Johannesburg, South Africa – If tonight was anything to go by, 2017 promises to be a cracking year for EFC fans and athletes!

Danny Henry avenged the only loss of his EFC career tonight as Carnival City played host to EFC 57, a historic night to mark the first event of the year. In beating Igeu Kabesa, he regained the featherweight belt and promised to dominate the division for the foreseeable future.

The main card bout started at an electric pace, with the defending champion wasting no time in assuming the role of aggressor. After landing some early shots, Kabesa put his superior wrestling skills on for all the world to see, dominating Henry in every aspect. Henry was visibly rattled, but gained his composure after Kabesa seemed to ease off. Henry capitalized on a lapse in concentration from Kabesa, and managed to lock in a watertight Anaconda choke which left the champion with no option but to tap. Henry regains the title from the man he lost it to almost exactly a year ago and takes the belt back to his native Scotland.

In the co-main event, heavyweights Elvis Moyo and Mike Vermeulen had to get through each other for a potential shot at Andrew van Zyl’s belt. Moyo wasted no time, delivering a devastating TKO to Vermuelen after being dropped early in the first. Moyo recovered from an early scare to deliver a stunning right hook to Vermeulen’s jaw that sent him to the mat. Moyo sealed the victory by following up with some destructive ground and pound to stop the fight. His victory lines up what could be one of 2017’s most anticipated rematches for the heavyweight title.

Much had been made of Martin van Staden’s drop to lightweight ahead of EFC 57, with many questioning whether he could maintain his strength. He proved his doubters wrong with a TKO victory in the second round after surviving an early onslaught from Christian Holley, the EFC debutant representing Spain. Early in the first, Holley seemed to have locked in a choke. Van Staden did well to escape but remained on the back foot for most of the first round. Holley emerged for the second seemingly deflated after not being able to finish the fight. The South African capitalised early in the round, landing heavy ground and pound from on top after a clever double leg takedown which forced Bobby Karagiannidis to stop the bout.

Wessel Mostert maintained his unbeaten record with a devastating TKO over Englishman Tony Mustard inside the first round. After an initial exchange of heavy blows, Mostert opened up out of the clinch to land an elbow over the top which dropped Mustard. The local hero quickly rained down shots from top position, leaving referee Wiekus Swart with no option but to call it.

Gordon Roodman got back into the win column with an immaculate display of striking, resulting in a decision victory over Georgi Georgiev. The Bulgarian Georgiev did well to survive three rounds of pure punishment from Roodman, who has put himself back on the map after possibly the best fight of his professional career.

Official EFC 57 results:

Bokang Masunyane defeated Luthando Biko unanimous decision.
Tayla Kennedy defeated Pope Djembo via TKO (punches) 3:24 into round 1.
Devon Cronje defeated Yusuf Hassan via submission submission (RNC) 4:46 in round 1.

Anicet Kanyeba defeated Gorilla Ossoko via TKO (punches) 2:28 in round 1.
Pierre Botha defeated Sizwe Mnikathi via unanimous decision.
Gordon Roodman defeated Georgi Georgiev via unanimous decision.
Wessel Mostert defeated Tony Mustard via TKO (punches and elbows) 4:28 in round 1.
Martin van Staden defeated Christian Holley via TKO (punches) 1:00 in round 2.
Elvis Moyo defeated Michael Vermeulen viaTKO (punches) 2:40 in round 1.
Daniel Henry defeated Igeu Kabesa via submission (Ananconda Choke)  in round 1.