Pretoria, South Africa – Weigh-in for EFC 77 took place at the Sun Arena, Time Square, Pretoria today. South Africa’s former EFC lightweight champion Martin Van Staden (26-11) takes on the UK’s Joe Cummins (5-1) with both making a bid for the vacant lightweight title, and the Congo’s ‘Apocalypse’ Ricky Misholas (7-7), faces the mountainous American, EFC heavyweight champion Jared Vanderaa (8-3) for the championship belt.
For Van Staden, one of the organisation’s most decorated athletes, it’s about redemption. After having lost the belt to America’s Mazany in what he sees as a controversial decision last year, he is more than motivated to get it back.
“There are levels to this, and I’m going to show that,” he said after hitting a perfect 154lbs lightweight mark. “I’m excited, there’s going to be fireworks… I will win by KO tomorrow night.”
England’s Cummins is no less motivated. A hugely successful coach for the last decade, he has finally thrown his lot fully into the role of fighter, and seeks validation for his commitment.
“This is my first fight training full time,” said the devastating striker after hitting his own on-the-money mark of 154.2lbs. “If they were worried about me then, they need to worry about me now!”
Van Staden has been vocal about his belief that the title belongs in South Africa, and showed it with an intense staredown against his challenger. With 9 TKO victories to his name his prediction of fireworks is likely.
In the co-main event, America’s Jared Vanderaa defends his now unified heavyweight strap for the first time. Ever the joker outside of the Hexagon and the relentless warrior inside of it, his words to Misholas were full of that mix.
“I’m gonna have to hit him,” he said with his trademark grin, “I’m gonna have to him a lot to get the KO!”
Misholas was far more serious. Refusing to shake the hand of the American, instead he delivered words to the Pretoria crowd.
“This belt belongs to you guys,” said Misholas. “This belt belongs to Africa. EFC is not a stepping stone for you [international] guys!”
Both men made the heavyweight weight bracket, but Vanderaa carries a significant 19lbs advantage over the man from the Congo.
Reality show ‘The Fighter’ TF1 alumnus, New Zealand’s Shaw Dean, returns to EFC for a light heavyweight bout with the up-and-coming undefeated South African Quinton Rossouw. Both made weight, and promise an exciting fight when Shaw’s uncompromising aggression is let loose tomorrow night.
Barring the former champ Van Staden, the Pretoria crowd’s heart clearly beats for the legendary Alain Ilunga, who makes his Hexagon return after nearly two years tomorrow night. Facing Cummins’ UK based teammate, the Polish Lukasz Swirydowicz, ‘Commander Boy’ wasted no time by getting in the face of his opponent.
Ilunga’s walk-off-spinning-back-kick KO against Nienaber at his second-last outing has not been forgotten. Tomorrow night he aims to add to a world renowned highlight reel.
Pretoria’s own Gordon Roodman experienced a tough weight cut and came in 3lbs over the 185lbs middleweight limit. Earlier today rising star, Cape Town’s Justin Smith, stated: “If Gordon is walking in like that, I am gonna drop him in the first.” He took the same fire into their face-off, clearly ready to stand toe-to-toe with the stalwart Roodman in the opening fight of the main card.
Pretoria’s Gordon Roodman was the only athlete to miss weight. He suffers a financial penalty.
The official EFC 77 weigh-in results are as follows:
Fight 1: Featherweight
Ali Kalambay 141.3lbs
Stephan De La Ray 144.7lbs
Fight 2: Lightweight
Benjamin Mangala 154lbs
Trezeugut Kanyinda 154.5lbs
Fight 3: Bantamweight
Orlando Machaba 135lbs
Asiashu Tshitamba 134.4lbs
Fight 4: Featherweight
Marcel Els 145lbs
Nerik Simoes 144.9lbs
Fight 5: Lightweight
Serge Kasanda 153.7lbs
Tumisang Madiba 151.8lbs
Fight 6: Featherweight
Pierre Botha 144.8lbs
Roedie Roets 145lbs
Fight 7: Middleweight
Gordon Roodman 188.3lbs
Justin Smith 184.6lbs
Fight 8: Welterweight
Lukasz Swirydowicz 168.9lbs
Alain Ilunga 168.7lbs
Fight 9: Light Heavyweight
Quinton Rossouw 201.9lbs
Shaw Dean 205lbs
Fight 10: Heavyweight Title Fight
Ricky Misholas 242.8lbs
Jared Vanderaa 263.4lbs
Fight 11: Lightweight Title Fight
Joe Cummins 154.2lbs
Martin Van Staden 154lbs
EFC 77 Van Staden vs Cummins, Vanderaa vs Misholas takes place on Saturday 16 March live from Time Square, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria. Tickets are on sale at computicket.com. Full broadcast details available on efcworldwide.com.