Friday, 1 July 2011

Ruan Potts vs Norman Wessels EFC Heavyweight Title Fight

Two straight wins in the EFC heavyweight division, against Calven Robinson and Obutube Baygon, lead Ruan “Fangszz” Potts (12-0) to reigning EFC heavyweight champion Norman “Chef” Wessels. Wessels (4-1) too was enjoying a fantastic run in the division, a three straight win spree which had already earned him the most coveted title in South Africa MMA, the EFC Africa Heavyweight belt. The fight would be the biggest test for both men, who had all but cruised through their previous bouts.

Potts vs Wessels - Tale of the tape

Ruan Potts
Norman Wessels
South African
South African

Ruan Potts and Norman Wessels came into the fight virtually the same on paper. A couple of kilos and a couple of centimetres the only difference in favour of the challenger Ruan Potts.

The fight bell saw both fighters calmly touch gloves in the centre of the hexagon, and then fall into their fight stance. Respectful of each other, they spent the better part of the first minute feeling each other out. From the word go, there was a noticeable difference in the approach of the fighters. Wessels looked light on his feet and seemed to be moving well, while Potts seemed a lot more solid, almost flat footed. 

The fight came to life in an instant with Potts closing the distance, tying up Wessels and then executing a beautiful hip throw to put him on the canvas and move into full mount. What should have been a very precarious position was easily escaped from by Wessels who showed great composure under the mass that is Ruan Potts. This was by no means the end as Potts would string together multiple submission attempts as Wessels tried to free himself. In his struggle to escape, Wessels accidentally stomped on Ruan’s face, which resulted in a restart standing.  Apologies all round and the action resumed.

The next few minutes were relatively uneventful, until Fangzz managed to take Chef to the ground and take full mount yet again. Obtaining this dominant position was almost too easy for Ruan Potts. Once more however, Norman Wessels managed to escape the position and evade the ensuing armbar attempt, but this time managed to take top side control and land a few shots of his own. Potts in turn managed to escape this position, but not before eating a huge knee from the champion.

The next minute was rather boring, with Wessels attempting a few rather feeble kicks to Potts as he lay on his back. The referee would eventually stand them up with 1 minute left on the clock in the first. The round was seen out with the fighters in a clinch against the cage. The only significant shot a left hand from Potts on the exit. Round 1 Ruan Potts.

Round two started a lot quicker, with Wessels taking the fight to Potts. Nothing of consequence landed though, barring a front push kick, and soon the fighters resumed their first round monotony, with neither fighter wishing to engage. The fighters simply followed each other around the ring, throwing ineffective strikes intermittently. Ruan Potts attempted a couple of horrific takedowns, which didn’t put Wessels in much danger. Round two was rapidly dwindling away without any action.

With 1:30 left on the clock however, Potts landed a single leg take down, but in doing so exposed his neck which Normal Wessels instantly latched onto and sunk a very deep choke into. Some nervous seconds ensued, but Ruan Potts managed to use his high level BJJ game to escape the choke and reverse the position. Wessels however landed some elbows from the bottom, before pushing Potts off him and returning to his feet. Round two ended with another thirty seconds of Ruan Potts on his back, while Wessels danced around him. Round 2 Norman Wessels. One round a piece. 

Comparative to the previous rounds, Round 3 started with a bang as Ruan Potts fired a few head kicks. The fighters then ended up in the clinch, where both worked quite effectively, landing knees and elbows. After a couple of minutes of hard work, the fighters split and began to box with a little more intent, both landing their best shots of the fight. In one of these exchanges Ruan Potts managed to land a slicing elbow, which opened Norman’s head and left Chef spouting blood. Sensing weakness, Potts swarmed Wessels, landing huge blows, some of which that were answered. This flurry of strikes lead to a takedown and some heavy ground and pound which forced Wessels to give up his back. Potts took his back, sunk both his hooks in and continued to unload on the flattened champion until referee Arno Pienaar was forced to stop the fight, snapping Norman Wessel’s three fight win streak and declaring Ruan Potts the new EFC Africa Heavyweight champion.

EFC 9 - Ruan Potts vs Norman Wessels Full Fight Video