We have just over a month left before we see the the Mother of all fights happen right here in The Mother City, yip that’s right EFC55 is dubbed Pena vs Sayed as these two bantamweights go head to head in title unification match.
This is a fight I have been waiting months to see and it is finally going to happen right on my doorstep, Angola’s Demarte Pena vs South Africa’s Irshaad Sayed…..should be an Epic Fight both men are raring to go.
Other fights to looks forward to will be Port Elizabeth’s Cameron Pritchard scheduled to face Johannesburg’s Dino Bagattin in Cape Town.
FORMER CHAMP IN THE SIGHTS OF THE FUTURE STAR
Cape Town, South Africa – One of the most well-known and longest standing names in EFC is set to make his return to the Hexagon after over a year long layoff. The former welterweight champion, Dino ‘The Lion’ Bagattin, is confirmed to face the undefeated rising star, Cameron Pritchard in Cape Town at EFC 55 in November.
A protégé of South African MMA legend Chris bright, Port Elizabeth’s Pritchard is undefeated in the welterweight division and carries a one hundred percent finishing rate. Notable for his technical grappling and submission prowess, Pritchard also holds a KO finish over kickboxer Pupanga Tresor. If he manages to notch up another straight win over another one of the organisation’s best, it will undoubtedly put Pritchard into title contention and en-route to being Port Elizabeth’s first ever champion.
Pritchard sustained a knee injury in his fight against Francois Kabulu and has been out of action for just under a year. He feels he still at the top of the division. “This is my first fight back after knee surgery,” stated Pritchard. “I felt I left at the top before I had surgery. So this fight is getting me back to my title chase.”
When asked how this fight will affect his career and fits with his goals he said, “I really feel I’m a contender for the welterweight belt. It has been my dream since I joined EFC.” He concluded, “So beating Dino should definitely put me in a position to fight for the belt.”
Pritchard does not have an easy task in front of him. Bagattin has been fighting in the Hexagon since EFC 01. He has faced the very best and come out on top on numerous occasions. The highlight of his courier saw the Johannesburg local claim the EFC welterweight title by defeating the formidable Michiel Opperman. Now full time training at Fight Fit Militia in Johannesburg, Bagattin has honed his craft on the ground to compliment his world class Muay Thai skillset.
One of the most experienced EFC athletes, Bagattin last fought at EFC 40 over a year ago. “I have been going through some personal issues and family tribulations, but I have been in the gym training day in and day out. The support of my teammates and coaches has been phenomenal and I am looking forward to getting back in the Hexagon and doing what I do.”
When asked if he thinks the time off has affected him at all he responded, “Being out for so long, I feel like Richie has been remolding me, but I am still going to come out and fight like I always do. Fans will see a more rounded athlete; they will see a polished hungry ‘Lion’. My striking is more devastating, I am bringing my kicks back and I still love elbowing the snot out of people.”
“I wanna prove I am still one of the best fighters on the continent.” Stated Bagattin when asked what this fight means to him. He echoed this sentiment further, ”I want to show that I am one of the pioneers and founders of MMA in South Africa and show how far I have come from just a striker to a full Mixed Martial Artist.”
When asked if he has anything to say to Pritchard he responded, “Watch as many videos of my old fights as you want. Prepare for the old ‘Lion’, but you will be facing a new ‘Lion’.”
EFC matchmaker Graeme Cartmell is resolute on the importance of this fight, “In my mind there are four welterweight contenders: Fadipe, Pritchard, Hulme and Gorimbo. Both Hulme and Gorimbo did not want to take the Fadipe fight, at this point in time, to create a true number one contender. Pritchard is the man to watch now with his fight against Bagattin!”
Will EFC Cape Town produce a new welterweight superstar in Pritchard and pave the way for him to have his shot at gold, or will the veteran of the Hexagon use his guile and experience to shut down the rising star? The welterweight champion, Dricus du Plessis waits.
Durban’s Wesley Hawkey is set to face Cape Town’s Francois Groenewald in long awaited rematch….lets call this a Grudge Match.
HAWKEY SEEKS REDEMPTION
Hawkey has fought the best and has even given bantamweight champion Demarte Pena arguably his biggest challenge yet. Known for his incredible boxing pedigree, Hawkey has shown a vast maturity in recent bouts with his wrestling and submission skills. Since his move to Team MMA Fighter under Morne Swanepoel he has become a more rounded athlete. Always the smaller man in the featherweight division, Hawkey will now have the size and power advantage over his opponents.
However, Groenewald is a known Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist, a well-known blackbelt in the deadly art. Completely adept at sinking in submissions, he has won all but one of his fights thusly. These two have met before, prior to signing with EFC, which resulted in Groenewald submitting Hawkey with an armbar.
Hawkey has been outspoken about another shot at the championship, “Unfortunately for Franna he is the last piece to my puzzle in my pursuit of EFC gold. My hand will be raised in Cape Town and I will be the number one bantamweight contender.”
Has Hawkey fixed his holes truly, or will Groenewald expose him again, but this time, in front of millions of fans?
Potts set to face Groenewald at EFC 55 in Cape Town – Heavyweight clash of note.
A CAPE COLLISION OF EPIC PROPORTIONS
Cape Town, South Africa – EFC Cape Town, taking place in November, quite simply is going to be crazy! The bantamweight title unification fight is headlining the historic event, but that’s not all. Today it has been confirmed that two former heavyweight champions are also scheduled to collide. Ruan ‘Fangzz’ Potts and Brendon Groenewald will meet inside the Hexagon for the first time on 11 November.
Potts is a two-time EFC heavyweight champion, originally from Cape Town, he is the man that dominated the division before competing in the UFC. While he had a shaky start in his return to EFC, he turned heads with a sublime performance and devastating armbar finish over the giant Vandam Mbuyi. Now back in the winning column, Potts has his eye firmly set on gold and will want to harness his winning momentum towards another victory.
The Cape Town local and city favourite, Brendon Groenewald claimed EFC gold with an onslaught of heavy punches to get the TKO victory and the EFC heavyweight crown. Since claiming the title, he has had an up and down career but ultimately has fallen short in reclaiming the EFC championship. If Groenewald wants to get back to the top of the biggest division in the organistaion, he will need to defeat another EFC great, and this fight against Potts is his perfect opportunity.
All the above matches take place on the main card at EFC55 ahead of the Champion vs Champion, bantamweight title unification match on Friday 11 November 2016 at GrandWest, Cape Town. Tickets are on sale now at http://www.computicket.com, and the 5 main card bouts will be broadcast live on kwesesports.com and Kwesé Free Sports channel in Kenya, starting at 20:00 (CAT) and delayed live on e.tv after the 20:30 movie in South Africa.
For more information visit efcworldwide.com, or follow us at facebook.com/EFCworldwide and Twitter:twitter.com/EFCworldwide.
PS: Check out EFC 54 at Sun City Johannesburg 15 th October 2016 if you cannot wait till November.