EFC 56 Preview: Bad Blood
EFC 56 features a middleweight title bout between two fighter with real bad blood between them: Middleweight champion Yannick Bahati will make his first title defense against David Buirski in a pivotal matchup for both 185-pounders.
This is a high-stakes fight for Bahati. The English middleweight recently moved up a division to take on Michael Opperman on short notice. Despite the fight taking place out of his division, Bahati was expected to dominate. The result was truly shocking: Opperman knocked Bahati out in the opening exchange.
Now, Bahati returns to middleweight to take on South Africa’s David Buirski. Buirski has levied much trash talk in the champion’s direction, saying that Bahati was “exposed” in his knockout loss. “The Black Mamba” has not taken kindly to Buirski’s taunts.
“They asked me in the past if I have a message for him,” Bahati said. “My only message is: f*ck you. In my opinion he’s been fighting bums, he’s been fighting nobodies. So if the fight does hit the mat, I will treat another opponent like a white-belt.”
Buirski is undefeated in five fights, winning most of his bouts by knockouts. He may be the underdog against the middleweight champion, but that’s nothing new to the aggressive brawler: he’s been picked against for most of his recent run, and yet he still captured the welterweight title and continued knocking opponents out. He was the first to break EFC’s “welterweight curse”: Nobody had been able to successfully defend the 170 lb title. At EFC 46, Buirski snapped that streak with his first title defense.
He has finally gotten his respect as one of EFC’s top fighters, and he’ll have the challenge of a lifetime when he takes on middleweight champion Bahati.
For a closer look at Bahati vs. Buirski, check out Countdown to EFC 56: Bahati vs. Buirski.
EFC 56 goes down Friday, Dec. 9 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Check out the full line-up, which features a host of exciting matchups that should guarantee to produce memorable highlights.