Saturday, 8 December 2012

2012 Submission of the year - Wesley Hawkey - MMASA Awards

Across the seven events this year, the EFC Hexagon saw plenty of submission victories. My submission of the year takes us right back to March 2012 and EFC 12, when Wesley Hawkey and Denzil Wait entered the Hexagon to determine the number one featherweight contender.

Hawkey was touted to have the superior standup, while many believed Wait would hold an advantage on the ground. What transpired was equally unexpected and impressive. After landing up on his back early, Hawkey effortlessly slapped on a tight armbar, which Wait, lifting Hawkey off the ground, barely managed to escape. Minutes later however, Wesley Hawkey managed to conjure up another top-drawer armbar out of thin air. This time Hawkey kept Wait on the mat, forced the tap and earned his featherweight title shot in emphatic style.

Wesley Hawkey's spectacular submission victory over Denzil Wait was one of only four armbar submissions in 2012.

Submission of the year - Notable mentions

Michiel Opperman vs Martin van Staden

After being taken down early in the first round of their EFC 13 fight, Michiel Opperman weathered an early storm from Martin van Staden. Opperman held his nerve, worked his way back to standing and sunk in a tight standing guillotine choke to win the fight and earn himself a welterweight title shot against Jadyson Costa.

Demarte Pena vs Wesley Hawkey

In a fight that Hawkey was undeniably winning on points, Demarte Pena showed great awareness, composure and skill to grasp a rare opportunity and sink in a fight winning rear-naked choke. The submission victory kept the belt around Pena’s waist and his undefeated record firmly intact

Michiel Opperman vs Jadyson Costa

Michiel Opperman stunned the MMA community when he defeated Jadyson Costa by submission at EFC 16. Opperman, a severe underdog, sunk in a rear-naked choke in the first frame to defeat the BJJ black belt and become the EFC Africa welterweight champion.

To see all award winners, visit my 2012 MMASA Awards page

Monday, 3 December 2012

2012 KO of the year - JP Joubert - MMASA Awards

There were relatively few knock-outs in the Hexagon this year, which made awarding the Knock out of the year simpler in some respects and a lot more difficult in others. However, when looking at 2012, there was one knockout which stood out, as it not only defined a career, but turned an entire division on its head – JP Joubert’s knockout of Norman Wessels at EFC Africa 15.

This knockout was anything but routine. After a brutal first round in which Wessels punished him with elbows on the ground, Joubert looked all but beaten. The second round however saw a change in fortunes for the Bull, who came out swinging, and after one of the most entertaining rounds of the year, managed to unload a plethora of punches on Wessels, knocking him out and earning himself the EFC Africa light heavyweight title.

KO of the year - Notable mentions

Jadyson Costa vs Dallas Jakobi

Jadyson Costa’s dominant performance over Dallas Jakobi at EFC 13 culminated in an impressive KO victory. With a vicious right hand Costa sent Jakobi sprawling to the canvas and earned himself the welterweight title.

Jeremy Smith vs Darren Daniel

Smith vs Daniel put two of the divisions most aggressive fighters into the Hexagon together. Daniel landed some good shots from range early on and looked in charge of the fight. Things changed when the fighters got close as Smith managed to land a left hook which sent Daniel to the mat. Smith would end the fight seconds later to retain his middleweight title.

Gareth Buirski vs Markus Taljaard

At EFC Africa 16, Gareth Buirski displayed his one punch knockout power as he finished Markus Taljaard with a monster right hand in the second round of their featherweight fight. Taljaard was carried out of the Hexagon on a stretcher.

To see all award winners, visit my 2012 MMASA Awards page

Sunday, 2 December 2012

2012 Fight of the year - McLellan vs Smith - MMASA Awards

The MMA year started with a bang when EFC Africa middleweight champion Garreth “Soldierboy” McLellan and decorated challenger Jeremy “Pitbull” Smith squared off for the middleweight title in a fight which was billed as the biggest fight ever on African soil. The fight didn't disappoint.

Both fighters came into the fight after a long training camp and looked well prepared, fit and strong. What ensued after the bell rang, was a tactical battle which seesawed in favour of each of the fighters in turn. The game plans were spot on and neither fighter seemed to gas – a sign of an ever increasing professionalism within the South African sphere of the sport. Lasting almost four rounds the fight showcased some of the best skills that South African MMA has to offer and set the stage for a great MMA year.

Jeremy Smith eventually won the fight via Guillotine choke in the fourth round to become the new EFC Africa middleweight champion.
In search of a rematch McLellan went on a rampage which set the middleweight division alight.

For all of these reasons – Garreth McLellan vs Jeremy Smith is my 2012 fight of the year.

Fight of the year - Notable mentions

Don Madge vs Leon Mynhardt

The lightweight clash between striking legends Don Madge and Leon Mynhardt at EFC 13 was a brutal striking masterclass. Madge started strong and almost finished the fight in the first frame, but Mynhardt rallied in the second and took the fight to the Muay Thai standout. Although the two warriors delivered a spectacular show, the fight was shrouded in controversy after a rather anticlimactic finish in the third round which saw Mynhardt the victor and Madge somewhat confused and disappointed.

Costa Ioannou vs Adam Speechly

The lightweight title fight between EFC titans Costa Ioannou and Adam Speechly at EFC 14 was always going to be a grappling extravaganza. Speechly weathered a strong start by the champion and turned the tides on a exhausted Ioannou in the middle rounds. Ioannou however dug deep and eventually managed to eke out a unanimous decision victory after a five round grappling war.

To see all award winners, visit my 2012 MMASA Awards page