EFC 78: Buys Stays Bantamweight Champ, Hadley Wins Flyweight Title
EFC has an undisputed bantamweight champion once again as champion JP Buys stops interim champ Luthando Biko, and a new flyweight champion is crowned as Jake Hadley pulls off a shocking win over long-reigning king Nkazimulo Zulu.
Both main event competitors got in their fair share to start off the fight, though with Biko on the front foot and landing the crisper punches and combinations. Biko landed a couple of strong blows that troubled the defending champ, but Buys showed a strong chin and took out Biko’s legs on two separate occasions in the round. Buys got a takedown and landed ground-and-pound with an arm-triangle prior to the horn.
The two had a big clinch battle to start the second round, with Buys getting the best of Biko and landing on the ground in top control. This proved to be the turning point, as Buys dominated on the ground, stopping Biko’s transition attempts and getting full mount, and eventually the interim champ’s back. Buys brought the fight back to the ground in the third, where he continued his control of the fight.
Buys brought Biko down once more in the fourth, eventually getting on his back and launching heavy ground-and-pound with strikes and elbows until the referee called a halt to the bout.
The co-main event started with Zulu landing a left hook that rocked Hadley, but Hadley quickly recovered and got a takedown in on the defending champion. Hadley nearly got the hooks in for a choke, and while Zulu managed to stand up, he was unable to shake the challenger off his back for the remainder of the first round.
Hadley continued the control to open the second round, clinching up with Zulu and getting his back to the cage wall before tripping him. Hadley got his back once more and continued to ride the defending champion. Hadley nearly locked in a choke a few times, but Zulu broke free and got a top with 90 seconds to go in the second. However, Hadley fought back on the bottom and nearly locked in a triangle choke and an armbar before the end of the round.
Zulu got the upper hand to start the third, avoiding a takedown from the challenger and securing his own. Hadley tried to choke Zulu from the bottom but Zulu fought it off and tried to unleash some ground-and-pound and his own submission attempt. However, Hadley found an opening and got back to Zulu’s back, once again fighting for a choke. Zulu started the fourth with another hard punch and got the fight back to the ground, and while he did a better job on the ground, Hadley got in top control on his back once again. The fifth round felt like an echo of the fourth, bringing the fight to the judges’ cards.
All three judges ruled the bout in favor of Hadley, all with different scores — 48-47, 50-45, 49-46.
EFC 78 Recap:
EFC Bantamweight Championship: (c.) JP Buys def. (ic.) Luthando Biko via TKO (Rd. 4, 4:00)
EFC Flyweight Championship: Jake Hadley def. (c.) Nkazimulo Zulu via unanimous decision (48-47, 50-45, 49-47)
Lightweight: Saxon Delafield def. Roderqiue Kena via submission (guillotine choke) (Rd. 1, 0:35)
Welterweight: Shaun De Lange def. Marcel Teniers via TKO (Rd. 1, 4:40)
Catchweight Bout: Sindile Manengela def. Sizwe Mnikathi via submission (arm-triangle choke) (Rd. 2, 2:46)