CAPE TOWN – Dave Mazany and Martin van Staden left their fate in the hands of the judges in Cape Town on Saturday night, as the EFC lightweight title bout went the full five rounds at Grandwest.
After dominating the wrestling exchanges and avoiding damage for most of the fight, Mazany was declared the winner by split decision and reclaimed the title he lost to Don Madge in 2017.
“This is my first time going to the championship rounds. It’s probably the toughest fight I’ve ever been in too, so I’m happy it was here at EFC in Cape Town. I’m sorry I couldn’t get a finish. I wanted to knock Martin out, be the first one to do it. But he’s a tough fella,” Mazany said after the fight.
Van Staden’s knockout power and superior reach and whether Mazany could effectively close the distance were always going to be the telling factors in the bout. The American was expected to press Van Staden and use a wrestling heavy strategy while the defending champion stayed at range and looked for the fight-ending punch.
The fight played out as expected from the opening bell - with Mazany closing distance almost immediately, completing his first takedown soon after and grinding on Van Staden at every opportunity.
Mazany spent most the second, third and fourth rounds either well out of range, retreating from Van Staden, or glued to his hips in search of another takedown. The most significant moment came in the third round when Van Staden had a point deducted for grabbing the fence one too many times.
Most likely aware that he was behind on the scorecards, Van Staden came out like a house on fire in the last round and landed several heavy shots. However, Mazany was able to ride out the rest of the round to pick up the decision victory. Van Staden was not happy with the result.
“The judges must be blind. I’m not saying anything, but ja. I did all the damage. He ran away a lot. He pushed me against the cage, tried to hold me. That’s not fighting. I tried to fight. ...Hats off to Dave for the wrestling match,” he said.
In other results from the main card: Gideon Drotschie beat Jenaid Ebanks via unanimous decision, Faeez Jacobs beat Tumisang Madiba via submission, Justin Smith picked up a TKO victory over Giovanni Pretorius and Matunga Djikasa earned a submission win over Willem Smith.