EFC 48 POST FIGHT WRAP UP: BY THEO VON ASPERN

Hanru Botha defeated Sibusiso Mdoko via knockout 0:19 in round 1.

The highly anticipated EFC 48 main card got underway with Olympic hopeful Hanru Botha taking on the veteran Sibusiso Mdoku. Botha, a decorated wrestler, was expected to grind down his more strike-happy opponent, but the adoring Cape Town crowd were treated to something completely off the script. Botha came out guns blazing from the opening buzzer and Mdoku seemed to relish the exchanges.

Botha looked in great physical condition and his sharp hands soon scored him the quickest finish of the night when a blaze of punches left Mdoku out cold after only 19 seconds. It was the left hook straight to the chin of Mdoku that ultimately finished him. Mdoku was visibly shaken for some time in the Hexagon and even looked out of sorts at the post-fight presser. Botha is currently in training to qualify for the Rio Olympics as a wrestler, and with another unforgettable knockout under his belt is a force to be reckoned with in the featherweight division.

Mark Hulme defeated Kaleka Kabanda via Rear-Naked Choke in round 2.

Mark Hulme of Fight Fit Militia, brought a similar level of focused and determined skill to his bout with the DRC’s Kaleka Kabanda. Hulme looked like he was coming to do the business and it was quite clear to everyone present in the Grand West Arena who the more polished fighter was. Kabanda entered the fight riding an undefeated three fight streak, but that meant nothing to the steely-eyed Hulme, who put on a show of his all round, constantly evolving game.

After the fight ended in impressive fashion, Hulme called for any opponent that the organisation would offer. In the deep, dark waters of the welterweight division he is looking more and more dangerous.
Don Madge defeated Tyson Chelin via TKO ‘Kicks’ 0:54 in round 1.

The return of the Magic Man was highly anticipated and everyone was anxious to see just how much he had upped his game since moving to Jo’burg’s Fight Fit Militia.

Wow. He did not disappoint. This one was over before it began and Madge managed to put any questions of his hunger and will to succeed in this game to rest in the first minute of the fight. Some ferocious and perfectly placed body kicks rocked Chelin early and he just never recovered. The fight was stopped at the 49 second mark after a string of body kicks dropped Chelin clutching his ribs in agony.
KO via body kicks. Very impressive Mr Madge. Very impressive.

Without a scratch on him it will be interesting to see where the Magic Man goes next. One thing is for sure – he back, and he’s better than ever.

Irshaad Sayed defeated Cedric Doyle via TKO ‘Knees’ 4:59 in round 3

Well, well. What a spectacle for the sport of MMA in Africa. These two men fought an incredible fight that displayed some of the best qualities I’ve seen in the Hexagon.

There was a lot of talk from Sayed in the build-up to this fight and he needed to back it up. One got the feeing that none of the banter and gamesmanship from Sayed had impacted Doyle in any way, as he came out blazing from the opening buzzer.

The stand up was ferocious in round 1 with Doyle scoring a knockdown (somewhat fortuitously) via an accidental head butt. Doyle was winning the early exchanges and made it count after the knockdown by quickly attempting to lock in a rear naked choke. You could sense the desperation in the crowd as the home town hero defended the choke with all his might. The energetic Cape Town crowd seemed to will him on as he eventually controlled the left arm of Doyle and powered his way back to his feet. The ovation in the Grand West Arena was deafening as the knowledgable crowd was on their feet.

The fight was swaying back and forth with both men trying to seize the momentum. Sayed’s camp must have implored him to take the fight to the ground and he duly responded with a perfectly executed take down. This was the moment it all changed.

Sayed controlled the fight from rounds 2-3 and managed to score vital points on the ground, all the while draining Doyle of his energy. It looked like the fight could go to decision with Sayed dominating the points on the ground but he managed to rock Doyle with some ferocious stand up strikes, eventually ending the fight with a perfectly placed knee that dropped the valiant Doyle to the mat. The ref had seen enough and waved off the bout meaning Sayed had managed to do what he said, and become the new Bantamweight champion.

Cape Town was treated to an amazing co-main event and we definitely found out just how strong Sayed’s chin is. Both fighters had to be congratulated on a inspirational effort and were deservingly awarded Fight of the Night bonuses.

Danie van Heerden defeated Brendon Groenewald via TKO ‘Punches’ 3:22 in round 2.

Billed as the main event of the evening, this bout promised to be a fierce contest of contrasting styles: elite jiujitsu vs powerful stand up striking. Many people got the feeling this one would not get out of the first 5 minutes, but we were all pleasantly surprised.

They two heavyweights started off feeing each other out, both of them very cautious of the other’s power. After a few tentative exchanges the blows started to land. Van Heerden managed to score the cleaner shots and had Groenewald scrambling for takedowns throughout the first round. On the ground it was Van Heerden’s power that nullified the jiujitsu of Groenewald and he managed to land a barrage of ground-and-pound towards the end of the first round.

At the start of the second round the crowd got the feeing that the inevitable was going to happen soon. Groenewald was gassing badly and needed to get the fight to the ground. The fighters duly followed and when Van Heerden got the mount the end was near. Groenewald gave up his back after wrestling with Van Heerden for the better part of a minute and Van Heerden managed to ground-and-pound his way to the stoppage and claim the vacant Heavyweight Championship.

The Capetonian crowd certainly played their part to make this card a success and one has to imagine the Grand West Arena will play host to many more big EFC Fight Nights in the future. EFC 50 perhaps? Over to you, Cairo Howarth.

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