SA-based Champion Dalcha makes long-awaited UFC bow – live on SuperSport
Johannesburg, June 28 – The man they call “Champion”, Dalcha Lungiambula, who lives in Cape Town, makes his Ultimate Fighting Championship MMA debut in Minneapolis this weekend.
A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – he fled war-torn Kinshasa 10 years ago – Lungiambula signed with the UFC as the reigning heavyweight and light heavyweight champion of Africa’s Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC).
The UFC Fight Night will be broadcast live on SS11 from 3am on Sunday.
Lungiambula’s participation was thrown into doubt several days ago when his original opponent was scrapped, but fortunately Dequan Townsend has stepped in, ensuring that Lungiambula joins the growing pool of African fighters in the UFC.
“I wanna put Africa on the map,” he said in a call from Minneapolis on Thursday. “I want to do like [SA star] Don Madge and get a win first-up. People have tried to put us down, but I want to say, ‘we are African, our time is now’.”
Happily settled after seven days in the US, “Champion” says he has been warmly received and has few concerns about his lack of action, having last fought against Andrew van Zyl 18 months ago.
It was this fight that saw him capture his second EFC championship – he was the reigning light-heavyweight king going into the heavyweight bout – and confirmed his class as an elite-level fighter.
Now on a five-fight winning streak, with three of those victories by knockout, he is comfortable at light-heavyweight. He is always in training, so reckons he will be as sharp as he needs to be against an opponent known as “Tarantula” on account of his long arms and legs.
Lungiambula acknowledged that he had to re-boot his game plan and strategy after the change of opponent but is unconcerned. “I know myself: I’m ready to fight anyone, anytime, anywhere. I don’t know this guy. He might be stronger, but I need to be better. I don’t care. I’m a true champion.”
Given how difficult it is to stand out internationally, Lungiambula is determined to put on a show – “to say I’ve arrived” – and then return to Cape Town to celebrate.
“All I know is that it’s a dream come true; it can’t end now.”