Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Adam Speechly - EFC 14 lightweight title shot controversy

The prospect of two of South Africa’s premier grapplers squaring off in the Hexagon is a mouth-watering one for any MMA fan. Add to this the fact that both men are accomplished MMA fighters, who have owned EFC Gold and you have the makings for a titanic clash. This is essentially what the EFC have done by matching reigning EFC Africa lightweight champion Costa Ioannou against former EFC Africa welterweight champion Adam Speechly at EFC Africa 14.

The timing of this bout however is completely wrong, and does a lot to detract from the grandeur of the event. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, this is the second time in as many events that the EFC has made a faux pas in selecting title challengers (the first I discussed in my article about Jadyson Costa's welterweight title shot).

Adam "The Prodigy" Speechly (12-3)

Adam Speechly (#2 Welterweight Rankings) is a great MMA fighter and holds notable wins over Dallas Jakobi, Dino Bagattin and Nolan Swanepoel. He has also won ample grappling events and was the first EFC Africa Welterweight champion. 

Adam Speechly was unsuccessful in his first title defence against Dallas Jakobi at EFC 10, his most recent outing in the EFC. Speechly has also lost two of his last three fights and has not fought since September last year.

Now, accomplished as Adam Speechly is and, exciting as a matchup with Ioannou promises to be, it is always going to be hard to sell Speechly as the current, legitimate number 1 contender.

Adam Speechly at lightweight

I am not denying the fact that I intrinsically like the idea of Adam Speechly vs Costa Ioannou. I happen to think it’s a great match and that Speechly’s move to lightweight is a prudent one.  I however think that the EFC should have gone about it in a different way and given Speechly a fight or two at lightweight to prove himself and earn his shot at Costa Ioannou’s title. 

Lightweight title contenders

Here are three far less controversial fights which Ioannou could have had:
  • Ryan van Niekerk, as I discussed in my article 5 fights to make after EFC 12.
  • Wentzel Nel, who has strung together two straight wins since losing his title to Ioannou.
  • Chris Bright, my #2 Lightweight in South Africa, who isn't currently contracted to the EFC, but has expressed an interest in fighting Ioannou.


Unfortunately Chris Bright and Brendon Katz as far as I know are unable to compete in EFC.EFC wants to be the dominant force behind mma in SA yet they restrict two top quality fighters from competing.This article is spot on, as much as Speechly is a good fighter because he dropped divisions should not allow him an automatic title shot.

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