Johannesburg, South Africa – The EFC 69 weigh-in took place at the Carnival City Mardi Gras Theatre this afternoon, with event headliners South Africa’s JP Buys (4-2) and France’s Philippe Rouch (7-3), taking to the scales and facing off ahead of their bantamweight title bout tomorrow night.
A vocal crowd greeted the Frenchman with boos and shouts of ‘how dare you!’ – Rouche’s now signature phrase since his live outburst after beating South Africa’s Gareth Buirski.
The ‘love to hate him’ Rouch has poured pure confidence on a swaggering JP Buys in the build-up, who famously slapped the Frenchman in the face with a baguette at Wednesday’s EFC 69 press conference – one more event in a white-hot fight build up.
Theatrics aside, the animosity between local favourite Buys and the foreigner Rouch for the vacant bantamweight title is intense, and the meeting of their disparate skills tomorrow night – Buys a specialist wrestler and Rouch a submissions expert with a slick long range striking game – has the MMA world on the edge of their seats.
“The time for talking is over,” declared Buys to the Carnival City crowd and viewers around the world.
“Let them boo louder, I cannot hear them!” replied the charismatic Rouch, and added ‘’I will end his [Buys’s] career.”
With the last-minute cancellation of Zulu vs Cutendana for the flyweight title due to medical considerations, South Africa’s Pierre Botha and Scotland’s Calum Murrie precede tomorrow’s headliner in another matchup bristling with contrasting styles.
Botha is a commonwealth games wrestler with devastating knock outs behind him, while Murrie brings a submissions arsenal peppered with Taekwondo styled strikes. The men faced-off with intent and a gentleman’s handshake after – signaling a tough contest tomorrow.
‘TF1 – The Fighter’ finalist, France’s Ibrahima Mané returns after his loss to TF1 winner Brendan Lesar, and brought the fire in his face-off with the rising star from Pretoria, Quaid Openshaw. This will be Openshaw’s first main card appearance and biggest challenge yet.
Opening tomorrow’s main card is a pair of heavyweight battles. Sudden star Juan Bezuidenhout, after his show-stopping performance at EFC 68, returns against Johannesburg’s Simon Harle, and proven battlers Koekemoer and Yamdjie finally face each other in the Hexagon.
Bezuidenhout makes his main card debut and, still riding the wave of his EFC debut last month, got close and personal at his face-off with Harle. The more experienced Harle stood back, eyeing his opponent with a smile, giving fans a glimpse of a full-tilt matchup tomorrow night.
One athlete failed to make weight. Anthony Mailer was 500 grams over and opted to take a financial penalty.
The official EFC 69 weigh-in results:
Fight 1: Catchweight
Bill Oosthuizen 67,50kg
Pieter De Klerk 67,50kg
Fight 2: Lightweight
Sibusiso Mdoko 69,40kg
Marcel Els 69,90kg
Fight 3: Welterweight
HP van Staden 76,80kg
Pietie Coxen 76,80kg
Fight 4: Catchweight
Anthony Mailer 68.50kg
Claude Ntumba 67,70kg
Fight 5: Catchweight
Anicet Kanyeba 72,10kg
Jasen van Der Merwe 72,90kg
Fight 6: Heavyweight
Nico Yamdjie 117,30kg
Kevin Koekemoer 119,80kg
Fight 7: Heavyweight
Simon Harle 114,70kg
Juan Bezuidenhout 112,60kg
Fight 8: Middleweight
Ibrahima Mané 83,50kg
Quaid Openshaw 84,00kg
Fight 9: Featheweight
Calum Murrie 65,9kg
Pierre Botha 65,6kg
Fight 10: Bantamweight Title Fight
Philippe Rouch 60,90kg
JP Buys 60,80kg
EFC 69 Buys vs Rouch is presented by Betxchange.com and takes place on Saturday 28 April live from Carnival City, Johannesburg. Tickets are on sale 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.