JOHANNESBURG – After Dave "Pain Train" Mazany beat former champion Wentzel Nel six years ago when the title wasn’t up for grabs, the Alaskan training out of Xtreme Couture in Nevada finally got his hands on the golden strap on Friday night at Carnival City.
Mazany beat South Africa’s Leon "Iron Lion" Mynhardt 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the first round, a remarkable achievement considering Mynhardt held the belt for over two and a half years.
After some crisp stand-up from both men, the fight steered in the American’s favour once it went to the ground with Mazany always in control. In the scramble to their feet, he locked in a superb standing guillotine choke and never let go until the formerly dominant champion tapped.
What was remarkable after the fight was the continued show of utter professionalism by both men. Mynhardt was positive and reflective with his trademark Clint Eastwood smirk and had nothing but good things to say about his victor. Mazany is fast becoming a fan favourite in these lands with his measured showmanship and consistent respect for his fellow fighters and the paying punter.
You can begin to understand why after hearing what he’s been through to get to the pinnacle of the division on our Vodcast with him last week. When asked whom he thought worthy of being his first challenger, he typically asked the fans to take to social media to decide for him. As for Mynhardt, a palpable shudder goes through the entire lightweight division in the knowledge that a whole host of awesome matchups now await him.
Even though I was highly critical of Durban’s Baldwin Mdlalose for failing to make weight following his victory over Angolan Marino Cutendana, he dealt with my question at the post-event press conference with honesty and humility and I truly hope that will translate into successful cuts that honour his opponents in the future.
Both fighters came out swinging but it was Cutendana who fell first to an overhand left and subsequent blows forced the referee’s stoppage. His four-fight winning streak has come to an end but I have no doubt that we are barely beginning to see the evolution of this highly-talented flyweight.
It remains to be seen whether Mdlalose will still be given a shot at Nkazimulo Zulu’s title.
Scotsman Danny Henry put himself right back on top of the feather-nest with an impressive win over the superb Barend Nienaber. After helping himself to top control in the first round, the Dinky Ninja finished the second with two brutal yet sweetly-timed body kicks to Nienaber's ribs, collapsing the Hatfield lad earning Henry the TKO. Announcing to the world that he believes himself more deserving of a shot at redemption than Hanru Botha for a crack at Igeu Kabesa’s shiny buckle, there’s still the looming shadow of a fit and fast Boyd Allen lengthening across the division. Fascinating times.
Nienaber's teammate Gareth Buirski was in superb form against the dangerous Brazilian debutante, Magno "Popeye" Alves. The latter displayed laser-guided takedowns but disappointed with the wasted positions he was able to put himself in with too few transitions and significant strikes. With a variety of elbows off his back probably swaying the judges in Buirski’s favour, the eldest brother of Matt and David joins Tjaart Henning in adding a little sugar to CIT’s sour fare.
In what was shaping up to be fight of the night if not the year, the opening main card bout between Tumisang Madiba and Anicet Kanyeba was ruled a no-contest after an inadvertent poke to Kanyeba’s eye forced the doctor’ stoppage. The first round was a ridiculously entertaining action-packed affair which made the sudden conclusion of the bout so disappointing. Both men have availed themselves to each other at EFC 52 in Cape Town, but logistically are more likely to return to Ekurhuleni for 53 in September.
The full EFC 51 results:
Claude Ntumba defeated Tshilumba Mulumba via knockout (Punches) 2:32 in round 2.
Tjaart Henning defeated Amos Hlatswayo via Triangle choke 1:56 in round 2.
Pietie Coxen defeated Robo Ambamba via split decision.
Quaid Openshaw defeated Patrick Luindula via Rear-Naked Choke in 1:22 in round 1.
Alain Ilunga defeated Conrad Seabi via unanimous decision.
Tumisang Madiba vs Anicet Kanyeba was ruled a no contest.
Gareth Buirski defeated Magno Alves via unanimous decision.
Danny Henry defeated Barend Nienaber via TKO (kick) 1:20 into round 2.
Baldwin Mdlalose defeated Marino Cutendana via TKO 1:13 in round 1.
Dave Mazany defeated Leo Mynhardt via Guillotine Choke 2:30 in round 2.
EFC 52: Madge vs. Costa, Dalcha vs Maphutha takes place on Friday, August 5 at GrandWest, Cape Town.