So we are scheduled for EFC 33 next weekend in Durban. What is not to love? Well nothing really, it is a fantastic card in a beautiful part of the country. I mean its even on the weekend. For those of us not able to make it to the actual venue can have a proper viewing party. I know my Cape Town peeps and I will be. But don’t you guys fear, we will still be covering the event live for you. So before I get into the whos and whats of how I think this event will play out I want to tackle a little something.
The concept of a retirement fight. Maybe it is just me, but I find this very weird. Just the name of it suggest I am going into this fight to lose. While I know that is never the purpose of the athlete, that is just how it comes across to me. I just am comparing to how it has always been handled in the UFC with guys like Randy Couture or GSP. They had their fights and then announced that they were retiring or ‘taking a break to focus on personal lives’. I suppose everyone has their own view on marketing and this way helps to hype Donovan Hawkey’s fight and the event as a whole a lot more. Just seems strange to me, nothing wrong with it. That being said, i am incredibly excited for this fight and to see Bernardo at Light Heavyweight. While at first he seemed big in the heavyweight division. We have seen how he is actually quite small compared to most of the guys and his explosive power will be a massive advantage in his new division.
On another note, we all know how much I like the Bantam weight division and there are 2 fights this event that have the potential to really stir up the rankings. With that all said and done, onto the fiction.
Bout 2: Texier Kabesa vs Luke Michaels
This is about of great interest to me. We have all seen and heard of Luke tearing it up on the amatuer circuit with his last win coming from a TKO where he broke his opponants hand/wrist with a take down. It was not a pretty sight. While I do not feel his his wrestling will be up to scratch to deal with the pedigree of Texier, I don’t think it will be that much of a problem. I see this one going to Michaels in the 2nd round via ground and pound.
Bout 3: Craig Ninow vs Baldwin Madlose
This is the first of the 2 Bantamweight bouts. Should Ninow win, it will boost him up the rankings and in reach of that upper echelon of the Bantamweights where he can work towards an eliminator fight. But first he has Mdlalose. Both these guys have general good all round skills. I expect another banger out of Ninow as he would have gotten over the ring rust with his last hard earned victory. Mdlalose has shown the ground to be his weak point and I am pretty sure Ninow will be looking for another submission, this time just a lot earlier into the first round.
Bout 5: Abdul Hassan vs Gareth Buirski
And here is the second Bantamweight bout for the night. This is a potentially massive fight. On very many spectrums. Firslty the match between Adbul and Gareth’s brother Matt went ot a draw. There is obviously some bad blood there and both sides want to prove they won. We won’t get to see that one anytime soon, but we have Gareth. And well all three Buirskis have a similar style and we can expect something similar to Matt vs Abdul (I am using first names here to avoid confusion). It will be interesting to see of Gareth has the same problems with the weight cuts as his brother and how Abdul deals with the size and strength. Then again he used to be a featherweight too. While neither of these guys are on win streaks in the bantamweight division, they do both have a big crowd pull and a win for either will shoot them up the rankings. I still see Gareth winning this one. The longe it goes, the stronger he will be relative to Abdul and he will get that TKO late in the second or third rounds.
Bout 7: Tyson Chelin vs Matt Buirski
Tyson is a guy that I have underrated prior to his last two fights in the EFC. Mostly due to his official record and lack of knowledge about him. However, in hsi two performances he has exceeded expectations, having beaten Swekile and ‘King’ Gloss. He faces a mammoth of a task in Matt Buirski who is moving up a weight class. Matt was a massive Bantamweight and well is still going to be quite a large featherweight. he is going to want to use his strength to control things and work from top control. I think this will go to points, and Matt will walk away with the victory.
Bout 8: Wesley Hawkey vs Brendon Katz
They say styles make fights, then this one should definitely be one to remember. In Wesley Hawkey we have slick technical boxing skills and in Brendon Katz we have ruthless aggression and power. Both these guys are considered as part of the OG of African MMA, both with massive amounts of experience. This fight is going to come down to who works harder for the duration as they are really well matched. With that being said, I think Wesley will get the win on the night with that home crowd to cheer him on.
Bout 10: Donovan Hawkey vs Bernardo Mikixi
This is the retirement fight I was talking about earlier and its going to be a epic. Not too many people know this, but they have faced each other before in a smaller event hosted by CIT in Pretoria. Hawkey won the fight via KO in the first, I am assuming he took advantage of his height and reach advantage. Hopefully Mikixi has learned from his mistakes and how to work around that reach. Maybe he will be able to capatilise on his Judo skills and get a solid take down for the ground and pound with those heavy hammer fists of his. Interesting to note is that he is technically on a winning streak as his last fight was ruled a no contest, and the Light Heavyweight division is still fairly thin; maybe he will move into an elimination bout if he wins this one. As cool as that could potentially be, I see this going to Hawkey with a submission in the second round.
Bout 11: Martin van Staden vs Jeremy Smith
This is going to be another stand and bang bout. Both guys are the type to stay in the pocket and dish out while they are receiving.Who will win? It really is a coin toss as to who will land that big shot and take advantage for the win. I am going to give it to Jeremy Smith as I have a bias for the smaller guys in fights.
Bout 12: Gareth Mclellan vs Dricus Du Plessis
Du Plessis has proved me wrong a few times. Yet, I still think this one will belong to Soldierboy. Besides for the crowd chanting in McLellan’s favour for this entire fight, that experience is going to count. Especially in the 4th and 5th rounds. I don’t really see it getting that far though. I am expecting Du Plessis coming in over zealous trying to force things. Gareth will anticipate it and get the take down and work his way to another submission victory.
Below is the countdown to the Hexagon video, its always great to see a bit of a background of your favourite athletes. What do you think? Have I got it completely wrong? Let me know in the comments below.