Eliezer Kubanza hopes ‘brother’ Nkosi Ndebele can make more MMA history in Mauritius

Eliezer Kubanza carries Nkosi Ndebele on his shoulders after the latter made history by becoming the first South African champion at BRAVE CF 80 last year. Photo: Supplied

Eliezer Kubanza carries Nkosi Ndebele on his shoulders after the latter made history by becoming the first South African champion at BRAVE CF 80 last year. Photo: Supplied

Published May 9, 2024


The brotherly bond South Africa’s Nkosi Ndebele and the Democratic Republic of Congo-born Eliezer Kubanza share is something to be admired and appreciated.

The two BRAVE CF stars have supported each other since they met seven years ago as amateur athletes trying to make their mark.

Today, the two stars shine on a global MMA platform: BRAVE Combat Federation.

BRAVE Combat Federation returns to Africa for a fourth time this Saturday, making its debut in St Pierre, Mauritius, at the Cote d’Or stadium.

Champion Ndebele will put his bantamweight belt on the line in a trilogy fight against former 135-pound champion Jose Torres of the US after Kubanza steps into the cage for a third time where he faces Algerian-born Karim Rabei in a super welterweight bout.

Since transitioning from a successful run in the amateur leagues, Ndebele has built his career within the Bahrain-based organisation, becoming an incredible ambassador not only for the BRAVE CF, but for South Africa and Africa, too, with nine fights, seven wins and only two losses (one of which was a debatable split decision title loss to Torres).

Kubanza will make his third showing in BRAVE CF this weekend following a thunderous run last year, where he delivered two explosive first-round knockouts and is on an upward trajectory, just like his “brother” Ndebele.

After his bout against Adel Ibrahim last year, Kubanza showcased his love and appreciation for Ndebele in his post-fight speech – a moment that not only went viral, but symbolised their strong relationship.

“Good luck to my boy, the King, Nkosi. You will get that belt, bro, Insha-Allah. We’re going with that belt back home, just believe in yourself, bro. You can do it!” said Kubanza over the microphone while Ndebele was warming up backstage in preparation for his rematch with Torres.

Ndebele eventually went on to win the fight, forcing Torres to retire in round three after taking damage for almost 15 minutes.

That night, Ndebele made history as he became the first South African to win a BRAVE CF belt, and it was a testament to how far he had come after growing up in the tough streets of Diepsloot.

The joy and emotion were evident not only on the new champ’s face, but also that of his training partner and good friend Kubanza as the super welterweight placed Ndebele on his shoulders before doing a victory lap.

When speaking to Independent Newspapers in an exclusive interview this week ahead of BRAVE CF 82, Kubanza reiterated his connection with the bantamweight champ.

“Nkosi is not my friend, he is my brother. We stand by each other in times of adversity, and we celebrate each other’s victories and achievements. We link, and we push each other. We constantly remind each other where we come from and how far we can go,” said Kubanza, who met Ndebele in 2017 at the IMMAF World Championships in Bahrain.

“Since our first interaction, there was a fire that just got lit. I could not speak English at the time, but that did not deter our friendship from growing. Even when I tried to find a way to communicate with him, he just received me in the best possible manner. He was such an amazing and awesome person,” said Kubanza, with a warm smile.

“Even when I did not understand what he was saying, he would just come into my room and say, ‘Let’s go out, bro. Let’s take a walk’.

“He was one of the people who influenced my decision to move to South Africa. He encouraged me that I would do good. He told me, ‘Hey bro, you will do good in SA, you will compete in regular competitions, and there will be opportunities for you’.”

The move turned out to be a fruitful one as Kubanza became a champion of various promotions outside of earning two gold medals at the IMMAF championships.

“When God sends you a brother or person like that, you have to realise that you don’t leave them, you stand with them, you support them, we support each other.

“The world can expect more speeches like the one I made at BRAVE CF 80. I will be there supporting him on the 11th of May as I will be the second fight on the card. So, you guys must look out for another call-out of support for Nkosi!”

BRAVE CF 82 Full Fight Card

Bantamweight world championship: Nkosi Ndebele (champion) v Jose Torres

Bantamweight: Nicholas Hwende v Khurshed Nazarov

Featherweight: Ylies Djiroun v Ananias Mulumba

Super welterweight: Eliezer Kubanza v Karim Rabei

Lightweight: Ramazan Gitinov v Prince Lolia

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