EFC 82: Two championship legacies in the making
EFC returns to the home of African MMA, Carnival City, Johannesburg on 28 September in what will be an action packed night as two new champions will be crowned.
The welterweight Grand Prix comes to a climatic conclusion when Zimbabwe’s Themba Gorimbo (7-2) and South Africa’s Luke Michael (4-3) clash in the main event. And, new Cameroonian challenger, Simon Biyong (5-1) rises in the light heavyweight division to face No.1 contender, South Africa’s undefeated Quinton Rossouw (3-0) for the EFC title.
The EFC welterweight Grand Prix was first announced in March this year where four of the organisation’s top contenders would face-off in a knockout style tournament over several events. The contenders were named: Themba Gorimbo, Jose Da Rocha, Luke Michael and Conrad Seabi.
The first match up was between Gorimbo and Da Rocha, with Michael scheduled to face Seabi to determine the second spot in the final round.
Over three grueling hard-fought rounds, Gorimbo emerged the victor in the first fight of the tournament at EFC 79 to secure his spot in the finals.
“I told EFC, this ain’t a Grand Prix. We fought the hardest fight tonight, and it is a one man show now. All these guys want to fight for the belt, I want to win the belt! They will fight me, but they will lose!” Gorimbo shouted to the crowd in his post-fight interview that night.
Gorimbo aims to become Zimbabwe’s first ever EFC champion and is hot on that path to making it a reality.
Michael’s path to the finals has been less than smooth sailing for the young South African. Originally set to face Seabi at EFC 76, Michael withdrew a month out with a knee injury. This bout was then rescheduled for EFC 78 in Cape Town where Seabi was not allowed to compete due to hitting his head in the sauna during his weight cut. A third and final reschedule was made for the two, and again, it was not to be.
Although Seabi missed weight, the fight was to go on regardless, but in a turn of events the fight was yet again called off. Michael’s brain scans came back and the EFC medical team did not clear him to fight due to an anomaly found.
“Safety is our number one concern, and when the medical team say it is not safe, we listen. We will always rather err on the side of caution when it comes to athletes’ health.” explains EFC President Cairo Howarth
Upon deeper inspection with his full medical history, Michael has been cleared by EFC medical officials. He is more motivated than ever to compete in the Hexagon after so many delays.
“Seabi needs to prove he can make welterweight before we can give him a title fight. We will be offering a new opponent soon,” explained Cartmell.
This makes Michael the unofficial winner of their bracket and earning his spot in the final against Gorimbo. Michael is currently riding a two-fight win streak, with two first round submission wins. Only strengthening his 100% finish rate.
Hailing from Cameroon, Simon Biyong lives and trains in Bel Paese, Italy. He moved to the European city to study at the Academy of Fine Arts of Genoa.
“When I arrived in Italy, it wasn’t easy at all…,” Biyong began in a recent interview. “I studied, I worked to self-finance my art, but also to weigh as little as possible on my family. I hardly knew anyone. So I thought of joining the gym to socialize a little. I participated in a trial lesson at MMA. An incredible discovery for me, but unfortunately in those days I didn’t have enough money to register. I worked hard, started selling my paintings and, one year later, I met Mauro Salis, my current coach.”
Ahead of making his EFC debut, ‘Hemlé’ or ‘Lion Heart’ in English is now a 5-1 professional Mixed Martial Artist with 4 of his wins coming by way of KO.
He faces a formidable task in his EFC debut, not only is he fighting for the title, he faces ‘The Lion Slayer’. A man with a 100% finish rate that competes across the two biggest divisions in the organisation. Biyong has a simple message for fans, “”EFC, your new champion is coming!”
Also on the EFC 82 card, we will see the rise of the No.1 welterweight contender when KO artist, Pupanga Tresor, goes head-to-head with the notorious Mamelodi warrior, Conrad Seabi. Two aggressive strikers that will stop at nothing for another highlight reel finish in their quest for EFC gold.
Plus, former champ Luthando Biko returns to action to face the highly active Tumisang Madiba. Biko wants his belt back and Madiba wants revenge on the champ. They will have to go through each other to earn their spot at the top, with their eyes firmly set on the champ Faeez Jacobs. This sets up a barnburner of a matchup with a potential contendership hanging in the balance.
And kicking off the main card with expected fireworks are two veterans of the game. Former champ, Dino Bagattin will collide with Pietie Coxen. With 36 fights between the two of them, spectacular finishes and fight of the night performances are their legacies; which they will cement in the memory of fans yet again at Carnival City.
All this and six more exhilarating prelim bouts featuring the likes of: Stefan Pretorius vs Zaakir Badat, Sizwe Mnikathi vs August Kayambala, Stephan De la Rey vs Orlando Machaba, Roevan de Beer vs Themba Mkhize, Warren Richards vs Tommy Strydom and Simon Harle vs Juan Bezuidenhout.
EFC 82 Gorimbo vs Michael, Rossouw vs Biyong, presented by Restonic, takes place on Saturday 28 September, live from Carnival City, Johannesburg.