Thursday, 8 March 2012

5 Matches to make after EFC 12

Costa Ioannou
EFC Africa 12 was a great event, showcasing some great local fighting talent. A week later, the dust having settled, we are once more able to look forward to some great future MMA events. EFC 13 is just around the corner, and rumours of EFC 14 in May have already started to circle. Here is my list of matches to make post EFC 12:

Jeremy Smith vs Tyron Rightford
Middleweight Title Fight
Jeremy Smith realised his dream of being the EFC Africa Middleweight champion by defeating Garreth McLellan at EFC 12. Now at the top, he will have a host of hungry fighters nipping at his heels and Smith will have his work cut out for him staying atop a stacked Middleweight division. Contender Tyron Rightford (#4 Middleweight Rankings) is perfectly poised to challenge the new champion, having strung together 3 straight wins in the EFC Hexagon. Both Smith and Rightford are dangerous strikers and regular finishers and this promises to be an explosive standing battle.

Demarte Pena vs Wesley Hawkey
Featherweight Title Fight
This fight is a no brainer and already seems to be in the pipelines. When Wesley Hawkey defeated Denzil Wait at EFC 12, he solidified his position as the number one contender for the featherweight title, a title which is held by Demarte Pena. Pena has defeated some of the EFC’s top featherweight fighters, but has yet to be truly dominant in a bout. Hawkey, who has finished all of his EFC opponents in under two minutes, will prove a great test for the young champion.

Costa Ioannou vs Ryan van Niekerk
Lightweight Title Fight
Costa Ioannou has been out of action since his first title defence at EFC 11 almost 5 months ago. The dominant lightweight champion will surely be itching to return to the Hexagon. Ioannou has already defeated most of the top contenders in his division, which makes matchmaking a chore. Enter Ryan van Niekerk, a former fight force champion, whose EFC 12 victory against Markus Taljaard increased his current win streak to 4. This battle of the lightweight champions will be a great matchup between two fighters with very different styles.

Garreth McLellan vs Danie van Heerden
Middleweight Fight
Garreth McLellan showed the qualities of a champion, both inside and outside the Hexagon, in his EFC 12 clash with Jeremy Smith. The former middleweight champion will be looking to rebuild after his first defeat in the hexagon, and who better to test him than the new Danie van Heerden. Van Heerden has fought some of the biggest names in the EFC, but has never looked as good as he did on Friday night. Was it a fluke, or is Van Heerden the real deal at middleweight? McLellan will reveal the answer.

Michiel Opperman vs Martin van Staden
Welterweight Fight
Michiel Opperman’s submission victory over Dino Bagattin at EFC 12 shook up the welterweight divisiĆ³n. For many months, the EFC has been trying to get Bagattin and van Staden into the cage to determine the number one welterweight contender. With his victory over Bagattin, the honour of fighting Martin van Staden is now bestowed on Opperman. Martin Van Staden is already back in training after his untimely injury earlier this year, and this bout will be a great test for both men.


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