 90% there and then the bell rang, possibly saving Jakobi. The second round started just as hard as the first with great punches and kicks exchanged. They clinched up again and eventually Jakobi managed another cageside takedown to get the fight on the ground where he fought inside Henderson’s guard. Jokobi looked to stand up again and land some ground ‘n pound and as he came in for a punch Henderson caught him in another triangle. Jacobi fought hard to get out of it and took the back and then the side of Henderson, landing some punches on the way, and then forced a full mount that allowed him to put in some very heavy punches that rocked Henderson and forced the ref to stop the fight in favour of Jakobi.
Fight 8: Dino Bagattin vs. Juan Lubbe (Welterweight Fight) [Winner: Dino Bagattin in the first round by KO/ verbal submission]
Pegged as a great stand-up battle, this fight between Dino Bagattin and Juan Lubbe would be one of the biggest tests for both fighters. Bagattin’s win at EFC Africa 05 and Lubbe’s win at EFC Africa 06 had them both feeling confident coming into this fight. As the fight started Bagattin came out flying with some great punches and Lubbe with some hard kicks, and eventually both just stood and exchanged punch for punch. From there they went into clinch and both landed good knees and punches on the inside, but they fought free and again they exchanged some great punches. As they stood and let loose Bagattin shot into for a takedown and the fight went to ground. Bagattin fought inside Lubbe’s guard but decided to stand and fight, and as they both exchanged punches again Bagattin saw an opening and landed a flush left that dropped Lubbe and saw him jump right in to land some finishing punches, but Lubbe verbally submitted and looked out of it completely. A great battle that went back and forth, but a good win for Bagattin.
Fight 9: Alex Cheboub vs. Mark Jones (Lightweight Fight) [Winner: Alex Cheboud in first the round by KO]
Alex Cheboub has been beaming with confidence since his solid win against William Bentley at EFC Africa 06, and his opponent, Mark Jones, recognised as a top fighter in this division, came from a dying-seconds-loss at EFC Africa 04 against Brendon Katz. This was set to be great and the fight started with Cheboub coming out strong and throwing his wild punches and swinging kicks, some of which landed. Jones countered well and also landed some strikes and looked comfortable at this pace. Cheboub shot in for a takedown and Jones managed to reverse it on the ground and the two fought an insane fight there rolling back and forth for a dominant position. Cheboub chased the submissions and Jones defended incredibly well looking to ground ‘n pound Cheboud. Jones got into the guard of Cheboub and landed some hard punches, looking for that KO, and then he decided to stand and drop in some heavier punches from above and as he did Cheboub landed one insanely hard up-kick that knocked Jones out. The ref stopped the fight and Cheboub won another tough battle. Cheboud then said he wants a title shot now and only time will tell when this will happen…
Fight 10: Ruan Potts vs. Baygon Obutobe (Heavyweight Fight) [Winner: Ruan Potts in the first round by TKO]
Ruan Potts dominated Calven Robinson in the headline fight at EFC Africa 07 and sent a ripple through the division, and sent a clear message to current Heavyweight Champion Norman “Chef” Wessels. There is very little known about his opponent Baygon Obutobe, but winning this fight meant Potts would be facing Wessels at EFC Africa 09 to challenge for the title. The fight started with Potts kicking at Obutobe’s legs, but Obutobe managed to counter with an overhand right that landed a few times. The two fought it out like this until they got into a clinch and went cageside and tussled until Obutobe took Potts down and landed on top of him. Potts looked a bit subdued but started landing hard side shots and then rolled Obutobe over to get a great full mount. Potts started some heavy ground ‘n pound and eventually the ref stopped the fight as a result. As expected Potts said he wanted a title shot and Wessels, donning the Heavyweight Title belt over his shoulder, stepped into the ring and the two faced off and agreed to a fight in June for the title. We can’t wait for this one!
