EFC 55: Pena vs Sayed – Full Recap.
On Friday 11 November at GrandWest the undisputed king of the 135-pound division was crowned as the reigning and undefeated champion, Demarte ’The Wolf’ Pena, faced the interim champion, Irshaad ‘The White Tiger’ Sayed. This was undoubtedly the biggest fight in EFC history on undoubtedly the biggest fight card of 2016.
On the same night, the rematch for the lightweight championship went down as USA’s Dave ‘The Pain Train’ Mazany put his title at stake against South African favourite and former champ, Leon ‘Iron Lion’ Mynhardt. Mynhardt stepped in as a late replacement for the injured Don Madge.
The undefeated Cameron Pritchard took on his biggest challenge yet when he faced the former welterweight champion Dino ‘The Lion’ Bagattin. With a title shot on the line for Pritchard, the stakes couldn’t have been any higher.
The Main card also included 2 other bouts. The former Flyweight title contender, Baldwin Mdlalose, faced off against the former Bantamweight contender, Francois Groenewald. Lastly, two former Heavyweight champions went head to head as Ruan Potts faced Brendon Groenewald.
Main Event: Demarte Pena defeated Irshaad Sayed by unanimous decision after 5 rounds (Bantamweight Title Unification Fight).
Both Pena and Sayed was happy to keep it standing with both fighters landed some good punches and kicks. Usually the first 3 rounds plays a big role in deciding the outcome of a fight. Pena did get a few takedowns but Sayed defended it well. Much like the previous fight, this fight had the crowd excited and hearts was pumping with adrenaline throughout. In the end it was not to be for Sayed as the judges declared Pena the winner by unanimous decision and still the undefeated EFC Bantamweight Champion.
They said it:
“I managed to get the win. Sayed is a really tough competitor. Respect to him, he brought out the best in me in terms of my stand-up. On to the next one. I tried to finish him but he was quite good. Next time.”
“When you hype up a fight, losing might be a hard pill to swallow. Demarte was a super athlete tonight. I’ll learn from this and I will come back stronger. I want that rematch.”
Co Main Event: Dave Mazany (Lightweight Champion) vs Leon Mynhardt
The fight for the Lightweight title was a pulsating clash between two warriors who gave absolutely everything to come out of it the EFC Lightweight champion. The fight had the crowd on the edge of their seats, their hearts pumping with adrenaline and cheering with excitement. Heavy punches was thrown by both fighters in the opening moments. Mynhardt defended takedown well and wasn’t at all looking like the guy who was submitted by the same opponent at EFC 51 to lose the belt that he defended for over 2 years. The American, however, had no intension to let the belt go as his punches opened a nasty cut on the challenger’s eye, eventually taking the win by TKO in Round 3.
They said it:
“I’m really excited about defending my title against a guy that was hungry for redemption. I knew he was going to be super game and so to beat him means the world to me. I think this is probably the toughest title defence I could’ve taken.”
“Thanks to all the support I’m getting. That is one of the biggest motivators for me. I normally recover fast, just blead quickly. I love to fight for you guys.”
Fight 3: Ruan Potts vs Brendon Groenewald
The fight between the two BJJ specialists was equally exciting. Both fighter was happy to keep it standing by trading some good punches and kicks. Groenewald had Potts in trouble early in the fight when he managed to get Potts to the ground. He laid down some vicious ground and pound which Potts barely escape at the end of Round 1. Potts was in the same predicament almost immediately at the start of round 2. He managed to reverse the situation and sunk in a rear naked choke to take the victory in Round 2. In his post-match interview, Groenewald, surprised the crowd by announcing his retirement from in ring competition.
They said it:
“(On his decision to retire) well the decision to retire isn’t hard when you are not motivated to train hard and get out of bed to run. I love to compete, but I need to be motivated to train. I gave my best against a fantastic opponent. The next event I’ll be up there watching.”
Fight 4: Baldwin Mdlalose vs Francois Groenewald
The fight between the former Flyweight contender and former Bantamweight contender initially looked like it was going to be a stand-up affair. Mdlalose looked more comfortable on his feet as Groenewald look completely out of sorts, throwing some wild punches. As soon as Groenewald took it to the ground with a well-timed takedown he was in complete control. He managed to sink in the Guillotine choke to take a submission victory in Round 1.
They said it:
“At the moment the Flyweight Division is a bit small so I think I’ll stick with it. There are still some guys in the Bantamweight division I have my eyes on.”
“I’ll fight anyone anytime. Demarte is the only lost for me in the Bantamweight Division. It will be a great fight. I’ve been working hard on my conditioning, my strength and my jits.”
Fight 5: Cameron Pritchard def. Dino Bagattin (Submission via rear naked choke) – Round 2
At the start of Round 1 both fighters seem content to throw some puches and kicks. It didn’t take long for Chris Bright’s protégé to take it to the ground. He had Bagattin in all kinds of difficulty, but he defended the rear naked choke well to see out the round. Bagattin got a good knock down early in the second, but Pritchard managed to reverse the situation. As soon as he regained control he had no problem taking Bagattin’s back and submitting him via Rear naked choke in Round 2.
They said it:
“I’m really excited, the fight went really good. Got touched a bit more than I like to have been. Looking forward to fighting Dricus (du Plessis) soon. He is one of the toughest guys in the whole EFC. I’m going to put on a proper camp for him. I’ve had my eye on the Welterweight belt since I joined the EFC. It’s been a dream of mine and this is one step closer. I have a lot of respect for Dricus and his brother. They work hard, but this is our sport and he is the guy on top of the hill and I’m climbing that hill.”
“I’ve been out for almost a year and a half, been training every day so it is a bitter pill to swallow. I feel at that stage of the fight I was starting to get the better of him. I want to fight as soon as possible. A year and a half is a long time to be out of the cage. I am training with the best. The sooner I get back in the better.”
Fight 6: Wesley Hawkey def. Sibusiso Mdoko (KO) – Round 1
Fight 7: Sylvester Chipfumbu def. Guy Mongambi (Unanimous Decision) – Round 3
Fight 8: Regis Muyambo vs Tyson Chelin (Unanimous Decision) – Round 3
Fight 9: Niel du Plessis def. Mutuale Basambombo (Unanimous Decision) – Round 3
Fight 10: Gary Joshua def. Lourens Botes (TKO) – Round 1
Fight of the Night: Dave Mazany vs Leon Mynhardt
Performance Bonuses: Cameron Pritchard, Regis Muyambo, Gary Joshua and Ruan Potts