Wednesday, 18 April 2012

MMA Pound for Pound Rankings - April 2012

April brought with it some change to my pound for pound rankings. Firstly, fighters who have been inactive for too long a period were removed, this included local MMA legends Chris Bright, Rico Hattingh and Darren Daniel. EFC 13 too had an effect on the rankings as some fighters really put up their hands as top contenders in their respective divisions and pound for pound rankings. As a result this month’s ranking list is adorned by four new names. Here are my new South African MMA pound for pound rankings:

1. Jeremy “Pitbull” Smith (11-1)

Jeremy Smith has achieved more in his young MMA career than most South African MMA fighters. Currently on an 11 fight winning streak, the Pitbull has defeated local and international talent alike. On 2 March 2012, Jeremy Smith removed any doubt of him being the best fighter in the country by defeating a very game Garreth McLellan to earn the EFC Africa Middleweight title.

2. Costa Ioannou (4-0)

Costa Ioannou has been a dominant force in the EFC lightweight division since his debut in 2010,  manhandling his opponents en route the EFC Africa lightweight title. Ioannou was also the first fighter to successfully defend his EFC title in 2011, and still undefeated,  shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. Costa Ioannou will face former welterweight champion Adam Speechly in a lightweight title fight at EFC Africa 14.

3. Jadyson “Little Wanderlei” Costa (13-12)

Jadyson Costa has looked all but unstoppable in the EFC Hexagon. African Top Team’s Brazilian BJJ black belt has won all three of his EFC fights, and has received two submission of the night awards. At EFC 13, Costa dominated Dallas Jakobi to win the EFC Africa welterweight title and earn himself a place as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the South Africa.

4. Ruan “Fangzz” Potts (14-0)

Ruan Potts has had a dream run in the EFC, finishing every fighter the promotion has put in his path. In 2011 Potts earned himself the coveted EFC Africa heavyweight title, and later that year became the second man to successfully defend his title, mere minutes after Ioannou. Ruan Potts has won an extraordinary 14 fights in a row and has yet to be defeated in professional MMA.

5. Garreth “Soldierboy” McLellan (6-2)

Garreth McLellan has evolved as a fighter over the past few years and now shows a completely well rounded game. McLellan, now 5-1 in the EFC, showed just why he is on this list in his titanic clash with Jeremy Smith at EFC 12, a fight in which he had the champion and P4P #1 in trouble on several occasions.

6. Michiel Opperman (10-6)

Riding an impressive 7 fight win streak against some of South Africa ‘s top MMA fighters, Opperman is on the brink of EFC Glory. At EFC 13, Opperman defeated Martin van Staden to become the number one welterweight contender. Opperman is a fighter who looks better each time he steps into the Hexagon and I look forward to seeing him challenging for the welterweight title in the near future.

7. Brendon Katz (7-1)

Brendon Katz’ sole professional loss was at the hands of Costa Ioannou in a fight of the night clash. Shy of that, Katz has racked up 7 wins, won an XFC title and has now made the jump to fighting internationally with great success. 

8. Demarte “The Wolf” Pena (3-0)

Reigning EFC Africa featherweight champion Demarte Pena is undefeated in the Hexagon and has defeated some of the top featherweights in the country. The wolf will face his greatest test when he meets dangerous contender Wesley Hawkey in his first title defence.

9. Wesley “The Young Assassin” Hawkey (7-2)

Wesley Hawkey has spent all of 5 minutes in the EFC Hexagon. In this time he has managed to string together 3 impressive wins, including a number one contender eliminator win against Denzil Wait. The Young Assassin will look to continue his impressive streak when he challenges Demarte Pena for the EFC featherweight title at EFC 14 in June.

10. Norman “Chef” Wessels (5-2)

Norman Wessels eradicated any doubts about his light heavyweight drop when he defeated Dain Neveling at EFC 13 in convincing fashion. Wessels, the former heavyweight champion, looked at his fighting best and sent a clear message of intent to the light heavyweight division. 


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