EFC 76: Wojcik, Vanderaa Earn Titles

Polish fighter Karolina Wojcik edged out Chiara Penco in a close fight that went the distance to become the new EFC women’s strawweight champion in the headline bout of EFC 76, which took place from Times Square Menlyn in Pretoria, South Africa.

Wojcik worked to overcome her reach disadvantage early on in the fight, bouncing around on her toes and landing punches on the inside, producing more throughout the first than Penco. Penco attempted to adjust to Wojcik’s game in the second, trying to throw more from out of range, but Wojcik managed to land some more, busting the defending champion up around her nose. Wojcik almost managed to take Penco down late in the second, but Penco locked the challenger up in guard, landing a few shots to the head but fail to lock in a submission.

The third round was mostly a clinch-fest, and while Wojcik was in control at the start, Penco attempted to bring the challenger down into her guard and landing a highlight up-kick across the jaw. While Penco seemed to be in control for most of the fight, as she had the better energy tank, Wojcik managed to snap Penco’s head back with a few shots she managed to land.

The fight seemed even heading into the final round. Wojcik clinched the champion up against the cage, but neither woman seemed to be in much control until Penco attempted to get the challenger into her guard once again, this time unsuccessful. Penco landed a hard knee to the head, but Wojcik clinched up with Penco and pin her up against the cage once again. The two separated for the final 30 seconds of the fight, and Wojcik landed several hard shots and Peneco pulled Wojcik into guard one last time until the final horn.

One judge awarded the bout to Penco 48-47, but the other two scored the fight 49-46 and 48-47 in Wojcik’s favor, making her the new champion.

In the co-main event, Jared Vanderaa secured the interim EFC Heavyweight Title with a third-round finish of Ruan Potts.

Vanderaa seemed to hurt Potts early with a jab before sprawling and clinching Potts up against the cage. Vanderaa landed the better shots in the opening frame, being the aggressor and doing a good job at avoiding Potts’ strikes. Vanderaa managed to score a takedown with about 90 seconds left and nearly finished the fight, but Potts managed to scramble back to his feet. Potts managed to land a weak takedown early in the second, but he was nearly finished yet again halfway through the round with a barrage of shots. While he avoided a stoppage, Potts spent the second half of the round with his back to the cage, clinched by Vanderaa once again.

Potts clinched Vanderaa against the cage early in the third, but he barely had any answer to Vanderaa’s attack, as Vanderaa landed multiple shots to the head on the feet and ground, before a barrage of shots in the clinch forced the referee to stop the fight in Vanderaa’s favor.

EFC 76 Results:
EFC Women’s Strawweight Championship: Karolina Wojcik def. (c.) Chiara Penco via split decision (49-46, 47-48, 48-47)
For the Interim EFC Heavyweight Championship: Jared Vanderaa def. Ruan Potts via TKO (Rd. 3, 3:25)
Heavyweight: Stuart Austin def. Andrew Van Zyl via KO  (Rd. 1, 4:58)
Middleweight: Dallas Jakobi def. Mark Kamba via submission (verbal) (Rd. 2, 5:00)
Welterweight: Jose Da Rocha def. Conrad Seabi via TKO (Rd. 1, 0:50)

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