On Wednesday 07 February 2018 BigAl sat down with EFC Match maker Graeme Cartmell to discuss the 2018 year that awaits MMA Fans. Cartmell was in a very generous mood and showed a “full deck of cards” and released some amazing fight thoughts and ideas for the year. However, it is important to remember these are not all set in stone and things could possibly change, with that in mind this is what we learnt.
- Cam Pritchard is out of the scheduled EFC67 bout Gunther Kalunda siting a knee injury. EFC is now actively in pursuit of a new challenge for Kalunda.
2.The heavyweight division should heat up as Graeme Cartmell looks to have EFC New comer Jared Vanderaa take on EFC and UFC Veteran Ruan Potts in a Number one contender fight. “I want to do Potts VS Vanderaa and see if we can get Andrew to fight one of them.” However, he also stated that Andrew Van Zyl has expressed desire to fight overseas.
- In the Flyweight division in 2018 we will see some ascendance for a few old faces and some new ones as well. Cartmell went on to state that “Zulu Boy” will defend his title against CIT stalwart Marino Cutendana, with the highly anticipated EFC67 Match up between BK Masunyane and new comer Coner Hignett battling out for number contender status.
4.The Bantamweight division is expecting the return of the massively exciting JP Buys. Buys has been applying his trade with Sacramento native, Urijah Faber in the states and is looking to get back in the mix. Cartmell stated that the Bantamweight title will be contended between Buys and the high-flying French men Philippe Rouch. He also noted that Demarte Pena has relinquished his title but could not give any further details on the matter. Further to that Cartmell announced that Fan Favorite would face the dangerous Cal Ellenor, who looks to prove a point after being blindly robbed in his first outing. 2018 will also the return of Tumisang Madiba.
5.The welterweight division will be on ice for a relative amount of time as we await to see the outcome of 2 division Champ Dricus Du Plessis. Dricus is set to fight in KSW in April and will be set to face TF1 winner Brendan Lesar. Cartmell did state that id need be a Interim belt would be put on the line and that Brazilian native Jose Da Rocha would be first in line. Fellow TF1 contestant Ibrahima Mane will also be returning to the EFC at Welterweight.
6.The Middle weight division will be full of action this year with Champion Dalcha looking to make a Debut at this weight class, according to Cartmell, SBG fighter Will Fleury was offered a crack at the Champion but turned it down to fight in another promotion. The Division will also see a notable return in the shape of JP Kruger. As stated before Dricus Will defend his belt against Lesar in the middle of the year after his KSW commitments. This division is now stacked and will be super interesting how it all plays out.
7.The lightweight division was awaiting some clarity about the champ Don Madge, Cartmell did express hi views on the division mentioning some fights featuring Dave Mazany, New comer Gavin Hughes and South African MMA Veteran Chris Bright. However, a movement on line saw Martin Van Staaden enter the fray to fight Las Vegas native Dave Mazany in a fan dream fight.
Some other fights worth mentioning that came out of the interview Was a bout between Gary Joshua and Martin De beer at Flyweight, as Joshua looks to establish himself at a new weight class. Regis Muyambo vs Roedie Roots in Cape Town at lightweight.
Cartmell also revealed that The First ever womens champion Amanda Lino would defend her belt for the first time in Durban This year.
2017 was a year that saw MMA grow exponentially on the African Continent, but I feel in 2018 it will grow beyond expectations. The first half of the year looks to be planned out to perfection already. We know the second half of the year will produce the hit reality show TF2 but what other MMA magic lies beyond, we wait to see.