EFC 94 Wrap Up

Written by on June 6, 2022

The main event of EFC 94 witnessed the only EFC championship defence of the year as Sindile ‘Ghost’ Manengela aimed to defend his EFC Bantamweight strap against Cameron ‘MSP’ Saaiman. 

The first two rounds belonged to Manengele who used his Judo background to perfection. The momentum shifted in the last three rounds with Saaiman keeping it standing and then effecting any reversals with such ease that it seemed as though in the last 2 minutes of the bout Manengele did not want to be in there.

The change in strategy from the Saaiman team was the difference following the initial two rounds, resulting in a UD victory for Saaiman (48-47 x 2; 49-46) #AndNew

The real question following this bout is the very real possibility that Saaiman will never defend his newly acquired title as he has been slated to compete on the upcoming DWCS for a chance to earn a UFC contract!

The co-main event saw Magno ‘Popeye’ Alves (4-10-1) make his return to African soil on a quest to ascend the flyweight rankings to face the ever-dominant and electrifying Salahuddin ‘Shady’ Plaatjies (2-1-0).

The multiple submission attempts by Alves – Heel-hook / RNC / Arm bar attempt – tested the ground defense of Plaatjies in the first round and seemed to take their toll on Alves, who looked a bit dazed and confused about where his corner was at the end of that round.

Plaatjies leveled matters in the 2nd round albeit with some sneaky head-butts!

Both fighters were visibly tired going into the 3rd, which ebbed back and forth with both trading blows. At one point it looked like Plaatjies was about to finish it off until Alves landed a huge left hook to earn a come-from-behind KO victory. 

I say “come-from-behind”, as talking to one of the judges, the bout was leaning in Plaatjies’ favour – 1-1 going into the 3rd and Plaatjies ahead in the 3rd – before the KO. And, is this writer alone in thinking that referee Ferdi Basson was moving in rather slowly to see if Alves was intent on landing more blows to a visibly downed fighter who clearly had no ability to defend himself? It sure looked like it…..!

The highly-anticipated heavyweight showdown between Brothers in Arms’ Sholto Luiters (1-0-0) and Nico ‘The Lion’ Yamdjie (3-7-0) promised to be a hard-hitting affair and it partially delivered with both fighters throwing themselves off their feet with huge hay-makers early on in the bout. Luiters seemed to have Yamdjie hurt but failed to capitalise. Luiters again had Yamdjie at his mercy while grounded up against the cage, but lack of composure allowed Yamdjie to take Luiters down, rain down some ‘ground-n-pound’ forcing the ref to step in. The win gets Yamdjie back in contention in this very shallow Heavyweight division and possibly sets up a rematch with the returning Ricky Misholas!

Smit ‘Malboer’ Steyn (1-0-0) was back inside the Hex against Ghanaian import, Jonathan Euro (0-2-0) in the only welterweight clash of the night. It was an elbow storm by Steyn that softened up Euro for the arm-triangle submission victory, to continue his dream professional start.

Moving up to the main card, Republic of Congo’s Emmanuel Sita (0-1-0) faced Ghana’s Jonathan Lamptey (3-0-0). Sita showed patience and composure while in mount to eventually posture up and create the space needed for the barrage of punches that would see him secure his first professional win via KO and not by TKO as officially announced.

The Jaco du Plessis (1-0-0) and Khulekani ‘Cold Steel’ Hlongwa (3-5-0) bout was cancelled on the night due to a very late MRI exam that, as we were told by EFC matchmaker Graeme Cartmell, showed possibility of brain trauma and that the organisation was not prepared to take the risk with the athlete’s health. As much as we can respect any and all efforts to protect the athletes, we find it hard to believe that all these “brain issues” always seem to happen at the last minute…..hmmmm!

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