Thursday, 5 April 2012

Martin van Staden vs Michiel Opperman EFC 13 fight preview

The welterweight division will be  squarely in the spotlight at EFC 13. The event, the EFC’s first in Cape Town, will not only play host to a welterweight title fight between Dallas Jakobi and Jadyson Costa, but a number one contender match between Martin van Staden and Michiel Opperman. With such a high profile welterweight fight card, EFC 13 could drastically change the landscape of the division.

Martin “The Punisher” van Staden (18-5)

Martin van Staden (#4 Welterweight rankings) is one of the most experienced MMA fighters in South Africa and has fought some of the toughest men in the country, including EFC Middleweight champion Jeremy Smith and EFC Welterweight Champion Dallas Jakobi. Van Staden also has international experience with a fight against UFC fighter Brian Ebersole.

Currently on a three fight winning streak in the EFC, van Staden has finished all three of his opponents - Steven Momah, Francois Kabulu and Nolan Swanepoel.

The Punisher was originally slated to fight Dino Bagattin at EFC 10 and EFC 12, but injuries lead to both fights being cancelled. Martin van Staden will finally have the chance to prove he is the number one contender in the welterweight division when he takes on Michiel Opperman at EFC 13.

Michiel Opperman (9-6)

Michiel Opperman (#3 Welterweight rankings) is currently on a six fight winning streak across two divisions with victories over Danie van Heerden, Johan van Staden, Kelvin Mwale, Ronald Dlamini, Daniel Sinclair and Dino Bagattin. Opperman has finished 5 of these fights.

At EFC 12, Michiel Opperman made his move to welterweight in a high profile bout against Dino Bagattin. Opperman looked impressive standing and on the ground and eventually defeated Bagattin via second round triangle choke. With this win Opperman proved that he is a serious contender in the welterweight division and will want to continue his vein of good form when he enters the Hexagon against Martin van Staden at EFC 13.

EFC 13 Fighter Comparison

Both Martin van Staden and Michiel Opperman are experienced fighters and have shown to be well rounded mixed martial artists. Martin van Staden does however  have the more impressive resume.

Standing I have to give the advantage to Opperman, who has the better striking pedigree and enjoys a marginal height advantage. Opperman also showed great composure under fire in the Bagattin fight.

While Opperman’s ground game has improved dramatically in recent fights, the ground certainly favours Martin van Staden, who is not only a high level grappler, but the owner of some vicious ground and pound.

Conditioning could also be a huge factor in this fight. Opperman will be entering the cage after back to back fight camps, van Staden after a long injury break. Due to the fact that neither of Opperman’s camps were particularly long, this should favour him greatly and he should enter the Hexagon with a slight advantage.

Martin van Staden vs Michiel Opperman EFC 13 prediction

Michiel Opperman is not the most aggressive striker, which plays into Martin van Staden’s hands.Given time to figure out his opponent,  Van Staden is an expert at identifying and exploiting weaknesses. As the fight progresses,  I believe Van Staden will begin to dictate the pace and look to take it to the mat. A lot will depend on Opperman’s ability to land counter strikes while defending the take down. I believe Van Staden will have a tough time getting him down, but will eventually succeed in the second round, secure his position and end the fight via ground and pound TKO.

That being said, I have the hugest respect for Opperman’s abilities and would not be at all surprised if I was proved wrong courtesy of a solid punch.


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