This EFC Africa event promised to be a feast of bone crunching action as two titles were set to be defended and a host of local MMA stars sought to make an impression. Action was promised and action was delivered….
Tshikangu Makuebo vs. James Le Roux (Middleweight) – [Winner: Makuebo via unanimous decision]
Both men found themselves in a potential loser-leaves-town scenario as they both were coming of losses so they had to impress the EFC Africa brass. For three rounds Le Roux tried to take Makuebo down. Le Roux threatened a few times from his back but Makuebo scored a bit with some ground ‘n pound. For the better part Makuebo showed a tight sprawl and the all three judges gave him the nod.
Alex Cheboub vs. Ashley Calvert (Lightweight) – [Winner: Cheboub via keylock]
Cheboub looked to work himself up the ladder after unsuccessfully trying to end Costa Ioannouo’s title run at EFC Africa 11. This bout moved Cheboub up a notch. Calvert and him put on a great show with some mad scrambles and sub attempts by both men, but eventually Calvert fell prey to a Cheboub keylock. However, it should be noted Cheboub came in considerably overweight so props to Calvert for still accepting the fight.
JP Kruger vs. Mawande Vapi (Middleweight) – [Winner: Kruger via rear naked choke]
Kruger sought to keep Vapi’s losing streak alive. After some back and forth strikes, Vapi took Kruger down in the opening seconds of round one, but Kruger craftily took his back and sunk in a fight ending rear naked choke. With Kruger’s impressive ground game he looks set to work his way up the Middleweight ladder.
Koba Iakobidze vs. Alain Ilunga (Lightweight) – [Winner: Illunga via TKO]
The Georgian boxer Iakobidze had plans to ruin Ilunga’s EFC Africa debut. Both men were game on keeping the fight on the feet with Koba attacking with his fists and Illunga opting for body and leg kicks, which looks impressively snappy. Both men scored takedowns, but in the final stanza after some engages, Illunga landed a crushing kick to the body, giving him the TKO victory.
David Buirski vs. Kelvin Mwale (Welterweight) – [Winner: Buirski via KO]
Both men had hopes of performing in spectacular fashion in a bout that was their EFC Africa debuts. Buirski used his speed to get in, leg kick and get out, with Mwale looking to land some solid punches each time he opened up. Eventually Buirsky captured a KO with a headkick from hell and made an impressive entrance to EFC Africa.
Wade Groth vs. Markus Taljaard (Lightweight) – [Winner: Taljaard via triangle]
Both men were looking to rebound from their losses at EFC Africa 11 and EFC Africa 12, respectively. For three rounds there were a few spats of strikes and clinch work, but mostly Groth worked his ground ‘n pound from inside Taljaard’s guard until Taljaard landed a sneaky triangle, soliciting a tap from Groth.
Terrence Griessel vs. Gareth Buirski (Featherweight) – [Winner: Griessel via guillotine]
Griessel faced a stern test in the form of the durable Buirski. Buirski pushed the pace in this matchup. Griessel survived some ground ‘n pound and a choke attempt, but turned the tide in round three by sinking in a fight-ending guillotine from standing and dropping to close guard.
Wentzel Nel vs. Denzil Wait (Featherweight) – [Winner: Nel via TKO]
Nel looked to step over Wait into title contention, and Wait wanted to rebound from a tough loss at EFC Africa 12. Nel looked very impressive, coming out aggressively as expected and took Wait down to work his ground strikes. Nel had to fight out of Wait’s triangle, but he almost locked in a kneebar at the end of round one. After a tussle and some reversals Nel overwhelmed Wait with his ground ‘n pound, prompting a referee stoppage.
Francois Kabulu vs. Amar Wahman (Welterweight) – [Winner: Kabulu via unanimous decision]
Kabulu dropped a controversial loss at EFC Africa 13 so he had a point to prove, while the Egyptian, Wahman wanted to continue his climb up the welterweight ladder. In round one, both exchanged on the feet and landed takedowns. Kabulu missed a good armbar attempt. Round two had Kabulu taking down Wahman and trying to work some ground ‘n pound – Kabulu even took his back at the end of the round. In the final round Wahman tried to push the action, looking for the KO, but it was not enough to secure his victory. All three judges gave it to Kabulu.
Garreth McLellan vs. Danie van Heerden (Midelweight/Catchweight) – [Winner: McLellan via rear naked choke]
McLellan was hungry after losing his belt, despite a spirited effort, and van Heerden wanted to send a message to the other middleweights. van Heerden found himself under a shroud of controversy as he too came in 4kgs overweight. McLellan gracefully still accepted the bout. In the first round van Heerden locked in a tight standing guillotine but McLellan powered out of it, took him down and ended the round with some ground ‘n pound. In round two, after a competitive tussle, McLellan eventually took down van Heerden and tapped him with a rear naked choke.
Bernardo Mikixi vs. Mahmoud Hassan (Heavyweight) – [Winner: Mikixi via TKO]
It was hard to make a prediction for this one, but one thing was for certain… it wasn’t going the distance. After an aggressive exchange, Mikixi rocked Hassan with a hard right, took him down and TKO’d him with his insane hammerfists. It now seems as if Mikixi will face Ruan Potts for a shot at the heavyweight title!
Demarte Pena vs. Wesley Hawkey (Featherweight Title Fight) – [Winner: Pena via rear naked choke]
Pena was determined to keep his belt and Hawkey went out to dethrone the champ. In round one Hawkey took down Pena and tried to work from inside his half guard. Pena reversed and had to defend a Hawkey kimura. In round two they exchanged some strikes, Pena hiptossed Hawkey and advanced to side mount. Hawkey reversed it and ended up in Penas’s half guard to end the round. Round three saw Hawkey getting a takedown, working from inside the full guard, and the two fought well back and forth. In round four Hawkey, possibly slightly ahead on points, unloaded and Pena took him down well. In a beautiful transition, Pena moved from half guard to Hawkey’s back and sunk in a solid rear naked choke, forcing Hawkey to submit.
Costa Ioannou vs. Adam Speechly (Lightweight Title Fight) – [Winner: Ioannou via unanimous decision]
Fight Fit Militia combatant, Ioannou was confident that he would retain his title. In Speechly’s lightweight debut, he faced a tall order. Ioannou wanted no part of Speechly’s stand-up and shot in for a takedown where he grinded from top position for the first round. In round two both men worked from top position after some frantic scrambles. By round three Ioannou looked gassed, and for the first time in his career he looked like he may be in trouble. Speechly worked his own ground ‘n pound and Ioannou tried to sweep with his butterfly hook. Ioannou sucked it up and continued to chip away at Speechly from top position. The fight went the distance and Ioannou won a hard fought decision. It was a spectacular display of heart by both men.
The next EFC Africa event takes place at Carnival City again, where Norman Wessels takes on JP Joubert for the first Light Heavyweight Title, Dino Bagattin finally faces Martin van Staden, and Tyrone Rightford faces Darren Daniel is his much anticipated return to the EFC Africa cage. These and more fights will take place on 27 July, and you don’t want to miss it!
Photos by Ruby Wolff/EFC Africa