IS THE EFC HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION A BIT LIGHT?
By Edrich Pienaar
The current talent pool of the EFC (Extreme Fighting Championship) Heavyweight Division seems somewhat on the light side.
Only one fighter really stands out. The former two times HW champion, Andrew “One Gear” van Zyl. He boast an impressive record of 16 – 3 (16 wins, 3 losses). Two of his three losses were against former champ Ruan “Fangzz” Potts. The other against the Frenchman Cyril “Silverback” Asker. He also holds one victory over the Potts at EFC 18 to become the HW Champion.
The only fighter that might be a challenge to van Zyl is former champion Danie “Pitbull” van Heerden. Van Heerden was due to defend his HW title against Zimbabwean Elvis “Bomber” Moyo, but was stripped of his belt thanks to a rather unfortunate Facebook post where he compared Moyo to a Gorilla. Also van Heerden won the, then vacant, belt against a Brendon Groenewald in a lack lustre affair at EFC 48. Since moving to Heavyweight, van Heerden, looked unfit and gassed after only 5 minutes in all 3 of his heavyweight clashes.
Even EFC stalwarts like Bernardo Mikixi, Ricky Misholas, Vandam Mbuyi or Wilhelm Strauss will struggle to compete against the granite jaw and high level grappler of van Zyl. Strauss is another example of an overweight, unfit fighter thinking that size is the only thing that matters in the hexagon. With a record of 3 – 6 with all six losses coming by KO / TKO he needs to re-think that strategy.
Both the Angolan Bernardo “Black Panther” and Ricky “Apocolypse” Misholas are examples of talent not quite coming into fruition. The former has a record of 5 – 6 and the latter 3 – 6. The DRC Native, Vandam Mbuyi, has a record of 3 – 4. At 43 years of age he is, by his own omission, 1 fight away from retirement. Even if Ruan “Fangzz” Potts finds himself in the upper tier of the division, would the EFC and fans want to see a 4th fight between himself and van Zyl.
Other honorary mentions is Brendon Groenewald (7 – 4) and Tomasz Kowalkowski (5 – 3). Groenewald (a former HW Champion) is another example of a fighter who doesn’t seem to take his training seriously and focusses more on the art of Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. Kowalkowski himself only weighs about 107kg on fight night. He started his career in the EFC with a stunning KO (by flying knee) against current championship contender Elvis Moyo at EFC 40. Since then he suffered two losses against Groenewald and van Zyl. His weight and grappling skill was horribly exposed by van Zyl who won by TKO in round one.
However, all is not doom and gloom in this division as there is the 28 year old Wessel “Wes Express” Mostert. He has a record of 2 – 0 with a KO victory over Wilhelm Strauss and a victory by Guillotine choke over Ivan Strydom. Not only does he look good standing up, but also on the mat grappling. Only time will tell if he can challenge van Zyl as the division’s top fighter.
So how does the EFC fix this? By actively searching for talent both locally and abroad. EFC President, Cairo Howarth, and Matchmaker, Graeme Cartmell, have successfully done so in the past. They’ve found fighters such and Danny Henry (Featherweight), Azi Thomas (Featherweight), Henry Fadipe (Welterweight), Peter Quelly (Welterweight) and also the current Featherweight Champion, Igeu Kabesa along with various other fighters from the DRC.
Only time will tell if the EFC will be able to up the competition in the Heavyweights division. Let’s hope so.