EFC 66: Two Titles & One Contract On The Line
On December 16th, EFC ends its year in Cape Town with EFC 66. With fourteen fights slated for the Saturday night showdown, four fights look to steal the spotlight as two title fights, and a six figure contract are on the line.
In the headline bout at EFC 66, we see the bantamweight title become unified as Demarte Pena defends against the interim champion Irshaad Sayed.
The rivalry between the two champions reached a high point on December 7th, when Irshaad Sayed announced that he wants to see a clean test from Pena, before their fight.
This leads back to their first clash at EFC 55, where both men faced off in their original unification fight. Following Pena’s victory over Sayed. the South African Intitute of Drug Free Sports (SAIDS) found that Pena had taken a banned substance leading up to the fight.
Following that announcement, Pena’s victory had been overturned to a “no contest,” and Sayed was re-established as interim champion.
Sayed was last seen at EFC 58, where he successfully finished Tumisang Madiba in the second round, and is looking for a finish on December 16th.
“I’m going to be much more aggressive, I will be looking for the finish,” stated Sayed.
The animosity was palpable as the rival coaches for ‘TF1 – The Fighter’ prepared for the 16th. Pena who is undefeated and has fought only for EFC, is focused on keeping a Zero in the loss column.
“I’m going to do what I always do, win.”
In the heavyweight division, it is a story of firsts on December 16th, as Jared Vanderaa makes his EFC debut, and Andrew Van Zyl will make his first title defense. Van Zyl, who won the title at EFC 61 against Wessel Mostert, is looking forward to the battle against the American, Vanderaa.
“He’s a tough guy,” said the champion Van Zyl. “I’m looking forward to a hard fight.”
For the finalists of ‘TF1- The Fighter,’ South Africa’s Brendan Lesar and France’s Ibrahima Mané the last three months have been a whirlwind, one that will crown one with an EFC contract, and the other looking at what could have been.
While neither man was tipped as a favorite at the start of the competition, both have earned their way to the final round, showing incredible skill and determination, now they have the bright lights on them and guaranteed shot at middleweight champion Dricus Du Plessis hanging in the balance.