Fight 11: Adam Speechly vs. Nolan Swanepoel (Welterweight Title Fight) [Winner: Adam Speechly in the second round by guillotine submission]
One of the most anticipated rematches of EFC Africa and the first title fight in the Welterweight division, this fight was a huge one. Adam Speechly came from a loss at EFC Africa 06, but he had a mental edge over his win against Nolan Swanepoel at EFC Africa 04, which saw Swanepoel edging ahead in the fight but making a mistake that gave Speechly the win. These two great fighters started slow, cautious of each other, and looking for an opening. Eventually there were some small exchanges and they clinched up where it was very back and forth against the cage with some hard knees landed from both. Speechly saw an opening as Swanepoel went for a takedown and went for a standing guillotine but Swanepoel shook it off eventually and they went to ground where they fought hard in full guard. The fight got standing briefly and quickly they went back to ground with Speechly in side control of Swanepoel and then got his back to sink in a guillotine again, but the round ended. Into the second round Speechly came out striking and Swanepoel slipped a punch and went for the takedown, but Speechly sunk in his hand and caught Swanepoel’s neck again. They went to ground fast and Swanepoel attempted to flip over and escape but Speechly quickly reacted, kept the guillotine from a mounted position and tightened up until Swanepoel saw no way out and tapped. Another excellent fight and a good win in the end for the new Welterweight Champion, Adam Speechly!
Fight 12: Wentzel Nel vs. Costa Ioannou (Lightweight Title Fight) [Winner: Costa Ioannou in the first round by triangle submission]
Current Lightweight Champion Wentzel Nel had his hands full for this fight facing another dominating figure in this division, Costa Ioannou. Nel had travelled to the States in preparation for this fight and Ioannou had been prepped by his team at FightFit Militia for a serious battle. The fight got underway and the two fighters came out blazing. Massive punches were thrown by both, but Ioannou looked to be pushing the pace more aggressively. The fight went to the cageside where they went into a clinch and Ioannou dominated with knees and elbows and eventually forced the fight to the ground where he knew he could dominate even more. They wrestled back and forth and Ioannou kept looking for an opening and Nel kept looking to pace the fight elsewhere. Nel escaped well from some mounts, with the fight going a bit back and forth, but eventually Iounnou’s ground game and strategy found the gap he was looking for and he sunk in a very tight triangle. Nel was almost completely out cold and tried in vain to punch back but tapped instead and Iounnou released the triangle. The ref looked a little confused for a second before realising Nel had in fact given the win to Ioannou, and this was a great victory for the new Lightweight Title champ!
Fight 13: Garreth McLellan vs. Jacques Joubert (Middleweight Title Fight) [Winner: Garreth McLellan in the fourth round by guillotine submission] – “Fight of the Night Award”
The main card fight between Garreth McLellan and Jacque Joubert was one of the most highly anticipated match-ups to date. This was the first time the Middleweight belt was being put on the line and these two top contenders came very well prepared and equally wary of their opponents’ eminence. At weigh-ins McLellan looked focussed and ready to fight there and then, but then Joubert made a point to tickle McLellan’s beard, and whether it was because of nerves or to psych McLellan out didn’t matter when the bell rang and the fight started the next night. The two warriors eased into the fight by feeling each other out until they opened with a couple exchanges and went into a clinch that saw McLellan going for a takedown and Joubert sinking in a guillotine. The guillotine looked dangerous, but McLellan stayed calm and fought free. From the ground the two fought like mad with each managing to get strong positions and them both defending and rolling out to take control. McLellan got a full mount and started with an aggressive ground ‘n pound and eventually Joubert rolled out and got side control to end off the round. The second round started fast with McLellan forcing it to ground again, taking a side mount and landing some ground ‘n pound and then taking Joubert’s back to try for a guillotine that incredibly he fought out of. The fight rolled back and forth insanely with McLellan getting full mounts and some serious ground ‘n pound to finish the round. The third round was the same thing with McLellan forcing the fight to the ground and the two drained and hugely hearted fighters giving it there all inside the cage. Again it was very back and forth with McLellan dominating on the ground and Joubert escaping, but suffering huge ground ‘n pound assaults. The round ended and into the fourth round Joubert looked like he had been hit by a bus, but did not look like was giving up anytime soon. Joubert punched, McLellan slipped it and took down Joubert, again, and he landed in his side guard where he started with his ground ‘n pound assault, as before, until he got above and in front of Joubert where he sunk in a guillotine that eventually won him the fight with Joubert forced to tap. This was one of the best fights seen in MMA in South Africa and these two fighters gave it their all. Well done to Garreth McLellan, the new Middleweight Champion!
This EFC Africa event was spectacular and because there are now four title belts taken that means there is more to defend and to challenge for, and we’re sure more title belts will come into contention soon. With FightFIt Militia holding three of the four title belts, pressure is now on other gyms and fighters to step things up. The next EFC Africa event is taking place on the 30th of June at the Coca-Cola Dome.
Photographs by Chris Wall (Off the Wall)