EFC Africa promised to rock the continent with their 13th event, which was incidentally their first Cape Town show. It featured a stacked card and delivered the action by the spades…
Alain Ilunga vs. Johan Van Staden – fight cancelled due to medical reasons.
Jason Culverwell vs. Mahmoud Salama (Light Heavyweight) – [Winner: Culverwell via key lock submission]
This light heavyweight dance was the debut of both men and with a recently stacked division an impressive win was a must. Salama and Culverwell both came out with a strong pace and aggressive striking, and exchanged a barrage of punches and kicks, with the more powerful and accurate coming from Salama. His strikes were impressive, but Culverwell weathered them well and kept pushing forward until he secured a good takedown, and then worked hard to keep Salama pinned down until he managed a fight-ending key lock submission.
Morne Marais vs. Michael Vermeulen (Heavyweight) – [Winner: Marais via rear naked choke]
This heavyweight fight promised to be explosive with each athlete debuting in the EFC Africa hexagon. Vermeulen came out blazing with his brawling style hard-hitting punches, leaving Marais to look for counter strikes to keep him out of major trouble. Vermeulen continued with his attacked at every opportunity and shot in for a takedown, which Marais manage to scuff and reverse to land a good slam. On the ground Marais got in some ground ‘n pound until he took Vermeulen’s back to sink in a rear naked choke to win the fight.
Leo Gloss vs. Abdul Hassan (Featherweight) – [Winner: Hassan via judges split decision]
Gloss and Hassan had a lot to prove for this bout as both men were coming of losses EFC Africa 10 and EFC Africa 11, respectively. The first and second rounds saw Hassan take the fight to the ground where he’d be more effective. Hassan got in some solid ground ‘n pound, leaving Gloss a little worse off, but not beaten just yet. In the final round Gloss put in a great last ditch effort, especially in the final 30 seconds and unloaded some good ground ‘n pound of his own, but it wasn’t enough and the decision went to the judges, where it was a split one in favour of Hassan.
Armand De Bruyn vs. Abri Valentine (Middleweight) – [Winner: De Bruyn via arm bar submission]
De Bruyn sought to keep his two fight streak alive when he took on Africa Top Team’s Valentine. An explosive back and forth fight, this one ended with only 10 seconds to spare in the first round. Superb punches from Valentine saw the two go all out until De Bruyn managed to get the upper hand when the fight went to the ground and he put in the better work there and seized a solid arm bar to win the fight.
Mahmoud Hassan vs. Ricky Misholas (Heavyweight) – [Winner: Hassan TKO verbal submission punches]
This was the debut of Egypt’s Hassan, and Misholas was riding on a wave of confidence after besting Paul Kietzman at EFC Africa 12. Expecting some massive punches from both men, Hassan did not disappoint when the two collided as he showcased his heavy hands and powerful strikes. Misholas was out-powered when Hassan landed a smashing right hand which dropped him. Hassan capitalised by jumping on him to continue with some heavy ground ‘n pound, and Misholas quickly verbally submitted, giving the victory to the impressive Egyptian.
Wade Henderson vs. James Le Roux (middleweight) – [Winner: Henderson via arm bar submission]
This fight featured a move in weight class up for Henderson and a move in weight class down for Le Roux. An interesting matchup, this was all about who was hungrier for victory. Le Roux came out with an aggressive attack, also landing a massive slam on Henderson, when he tried to tie up his arm for a submission. Henderson continued to work his ground magic until he closed the gap and caught Le Roux in a fight-ending arm bar.
Dain Neveling vs. Norman Wessels (Light Heavyweight) – [Winner: Wessels via rear naked choke]
This fight exhibited the light heavyweight debuts of both men and it was expected to be a surge of violence, especially after Wessels got an impromptu kiss from Neveling as they faced off at weigh-ins. At the start, Wessels controlled the pace and distance, landing more precise strikes with great speed and power. Neveling powered in for a short flurry of punches, landing some great strikes, but Wessels defended well and quickly countered and took the fight to the ground. On the ground Wessels landed some powerful elbows, dismantling Neveling piece by piece and eventually he took his back to sink in a tight rear naked choke to win impressively.
