Potts Pots Heavyweight Title at EFC Africa 9 in Johannesburg

By Tomasz Marciniak Jun 30, 2011
Decorated South African grappler Ruan Potts added an MMA championship to his trophy case on Thursday as he claimed Extreme Fighting Championship Africa heavyweight title from Norman Wessels at EFC Africa 9 at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Potts showed off his grappling in round one with some incredibly fast transitions from mount and back mount to armbar, but Wessels was able to defend all of those attempts and return to feet. The tide turned in the second stanza when Wessels landed a powerful teep to Potts' face that set the tone for the round. With Potts unable to close the distance or set up his shots Wessels outpointed the Cape Town resident only getting taken down once when an awkwardly positioned Potts caught his kick.

With Potts growing tired, Wessels seemed poised to take control of the fight in the third. The momentum changed however when Potts sliced Wessels' head open with a standing elbow. Literally smelling blood, the challenger flurried with his opponent on the fence, while not many of those shots landed it opened the opportunity for Potts to take the fight to the ground which he didn't hesitate to do. Once on the mat Potts stayed busy droppin elbows to the ribs, securing back mount and punching until the bout was done.

Potts, who claims a ledger of 12-0, is now undefeated in three fights in EFC Africa.

Making his first appearance in EFC Africa, Jeremy Smith avenged the only loss of his career putting away Liam Cleand right before the bell ended round one. The fight was contested up close, as Cleland tried to put the dangerous striker on his back, but Smith's own wrestling was up to the task and he was a much more physically stronger of the two, throwing Cleland around the cage.

In the dying seconds of the opening round, Cleland closed the distance and leaned down to pick a leg but was met with Smith's knee that sent him down. Smith pounced on his foe with additional punches and managed to force a stoppage at 4:59.

After the fight it was announced that Smith will be the next fighter to fight Garreth McLellan for his middleweight title.

Of the two featherweight boxing stylists the MMA veteran Leo Gloss bested the neophyte Charlie Weyer by unanimous decision. Weyer had some success with the takedowns but couldn't do anything significant on the ground and Gloss found his way back to the feet where he would outstrike the fighter seven years his junior. As the fight wore on Gloss was more on point with sprawl further cementing his lead on the judges' scorecards staying undefeated in his last 6 fights.

Andrew van Zyl and Bernardo Mikixi did not throw caution to the wind as both men attacked each other with heavy shots. Mikixi had some success with hip tosses but couldn't keep van Zyl down for extended periods of time and van Zyl eventually got back to his feet. Round two had van Zyl securing the pivotal takedown and as the Angolan-born fighter gave up mount van Zyl unleashed a torrent of punches that went unanswered for the stoppage victory.

"It was my best fight ever, I loved it," declared a jubilant van Zyl after the fight.

Putting his striking skills on show Leon Mynhardt became the first man to defeat Francois Kabulu in a very entertaining welterweight scrap. The South African stayed on the outside tenderizing Kabulu's leg with powerful kicks. By round two, the spring was lacking in Kabulu's step and Mynhardt wisely persisted with his kicking game further limiting the mobility of his opponent.

The fight ended in the third when Mynhardt landed a three-punch combination to the body before sending Kabulu crashing with a right overhand.

In rare super-heavyweight action 308-pound Dewald Botes defeated 302-pound Wilhelm Strauss. Botes landed a scything leg kick that sent Strauss to the ground where he followed up with punches. He wasn't landing precise blows, but after the attack, Strauss had enough and opted to retire from the bout.

Highly-touted South African Martin van Staden quickly dispatched Nigeria's Steven Momah with some heavy elbows on the ground, forcing referee Ian Pienaar just 2:22 into the first round.

Using his superior wrestling, Terrence Gruessel took down Donald Nzirawa at will and kept busy with ground-and-pound to win a unanimous decision.

Wentzel Nel and Manny da Silva went tit-for-tat with their wrestling through the first two minutes of their fight but when Nel capitalized on a kneetap to secure top position later da Silva couldn't buck him off any more and Nel pounded his way to victory at 3:57 of round one.

90 seconds was all Wade Henderson needed to tap out Mawande Vapi with a rear-naked choke. Henderson pulled guard and then took Vapi's back, stretching his opponent out before securing the choke.

Well-traveled Jeremy Scheepers made most of his first EFC Africa appearance defeating Raymond Ahana by a unanimous verdict. Scheepers, giving up four inches in height, couldn't find success with his wrestling early on but after Ahana tired out and Scheepers got top position he dominated his Nigerian foe.

Wade Groth started his pro career on the right foot stopping Ashley Calvert with a left hook to the body 35 seconds into round three. Groth was the superior striker throughout the fight although he had to fend off a full mount and a guillotine early on in the bout.

In the first fight of the evening, Tyron Rightford picked up a majority decision win in his first pro fight against fellow necomer Tshikangu Makuebo thanks mostly to his superior striking having rocked Makuebo with a couple of shots.
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