Johannesburg – It’s been another week of startling developments in the world of African MMA particularly with the overdue news of EFC lightweight Champion, Don Madge (7-3-1) moving to the UFC. But it has been the slew of bout announcements coming out of Bryanston that have lit a fire under the sports’ twitterati.
First comes the firming of the EFC 67 card which takes place on the 10th of March in Jozi. Aside from the already mentioned clashes of Kabesa (9-1) vs Allen (15-3-1), Eliasov (2-1) vs Penco (2-0), Masunyane (4-0) vs Hignett (5-2) and De Ridder (8-0) vs Allison (7-4) is the unfortunate news of an injury to Cameron Pritchard (4-1) which nixes his bout against Gunther Kalunda (3-0). Fortunately Pietie Coxen (4-5) has stepped in as a late replacement and will be facing his fourth consecutive Congolese after wins against Robo Ambaba (0-2) and Tresor Boluwa (1-1) and a loss to Pupanga Tresor (3-4).
Kicking off the last of the main card bout announcements is Gordon Roodman (3-6-1) facing GBH’s Mzwandile Hlongwa (1-0) who had a torrid time on ‘The Fighter’ but who still resonates my memory with a superb first round TKO over Mark Kamba (1-2) at ’49 in ’16. Roodman will be keen to snap his deuce with a typical Rage revival and force a reversal of fortune against another TF1 star.
There hasn’t been any official announcement but the Boom will be heard across Gauteng when Simon Harle (0-1) welcomes Matunga Mradi Djikasa (0-0) to the EFC. Harle was bitterly disappointed with his debut loss to Mndebela in Durban last year and will come out hard fishing for his first pro win.
In a remarkable coincidence, ‘Triple H’ last fought in 2013 when he shared an AFL card in Greyville with aforementioned Igeu Kabesa and Mzwandile Hlongwa as well as Hlongwa’s brother, Khulekani (1-1) who remarkably rejoins his sibling, this time against Shian Henk Pelser’s protogée Quinton Roussouw (1-0) from Randfontein. A good wrestling and Shidokan background has stood Roussouw in good stead since he made his amateur MMA entrance three years ago, which makes his pro debut against another TF1 contestant even more interesting.
Looking further ahead to EFC 68 in Cape Town on the 30th of March we already know that Madge’s vacated lightweight belt will be contested between his teammate, Martin van Staden (18-9) and Gavin Hughes (9-0) and the co-main event is a cracking scrap twixt Dave Mazany (15-7) and Chris Bright (6-0). Added to the card is Cal Ellenor (6-1) against Faeez Jacobs (3-1) and Regis Muyambo (6-5) will be giving a frosty mother city reception to Rudi Roets (3-0). Just announced yesterday is a stunning match-up between Gary Joshua (3-0) and Martin de Beer (6-3) both fighters with fascinating personalities and equally magnetic skillsets. An as yet unannounced bout for EFC 68 possibly sees Devon Cronje (1-1) taking on Amisi Kabeya (0-0).
Returning to Johannesburg on the 28th of April for EFC 69, the massive news is that JP Buys (4-2) will fight Phillipe Rouche (7-3) for Demarte Pena’s newly vacated Bantam buckle and even though EFC won’t confirm it at the time of writing, I’m hearing from multiple sources that Marino Cutendana (5-3) will hope to dethrone Nkazimulo Zulu (9-2) for the latters flyweight gold which would certainly make EFC 69 an incredible double header with two huge title contested twixt four mercurial athletes.
I’ll hope to have more confirmations next week. Cheers for now.