Johannesburg (South Africa) – Muay Thai world and Chinese MMA champion Irshaad ‘White Tiger’ Sayed has come home. He made his African debut at last month’s EFC AFRICA 28, and is looking forward to his next appearance on June 05.
“I had my first amateur fight when I was 16,” explained Sayed. “Before that, I played a bit of rugby and cricket, just like a regular South African kid. When I was 17, I finished high school and moved to Thailand to take it more seriously.”
After competing eight times professionally, Sayed fought in a mixed martial arts bout in his native country of South Africa for the very first time. His fight came at an EFC Africa event on March 27.
“It was something different for me,” Sayed admitted. “I am usually fighting in somebody else’s backyard. Fighting at home actually adds a bit of pressure because you have people there that are wanting to see you win. With the support comes that pressure, but I think it’s actually good because the pressure makes you perform better. I should be back [in the EFC] in June in my hometown, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Sayed secured his latest win by way of submission. It was the second submission victory of his career. With his impressive pedigree in combat sports stemming from a highly successful career in kickboxing, the submission would seem out of place for the talented striker. However, Sayed’s dedication to becoming a complete mixed martial artist is second to none. In his eyes, the submission wins are only going to keep on coming.
“I’ve been at Evolve just over a year now,” he said. “When I came here, I was basically just a kickboxer fighting MMA. Since I’ve been training with Heath [Sims] and all the BJJ world champs, I have developed into a much more rounded fighter, and I see myself now as an MMA fighter, not just a kickboxer trying to fight MMA. Training with these guys every day, you pick up quite a bit.”
Sayed has the EFC Africa bantamweight title in his sights. Through his training with the best fighters and coaches in the Asian region, it’s a title that may just be making its way to Singapore soon enough.
EFC AFRICA 30, presented by BetXchange.com, takes place on Thursday 05 June 2014 at the GrandWest Grand Arena, Cape Town. Tickets on sale soon at www.computicket.com. Book your cinema ticket to all 13 fights live and in HD at www.sterkinekor.com. Watch the entire event live, from anywhere on the globe, via online streaming at efcworldwide.com/efc_africa_404.php.