Dino Bagattin vs. Francois Kabulu (Welterweight) – [Winner: Bagattin via judges split decision]
Bagatin and Kabulu were both baying for blood as they were both coming off losses. Another fight that went the distant, this was a great stand up battle that went one for one. Throughout the rounds both men landed some impressive punches and kicks, both having moments of perfection. Kabulu did manage to hit a few great takedowns and Bagattin picked up the pace at times with great strikes, but the decision went to the judges who ended up with a split decision victory for Baggatin.
Michiel Opperman vs. Martin van Staden (Welterweight) – [Winner: Opperman via standing guillotine]
This fight was for all the chips as they were both looking to derail each other’s title shot hopes. The fight was impressive to watch with both men coming out blazing and not scared to dish it out. Some great strikes were exchanged and some tight back and forth clinch work from both, cage-side. On the ground van Staden looked like he was subduing Opperman’s newly acquired BJJ talent, and he lay in with some great ground ‘n pound. Opperman managed to fight back to standing and in the process sunk in an insanely tight standing guillotine, which forced van Staden to tap and lose this massive welterweight battle.
Don Madge vs. Leon Mynhardt (Lightweight) – [Winner: Mynhardt via TKO verbal decision]
This fight was expected to be a Muay Thai dream between two of the best strikers in South Africa. Madge was coming off a spectacular KO victory over Wade Groth, and Mynhardt looked to bounced back from a KO loss (both at EFC Africa 11). An impressive stand up battle of almost no comparison, these men came to fight, hard! The first round saw both fighters coming out strong with Madge taking a lead with the more precise strikes and ending the round off by dropping Mynhardt with a massive headkick (which Mynhardt just managed to recover from). Saved by the bell, the second round saw Mynhardt come out strong, slowly making his way back into the fight by matching and somewhat bettering Madge’s strikes with precise shots of his own. The final round saw the more bloodied Mynhardt come out strong again, and again they went blow for blow with insanely precise shots. Mynhardt then started landing a few solid head shots and controversy set in as Madge seemed to call for a time-out and turned his back to walk away. This lead to some confusion, but it left the referee with no alternative but to declare Mynhardt as the winner via a verbal submission.
Bernardo Mikixi vs. Calven Robinson (Heavyweight) – [Winner: Mikixi via TKO punches]
A fight between two colossuses of this magnitude could not end well for one of them. Both men came out very strong with Mikixi leading on strikes and Robison clinching up to control with the better knees cage-side. After the pace slowed, Mikixi eventually forced his way to a takedown and started an unrelenting onslaught of punches and huge hammer fists which left Robinson scrabbling and somewhat verbally submitting until the referee stepped in and stopped the fight in favour of Mikixi.
Dallas Jakobi vs. Jadyson Costa (Welterweight) – [Winner: Costa via TKO punches]
Jakobi has shown us that he has an iron will and he was adamant to retain his title. The former Chute Boxe star and Jits pro Costa, on the other hand had other ideas for the belt. Both came out impressively, but soon Costa set in with an unexpected display of accurate strikes. Controlling pace and distance, Costa managed to leave Jakobi beaten up in the first round. The second and third rounds saw much of the same thing, with an impressive display of heart from Jakobi, but unfortunately not enough to outmatch the Brazilian’s legs kicks and precise head strikes. Jakobi started to look incredibly damaged and Costa continued to pick apart at him, leaving his face worse for wear, and in the fourth round it all become too much for the (now former) welterweight champion. After an onslaught of strikes the referee jumped in to stop the fight and give the win to the new welterweight champion, Costa.
EFC Africa 14 will be held on June 1, at Carnival City in Johannesburg and tickets are already available at Computicket. Don’t miss Costa Ioannou take on Adam Speechly in a Lightweight Championships bout, and Demarte Pena against Wesley Hawkey in a Featherweight Title fight!
Photos by Ruby Wolff/EFC Africa