EFC 57: A FIGHT NIGHT OF HEROES, CONSPIRACIES AND MIND-BOGGLING CONUNDRUMS
“Smiley” Kabesa v. Henry (Main Event)
Bloody hell man, really? A lot of us were left butthurt after that result. It was shocking, it was unexpected, and it felt unfair. We may not be disappointed in Smiley the man, but in the logic of, how does his style lose? How?
A dominant force, blasting away from the changing rooms, hopping towards the cage – unconquerable. Entering the ring, sliding around it, flexible, strong. Fighting, dominating – isn’t he just kinder to the eye than most at anything he does in that ring?
How then does he lose? How?
Look. If you have had time to unclog yourself from the freshness of the event, you tend to go over the detail with a bit more lucidity. This becomes manifest in the conspiracy theories which you then come up with as you seek to find reason to an otherwise befuddling event.
Allow me to present my theories in their crude, unrefined format.
Conspiracy theory #1
That bloody entry song of his. “I got them keys, keys, keys / I got them keys, keys, keys / I got them keys, keys, keys / I got them keys, keys, keys…”
This bloody song makes a young man feel like he cannot lose. It’s a psychological Viagra. Confidence perks up, becomes engorged, and thrusts itself forward with assertion, begging for an opponent to just take it on. This song has been used in victory, and has become talismanic.
Smiley must change it. Immediately. It won’t work anymore. You have started losing, Sir, and that means that the keys that you claim to have got may be outdated.
Someone changed the lock on a familiar door this past weekend. You have to wonder who else has.
Conspiracy theory #2
Indestructibility. When you win 8 times with no reply from your foes, you start feeling like Superman before he knew Kryptonite. I will tell you why I say this:
Smiley was dominating comfortably. He should have fought to win. He seemed to be the sturdier boxer. He took Henry down and was the better, stronger grappler. At that point he should have fought to win rather than seeking to obliterate. He led the ground assault literally with his head rather than with his mind, exposing himself to a well-seasoned ground veteran. The familiar feeling of victory overcame him. He envisioned an early shower, and boy did it come early.
Analysis and the author’s take
Am I glad that Smiley lost?
No. I am distraught.
Am I glad he got homework of a different sort?
At some point as he was exerting himself upon poor Henry I thought to myself, why is Smiley leading the assault with his head? Is he such a master grappler that he knows the exact second at which to extricate that head when his opponent pounces?
Seconds after that, Henry was on his feet, receiving accolades.
I will say this to Smiley, in case he reads this article. I am no oracle, but your style is not supposed to lose, young man. You are that guy who can afford to let an opponent get up, box him out, take him down, try to close the show, fail to find opening, let him get up, box him out, take him down, and so forth until the show ends. You can win by submission or you can win on points. Saturday was a night when you had to have the patience of a points win, although I know that you would have closed the show earlier.
You still got them keys son…
Moyo v Vermeulen
Some men are built to last.
When Mike Vermeulen dropped Elvis “the Bomber” Moyo with a nicely placed head shot in the first round of their heavyweight affair, I said to myself, night night. Moyo had been dominating quite nicely from opening bell, so the punch from Vermeulen caught a guy who was gaining confidence as he established dominance. Such shots are hard to recover from. Ask Lennox Lewis when he got a similar one from Hasim Rahman (coincidentally at the same venue-Carnival City, 16 years ago) Night night.
Moyo, however, defended himself effectively as Vermeulen went for the kill, giving the ref no choice but to untangle the two men from ineffective coupling.
You could see Moyo inhaling deeply to compose himself, then get down to business, eventually launching a great shot which dropped Vermeulen and left him open, at the mercy of the Bomber.
Credit to the ref, who nobly stepped in and waved the fight off, preventing a mauling.
Moyo by assertive KO.
Van Staden v Holley
What a match!!!
Fury was unleashed as Christian Holley sought the very soul of Martin “The Punisher” van Staden, seemingly willing to follow him to the depths of hell to claim it.
The first takedowns came in the first rounds, with van Staden initiating but being rendered ineffective by the defensive skills of Holley. Holley soon got his chance and returned the favour, riding the back of van Staden’s torso like a rodeo as van Staden leaned against the cage. The salted van Staden tucked his chin beautifully to obviate a rear naked choke, but was pounded from top, back and side.
Holley was being strong and bullish, taking that form into the second round.
Suddenly the tables overturned. The Punisher came back, mounting Holley and striking away at that defenseless face until the ref was forced to do the good deed and “save a life today”.
Credit to both men for showing skill and gut, but Holley should have known better: it shows a grave error of judgement to try and claim the soul of The Punisher.
The stories of the night were aplenty. Too aplenty, in fact, for me to try and cram them into this one article.
We saw a lovely display of showmanship by Anicent “the Showstopper” Kanyemba. What a deadly entertainer!
We saw Pierre Botha and Sizwe Mnikathi put on a gutsy performance until the final bell in a never-say-die contest. Talk about baring your innards and daring him to try and carve out a piece.
We witnessed a sculptured Georgi Georgiev get taken apart by a less-sculptured but rough-looking Gordon Roodman.
And we observed a well-placed elbow to the jaw and a series of frantic, heavy-handed potshots in the tale of the Afrikaans Mostert against the English Mustard. We scrutinized remnants of the English Mustard, splattered around the cage, hopefully thanking the good ref for helping him live to die another day.
It was an epic event, ladies and gentlemen. If you were there in person and felt the electrical atmosphere that I felt, high five to you blood.
If you were not there, do not despair.
EFC 58 is coming!
EFC is alive.