Sunday, 8 January 2012

Top 5 MMA Middleweights in South Africa

The Middleweight division in South African MMA is stacked, to say the least. With many of the country’s most talented and experienced fighters crammed into one weight class, it is sure to produce some interesting matchups and plenty of fireworks in the near future. This Middleweight ranking list has been compiled based upon my knowledge of the fighters, their performance history as well as recent form. Without further ado, I give you my South African Middleweight rankings:
1.       Jeremy “The Pitbull” Smith (10–1)
Jeremy Smith has been involved in South African MMA from its humble beginnings and has seen and done it all. The Pitbull has competed at the highest levels in South African MMA and is one of the few South African fighters to have enjoyed success in the United States. Jeremy brings a wealth of experience to the Hexagon, coupled with his brutal kickboxing and ground and pound. Currently undefeated in the EFC, Smith is confident that he can take the EFC Africa Middleweight crown from current title-holder Garreth McLellan in March 2012 and cement his place as MMA’s top Middleweight in the country.

2.       Garreth “Soldierboy” McLellan (6-1)
EFC Africa’s Middleweight poster boy and reigning champion, Garreth McLellan has been a stalwart in the promotion right from the start. Having bested the likes of Wade Henderson and recently Jacques Joubert to capture the title, McLellan has proved to be a complete fighter, with no apparent weaknesses. Fighting out of the dominant Fight Fit Militia club, McLellan will certainly be prepared to face Jeremy Smith in their upcoming EFC Middleweight Title bout, the winner of which will no doubt lay claim to the title of top MMA Middleweight in South Africa.

3.       Donavin “Bam Bamz” Hawkey (20-7)
A relative newcomer to the EFC Middleweight division, Hawkey is no slouch in the cage. With 27 professional bouts to his name, Donavin Hawkey made a name for himself in various other local promotions as a Light Heavyweight. Widely regarded as one of the best fighters in the country, Hawkey, who boasts exceptional stand-up pedigree, will likely find a permanent home on this list as he begins to stretch his legs in the hexagon.

4.       Darren “Double D” Daniel (5-1)
Darren Daniel is highly respected amongst the MMA elite. With notable wins over some of South Africa’s top MMA fighters, including current EFC Africa Welterweight champion Dallas Jakobi, Daniel is surely one of the greatest fighting talents South Africa has produced. Another Fight Fit Militia product, Daniel is ever improving as a fighter. Although quiet of late, there are whispers of Daniel’s return to the EFC and upon his return, is at most one win away from an EFC Africa Middleweight title shot.

5.       Tyron “The Rush” Rightford (3-0)
A newcomer to MMA and the EFC, Rightford has quickly risen through the Middleweight ranks, besting everyone put in front him. The Rush’s recent demolition of MMA veteran Jacques Joubert at EFC Africa 11 earned him a position on this list and identified him as genuine contender in the Middleweight division. With a style similar to former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, Tyron Rightford uses his explosive Karate to simply outclass his opponents on the feet. If his, as of yet untested, ground game is solid, Rightford  could very well be a future EFC Africa Middleweight champion.


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