By Makhosi Ayande Tshipa

With a whimper and a great bang, the 61st instalment of Africa’s greatest fighting platform, the Extreme Fighting Championships, came and went this past weekend at the beautiful Sun City Casino and Resort.

The main event of the evening saw the long awaited Heavyweight title fight between the hard hitting Wessel “Wess Express” Mostert and the ever improving Andrew “One Gear” Van Zyl. The evening also saw the the return of the DRC’s Champion Dalcha, in his first outing as the Light-heavyweight champion of the world.

The event saw the debut of 2016 Last Fighter Standing (LFS) finalist Gunther Kalunda who made an impressive introduction with a second round KO of his fellow debutant, Francois Strydom. Also making their first furore out of the amateur ranks were Tresor Boluwa, Radley de Vries and the younger of the dangerous Mikixi brothers, Tshilumba ‘The Old Monkey’ Mikixi. All of the debutants had mixed fortunes in what turned out to be a night of upsets and surprises.

Bellator MMA’s former heavyweight prospect, Stuart ‘He-man’ Austin also made his EFC debut against veteran Elvis Moyo, producing what was probably the biggest upset of the night. Stuart went into the fight as an overwhelming (5/2) underdog but managed to use his reach advantage to keep the heavy-hitting at bay to cruise to a unanimous judges’ decision, winning over the heavily favoured Moyo.

This article is about as exciting as the night itself was, and, as you can probably tell already, it wasn’t all that exciting. Not necessarily that any fighters underperformed or that there was bad officiating. The fighters all came to fight and gave their best –  there were stoppages, submissions and tightly contested decisions wins and losses –  but the night lacked that one special moment, that spark to make the night live forever in people’s minds…that was, until the DRC’s Champion Dalcha stepped onto the scene. Dalcha was matched against hard hitting Frenchman Alan ‘Black Samourai’ Baudot, who was making his first appearance in the EFC having racked up an impressive 6-0-0 record (6 KOs), with all of the KOs coming in the first round. It was expected to be a war, and for as long as it lasted, it was a titanic battle. Normally, the first round is reserved for the feeling out process and range finding, but these two definitely did not have any such time to waste. They felt each other out before the first bell went off, and, it seems, thereafter, both felt they had a good measure of each other and all that was left was to put the other away. The Frenchman took the fight to the Congolese giant, closing the gap and throwing a fluffy immediately after the bell went off, and Dalcha, never one to shy away from a challenge, duly obliged.

The two traded shots in the middle of the cage for a short period and Dalcha was visibly stunned for and backed away for a second, but before he could get any reprieve the Frenchman was upon him for a second engagement, throwing a thundering right hand to his jaw. By this time Dalcha was in full survival mode, and ducked under the right and responded with a thunderous, venomous overhand right of his own, which, unfortunately for the raucous live crowd, and the millions who were watching the live broadcast worldwide, found its home on the frenchman’s jaw, and that ladies and gentleman, was how she flew.  The actual moment was surreal, fans and officials alike were momentarily dumbstruck, struggling to fully comprehend what they had just witnessed. The stricken Frenchman was unfortunately not present to savour this historic moment that he was such a big part of, he simply fell face first onto the canvas and only returned to the land of the living a full round (3 minutes) after the fight was waved off. The crowd went Ballistic, Dalcha was beyond himself, the night was made, and heaven almost opened its gates to receive a French angel into the ranks of its armies. That KO was the moment of the night, Dalcha was the man of the night, the night was suddenly a night of the nights, and eventually when Baudot regained consciousness and the gracefully raised Dalcha’s hands in a sportsmanly gesture defeat, the night was complete. If the curtains had come down on EFC 61 at that moment nobody would have complained at all, but EFC worldwide still had a card up their sleeves, the main event, Van Zyl defending his title against the on fire ‘Wess Express’ Mostert.

Van Zyl won the fight, as reputable pundits expected, after pulling off his trademark third round ground and pound stoppage of the game Mostert, thus improving to an impressive 15-3-0 record, whilst Mostert succumbed to his first ever professional loss, falling to 4-1-0. southafricanmma.com would hereby like to congratulate Van Zyl for this landmark victory, and I think we speak for all South African MMA fans when we say that we are all excited to see what the future holds in store for the ever improving 34 year old Parktown Boys High School teacher.

 Other results on the night:

Luthando Biko def. Clauded Ntumba (UD)

Gunther Kalunda def. Francois Strydom (TKO, round 2)

Pietie Coxen def. Tresor Baluwa (submission (RNC), round 2)

Josemar Octavio def. Radley de Vries (submission, (Armbar) round 1)

Tshilumba Mikixi def. Rodrique Kena (TKO, round 1)

Warren Allison def. Roelof Scheepers (Submission, round 1)

Regis Muyambo def. Oumpie Sebeko (submission (armbar), round 1)

Faeez Jacobs def. Kevin Pheko (TKO, round 1)

Alain Ilunga def. Anicet Kanyeba (UD)

Stuart Austin def. Elvis Moyo (UD)

Champion Dalcha def. Alan Baudot (SPECTACULAR TKO, round 1)

Andrew Van Zyl def. Wessel Mostert (ground and pound, round 3)