EFC 56: Du Plessis vs Haratyk – Preview

– By Edrich Pienaar

With less than a few days to go until the final EFC event of the year, we take an exclusive preview of the main card at EFC 56 on 9 December at Carnival City.

Main Event: Dricus “Stillknocks” du Plessis vs Rafal “The Polish Tank” Haratyk

The Main event sees the former K1 Champion from South Africa (du Plessis) take on the well – rounded skillset of the man from Poland (Haratyk) in what is dubbed a potential fight of the night.

Du Plessis, the reigning welterweight champion, was set to face Ireland’s Henry Fadipe. The Irishman suffered a wrist injury and was forced to withdraw from the bout. Du Plessis then declined a fight with proposed replacement, Mark Hulme, stating that he was not worthy of a title shot and he wants bigger fights.

The EFC offered him an opponent in a different division. The middleweight title contender Rafal Haratyk, known as the “Polish Tank”, accepted the challenge. He will potentially give du Plessis the hardest fight of his career. The man from Poland took to twitter to answer the welterweight champion’s call: “I don’t care about your belt Dricus. But I do care about big fights. Want one? Sign the addendum with my name on it!”

The Fight between the welterweight champion and the middleweight contender could produce even more than the title fight would have.

Co Main Event: Yannick “Black Mamba” Bahati vs David Buirski (Middleweight Title Fight)

The co main event is a matchup between Yannick Bahati from Britain and the former welterweight champion David Buirski for the middleweight title.

The champion is fresh of a 12 second KO loss to Buirski’s team mate Michiel Opperman at EFC 53. He however doesn’t hold Buirski in high regard calling him a bum in his latest interview. He also had some stern words for the South African fans.

Buirski on the other hand feels that Bahati is lucky to still have his belt after his loss to Opperman. He isn’t fazed by the smack talk of his opponent stating that it is boring and that Bahati seems very unintelligent. Buirski also stated that his all – round game is better than Bahati’s and will look for any gap to finish the fight be it by KO, TKO or submission.

Fight 3: Igeu “Smiley” Kabesa vs Hanru Botha (Featherweight Title Fight)

Igeu Kabesa defends his title for the first time against Hanru Botha. Both fighters have excellent wrestling skills. Kabesa is a multiple Wrestling Nationals Champ whilst his opponent has won the SA Wrestling Championship 34 times.

Kabesa is aiming to remain one of two undefeated EFC champions (The other is Demarte Pena). He won the title with a dominant display of wrestling from Scotsman Daniel Henry. He started his career training under the tutelage of Richard Quan, but recently changed camps to join Brendon Katz at Katz MMA.

Kabesa’s opponent is the heavy handed Hanru Botha. Botha himself a multiple wrestling champion boasts with three KO victories in record of 6 – 3 (6 wins, 3 losses). The twin brother of fellow EFC athlete Pierre Botha will try and use his takedowns to get the upper hand in this contest. If not he might just let his hands do the talking.

This promises to be one helluva fight between the two wrestling champions where superior striking, rather than wrestling, possibly determining the outcome of this one.

Fight 4: Wesley “Young Assassin” Hawkey vs Azi “One Bomb” Thomas (Featherweight).

The Young Assassin replaces Leon Mynhardt as he was declared medically unfit due to injuries sustained to his eye in the Lightweight Title clash against Dave Mazany at EFC 55 in November. Hawkey who beat a former lightweight contender Sibusiso Mdoko (TKO) on the same night has a well-rounded boxing game complimented by a solid ground game.

He comes face to face with the former Commonwealth boxing champion, Welshman, Azi Thomas. Thomas showed in his loss to Boyd Allen at EFC 53 that he does have the power to hurt his opponent with his slick boxing skills. He has no issues in standing toe-to-toe with Hawkey in a fight that promises to be a slugfest.

This fight is also a contender for fight of the night.

Fight 5: Martin “The Punisher” van Staden vs Kaleka “Block” Kabanda (Catchweight)

Martin van Staden, a veteran of 32 MMA fights, will be looking to put his opponent away early and break his 2 fight losing streak. Van Staden, who recently decided to drop down to lightweight, was originally booked to face Brittan Joe Cummins. Unfortunately Cummins withdrew due to injury. He is a refined brawler with KO power in both hands. This is complemented by his strong ground – and – pound and boxing skills. Whether he can retain his KO power at a lighter weight remains to be seen.

The man on the opposite of the cage is DRC native, Kaleka “Block” Kabanda. Not only is he physically strong with excellent wrestling, he also has good boxing skills. He will look to get back to winning ways after his unanimous decision loss to van Staden’s training parter, Pupanga Tresor at EFC 53.

Prelim fights to watch: The women’s flyweight fight between Shana Power and Jacqualine Trossee is a must see. Power will look to put her recent disappointment of not being able to cut down to the required weight in her title fight against Amanda Lino behind her with a dominant victory to once again become the number one contender for the women’s flyweight title.

Trossee started her EFC career with a dominant victory over Hungarian Zita Varju. She used her superior power and striking to dominate and beat her opponent with a second round TKO. She is looking to fight her way back to the top of the division after her 1st round TKO loss against Amanda Lino at EFC 47.

Another fight to watch is fight in the newly formed women’s strawweight division between South African favourite Danella Eliasov and Spain’s Irene “La Lina” Cabello Rivera. Eliasov is known for her slick Brazilian Jiu – Jitsu Skills and feels that strawweight is a better weight for her to compete in as it is closer to her natural weight.

Eliasov will face the tall, slender frame of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 23 contestant, Irene Rivera. Rivera has a hundred percent finish rate with victories, in all but one fight, coming the way of submission. They will be looking to build the newly formed division that has proved to be a highly competitive division globally.






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