A sensational evening of mixed-martial arts featured 13 action-packed fights that culminated in a main event that was memorable for its violent brevity. 21-year old Zambian phenom Humphrey ‘King Cobra’ Mulenga who has yet to go past the first round in his entire professional career continued his devastating form with a jaw-dropping finish over heavy-handed veteran Cole ‘The Hitman’ Henning to send Lusaka into delirium and a packed-out Johannesburg heading home, happy to have witnessed the formative years of a future world champion. In a high-paced assault, Mulenga pushed forward relentlessly with flurries of strikes punctuated by overpowering clinch-work, the latter of which ended with a knee to the chin of Henning who subsequently hit the canvas and had to be saved by the referee to prevent further damage from the follow-up blows. Mulenga now stakes his claim as one of the biggest lightweight talents in Africa with a title-shot surely on his horizon in 2024.
Mpumalanga’s talented Vince Bembe re-entered the winning column with a razor-close split-decision win over Senegalese stand-out Demba Seck after three hard-fought rounds. A bout mostly contested on the ground, both athletes had moments of ascendency with the judges viewing Bembe as making the most of his moments in top-control. Another fight that displayed the grappling prowess of the eventual victor was the middleweight matchup between Jailson Sousa and Khulekani Hlongwa. Though ‘Cold Steel looked dangerous throughout, Sousa had repeated successes with his improved striking setting-up his takedowns from which he deployed his top-drawer jiu-jitsu game to eventually slap-on the arm triangle in the final round to take the win back to his adopted city of Cape Town after using his post-fight interview in the Hexagon to give an emotional tribute to the support of his family and community in Brazil.
In a fight that was billed as a war for the ages, two EFC legends went toe-to-toe as Pietie Coxen and Dino Bagattin finally rematched after their bout 4 years ago ended in a controversial stoppage. As if making up for lost time, both vets swung for the fences at a furious pace until the third round where their spent energy was evident as the power left their punches, yet it was Dino ‘The Lion’ Bagattin who took the judge’s decision, though Coxen could hold his head up high after coming into the fight as a late replacement.
Durban BJJ wizard Zaakhir Badat made his 4-year absence from the Hexagon grow fonder in the hearts of EFC fans as he put on another masterclass of grappling to take the tap of his opponent Christopher Matukane with a methodical chain of guard-passing to win by triangle choke. There were eight incredible prelim fights that at times brought the sold-out crowd to their feet, but the evening belonged to Mulenga whose ascendent star continues to sear a blinding arc of sublime violence through the firmament of African combat sports.
OFFICIAL EFC 109 RESULTS:
Humphrey Mulenga def Cole Henning via TKO due to strikes – Round 1 (4:56)
Vince Bembe def Demba Seck via Split Decision after 3 rounds
Jailson De Sousa def Khulekani Hlongwa via Tap Out due to Arm Triangle – Round 3 (2:31)
Dino Bagattin def Pietie Coxen via Unanimous Decision after 3 rounds
Zaakir Badat def Christopher Matukane via Tap Out due to Triangle Choke – Round 1 (3:52)
Sizwe Mnikathi def Adrian Sanchez via Split Decision after 3 rounds
Edson Machavane def Godknows Ndlovu via Tap Out due to Arm Bar – Round 1 (3:24)
Luke Hendrikz def Vincent Nakana via TKO due to strikes -Round 1 (2:55)
Vuyo Jula def Johannes Rudolph via Tap Out due to Inverted Guillotine Choke- Round 1 (4:23)
Johan Pfahl def Jeremie Tshibala via Tap Out due to Rear Naked Choke – Round 1 (4:36)
David Mambo def Guide Moyo via Knockout – Round 2 (0:34)
Patrick Ocheme def Guelor Sondi Via Unanimous Decision after 3 rounds
Lucky Magekha def Allistar Kunene via Unanimous Decision after 3 rounds
FIGHT OF THE NIGHT:
Lucky Magekha vs. Allistar Kunene
EFC 110 is presented by World Sports Betting and takes place on Thursday 7th December 2023, live from the EFC Performance Institute in JHB, South Africa.