Our beloved MMA in 2014

2014 has brought MMA to another level in South Africa. We have seen some remarkable things take place this year. There were lows, but mostly highs! So with that, we end off our year and say farewell to 2014. 

With most MMA gyms closing shop for the festive season, many pro and amateur fighters are getting a break from what was an action packed 2014.

Throughout the year, we had some highlights and low lights. The most notable highlight had to be when EFC Africa went global.

Some of the sadder moments,was when 29 year old Booto Guylain passed away in hospital, few days after his fight at EFC 27, losing against Keron Davies. Guylain suffered from swelling and bleeding to the brain.

Lets take a look at some of the other talked about events this year.

With EFC Africa going global and now being seen in more then 100 countries, they are now known as EFC Worldwide. Peter Queally from Ireland became the 1st none African fighter to be signed by the new EFC.

Queally's 1st fight, was at EFC 35 against Francois Kabulu which he won via UD (unanimous decision).

2014 also saw the inclusion of a flyweight division, after the expansion of the brand and some major interest from fighters around the world. The flyweight division promises some exciting fighters, with speed and skills that fans just simply love to see.

We witnessed the retirement of SA MMA hero, Donavin 'BAM BAM' Hawkey. Sporting a 10-8-0 pro record, Hawkey faced power house Bernado Mikixi in his hometown of Durban, at EFC33.

Demarte 'The Wolf' Pena, decided to drop from the Featherweight division, down to the lighter Bantamweight. The decision was made when the only other fighter he had to face was stable mate, Boyd Allen. Both fight out of top MMA Gym Fight Fit Malitia (#FFM). Pena ended the year on a 10-fight winning streak.

A new heavyweight champion was crowned, when Brandon Groenewald defeated Christophe Walravens in a 1st round TKO. Brandon fights out of Parklands, Cape town (Panther Fighting Arts). Groenewald has a pro record of 6-2-0.

Knife Didier, made his pro debut at EFC 30 when he faced off against heavyweight Ricky 'Blackpanther' Misholas. Knife also appeared at various CFL tournaments and won the CFL Heavyweight title.

The proudest moment of the year, had to be when former Heavyweight Champion, Ruan 'Fangz' Potts, got signed to world renowned MMA brand UFC. Though having a notable record against Africa's best, Potts is currently on a 2 fight losing streak.

Hot on his heels, is current Middleweight Champion, Garreth 'Soldier Boy' McLellan. McLellan managed to sign a six-fight contract and is expected to have his 1st fight in March 2015.

MMA fans on social media, got spoiled by the 'snide' remarks of the unknown masked man, only known to fans as 'Snide Guy'. He holds no hostages when 'roasting' anyone. From fighters to ring girls, EFC matchmaker Greame Cartmell and everyone's favourite ginger, Sias du Plessis. Snide Guy is surely a name to remember and someone to look out for in the new year.

On the amateur side of things, Saldanha Bay based MMA gym, Young Guns MMA & Kickboxing, managed to open no less then 4 gyms in Atlantis, Du noon, Mitchell's Plain and Maitland. This is a gym dedicated to making our communities safer. Having a young fighter and trainer, Dyllan Dutton, already having a fight at Cape Town based tournament Cape Fight League (CFL).

CFL really grew from strength to strength this year. With each event attracting a sold out crowd. Managing to land some big name sponsors and local EFC fighters to their tournaments. The men behind CFL are Anthony Kettle (Panther Fighting Arts), Garry Barret (Take down Academy) and Ivan de Vries (Young Guns MMA).

With MMA growing day by day in South Africa, i can tell you now, we are in for a massive year, come 2015.

Article by Darren McLean

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