Need some action added to your holiday long weekend? Get dropped right into the Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) octagon as Nkazimulo Zulu squares off against Faeez Jacobs for the interim 61kg championship title on Saturday 10 August from 20:00, live from Time Square, Menlyn in Pretoria. The fight is being live-streamed on Showmax.
What is an “interim” title? “We have created an interim title between two of the best and most exciting athletes on the roster [due to current champion JP Buys not defending his title at the EFC 81 event] and in doing so, we get what could be one of the best fights in the history of the organisation. We keep the division active and I personally can’t wait for this one,” says EFC Vice President of Talent Graeme Cartmell.
Not a fan of the mixed martial arts sport because you think “it’s all brainless brawling”? Think again! Here are four you-didn’t-know facts that will change your mind and turn you from a channel jumper to an EFC fan!
1. It’s an art
The fighters are throwing punches and kicks left, right and centre, but every move is precise. The fighters train for hours daily, studying martial arts and fighting forms that include karate, kung-fu, Jiu jitsu, tae kwon do and everything in-between. “If you throw random punches, you’ll open yourself to an attack,” explains former EFC champion Garreth “Soldierboy” McLellan. “We study our opponents intensely, watching videos of their fights, watching their fighting style. You have to know your opponent. Guessing and hoping for the best won’t work.”
2. Science is the star
Whether the fighter is a flyweight (under 57kg) or a heavyweight (over 93kg), they use every bit of science and technology. Dieticians help with eating plans, making sure that they get the perfect balance of nutrients, carbs, proteins and everything else their bodies need – just because it’s morning doesn’t mean you need to eat cereal! The fighters are routinely drug tested to make sure that they’re not using banned substances (not just steroids, but even headache meds like Panado and Asprin contain chemicals considered performance enhancing). They also videotape their own training to watch later and scrutinize weak spots in their own performance.
3. Preparation takes months
Just because the fighters train daily doesn’t mean that they’re fighting fit. There’s a difference between spending an hour doing push-ups, sit-ups and working on punching bags and actually being in the ring. “The only way to get fighting fit is to actually be fighting,” reveals ex-champ Andrew van Zyl. “When you come back from injury, the only way to get ready to perform again is by fighting as training. Not just once or twice. You need weeks. You don’t realise how draining those five 3-minute rounds are. By the time it’s over, you literally can’t lift your arms. Everything is instinct.”
4. Not just a boy thing
If you think that MMA is something for men only, you couldn’t be more wrong. More than half the audiences at the live events are women and girls, plus EFC promotes its female roster as much as it does its male line-up. “I love the release you get from being physical,” says EFC fighter Amanda Lino. “Most people don’t get to punch someone in the face every day, but as a fighter you get to release that stress in a controlled manner. I wanted to transfer negative energy into something useful and positive.”
Live-stream the fight on Showmax from 20:00 on Saturday, 10 August.