Theirs was a mesmerising encounter, beginning with an emotion soaked entrance that stunned the audience with the intensity of their rivialry. France’s Rouch had earned himself ‘heel’ status with previous comments, and stood alone against a sea of boos, waiting for his opponent.
Buys entered with the confidence of a champion already crowned, stepping into the Hexagon on a wave of local support, almost unaware of his rival.
Their fight began cautiously, each feeling the other out, but once they engaged it was Buys who quickly found full mount position in a tactical slip that Rouch will regret for a long time to come.
Buys found the guillotine almost immediately, and although Rouch defended valiantly his tap was inevitable. An EFC interim champion before, Buys has now solidified has postion at the top of the division, as the new EFC bantamweight champion of the world.
The night’s penultimate bout was fire and fury, a classic wrestler vs submission artist encounter that pitted South African wrestling champion Pierre Botha against Scotland’s BJJ brown belt Calum Murrie.
Botha stunned the Scotsman with an early punch knockdown and intense wrestling based takedown and top control onslaught. But his technique was lacking and the Jiu Jitsu practitioner leaped at any limb left loose, threatening with two deep heel hook attempts, switching smoothly to an omaplata, then a triangle, and finishing with an added armbar.
In the end, Botha had no chance against the art of the Scotsman.
Preceding the hotly anticipated Botha vs Murrie matchup, news of the next flyweight challenger was revealed live. EFC flyweight champion Nkazimulo Zulu, originally scheduled to defend against Angola’s Marino Cutendana tonight (Cutendana withdrew due to illness), stepped into the Hexagon to face off against his next opponent – wrestling sensation BK Masunyane.
Fierce words were exchanged. The prospect of their fight had the crowd on their feet and cheering an intense staredown.
‘TF1 –The Fighter’ finalist, France’s Ibrahima Mané returned to the Hexagon to take on main card newcomer, South Africa’s Quaid Openshaw.
The crowd added decibels to their roar when local Openshaw entered the arena, and carried him forward into a tough encounter. Mané and Openshaw engaged on the feet, and Mané quickly showed his class, taking the fight to the canvas and pounding Openshaw out in a savage display.
Openshaw will be disappointed with the loss, but should not forget that he took a giant step up in quality of opponent, and offered the Frenchman a tough battle. He is developing into a talent to be feared.
Heavyweights Kevin Koekemoer and Nico Yamdjie presented a classic big man smash-up. Over three rounds the behemoths were evenly matched, and took the fight to every area. It was left to the judges to declare the winner, who gave the fight to Koekemoer by unanimous decision.
The bout between Jean Vermeulen and Simon Harle was cancelled due to medical reasons pertaining to Harle, paving the way for 15-fight EFC veteran Anicet Kanyeba to open the main card. He did so against the relatively inexperienced Jason Van Der Merwe (1-5), who stepped up on short notice after Luke Michael was forced to withdraw earlier this week.
As expected, Van Der Merwe was outclassed by a composed and self-assured Kanyeba, who now goes to 7-8 after his first round finish tonight.
Performance bonuses were awarded to Billy Oosthuizen, Sibusiso Mdoku, Pietie Coxen and Claude Ntumba. Fight of the Night was awarded to Calum Murrie and Pierre Botha.
The official EFC 69 results are:
JP Buys defeated Philippe Rouch via submission (guillotine choke) 2:29 into round 1.
Callum Murrie defeated Pierre Botha via submission (armbar) 3:40 into round 1.
Ibrahima Mané defeated Quiad Openshaw via TKO (strikes) 4:54 into round 1.
Kevin Koekemoer defeated Nico Yamdjie via unanimous decision.
Anicet Kanyeba defeated Jasen Van Der Merwe via TKO (unanswered strikes) 3:48 into round 1.
Claude Ntumba defeated Anthony Mailer via tapout (strikes) 2:05 into round 2.
Pietie Coxen defeated HP Van Staden via TKO (strikes) 3:05 into round 1.
Sibusiso Mdoko defeated Marcel Els via TKO (unanswered strikes) 4:34 into round 1.
Bill Oosthuizen defeated Pieter De Klerk via KO (strikes) 1:29 into round 1.
EFC 70 Lino vs Zouak is presented by Betxchange.com and takes place on Saturday 26 May live from Sibaya, Durban. Tickets are on sale soon at computicket.com, and the 5 main card bouts will be broadcast live on Kwesé Free Sports 1 (Kenya & Rwanda), Kwese TV (Sub-Saharan Africa) and live in South Africa on SABC 3 starting at 21:30 (CAT). Full broadcast details available on efcworldwide.com. Prelim fights will be available for free on the official EFC Facebook page.