Mzwandile learnt a lot from Khamzat
CAPE TOWN - Looking back at UFC star Khamzat Chimaev’s dominating run, there is no reason for South Africa’s Mzwandile Hlongwa (5-1) to fret, but only be encouraged that he shared the cage with one of the best in the game.
If you are keen on climbing the rungs of your sport, it’s key that you compete with the best in order for you to gauge where your weaknesses and strengths are.
It gives you a chance to appreciate your discipline, but also allows you to grow and take on board that which is needed to “level up” as singer Ciara says.
Hlongwa learnt some tough lessons after being dominated by one of the best middleweights (Khamzat) in their fight at Brave 27 last year. It was after stunning the world with a vicious spinning elbow KO against Torbjorn Madsen at EFC75 the year before.
At the time, the “greater MMA world” was not fully aware of who the Swede, Chimaev (9-0) was or what he was really capable of until he got signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship and went on an absolute rampage in the crème de la crème of mixed martial arts.
From July through to September, Chimaev finished three opponents (with only one of the bouts running into the second round), with his next fight set to be against top star Leon Edwards.
“I learnt so much from that fight with Khamzat,” says Hlongwa.
“That loss helped me and revealed where I need to fix my game,” says the vicious heavy-handed striker who was mauled and out-wrestled by his opponent who trains with fellow UFC star and countryman, Alex Gustafsson in Sweden.
“There is nothing wrong with my ground game, but I understand that I can work more on my takedown defence and accept that my brother Khamzat is different as you saw what he is doing in the UFC.
“I am so proud of him and we are good friends now,” adds Hlongwa who was personally invited by Chimaev via video to fly over and train with their crew in Stockholm.
I am so grateful to have the opportunity to help give fighters the much-needed platform to tell their stories with our platform @MmaMzansi Fighting #Crime fighting #Abuse fighting #Femicide fighting #Gangsterism fighting #poverty fighting #hunger through sport. @IOLsport @IOL pic.twitter.com/IV2bTzdOQf— juliankiewietz (@juliankiewietz) October 26, 2020
Tomorrow Hlongwa will take on Austria’s Dom Schober in a heavy-handed middleweight bout at Brave CF44 in Bahrain.
Hlongwa is coming off a win over his idol and fellow South African, Jeremy Smith, at Brave CF 31 last year – a bout which was voted as Brave CF’s 2019 Fight of the Year Another impressive showing this week could take Hlongwa one step closer to the title with the Chimaev loss being the only blemish on his record thus far.
But in his way will be an opponent who is tipped to match his power. Schober (11-8) pulled off 11 stoppages in his 11 victories with two fights not going his way.
His latest fight saw Phil Hawes submit him in the first round. With a two-fight losing streak, Schober will be hungry to get back to winning ways and will be keen to throw leather considering that he will be up against a fellow striker.
“What I noticed about him (Schober) is that he loves fighting and loves pain,” says Hlongwa.
“I have been keeping an eye on him, he can fight, but I am better than him and it is going to be hard for him to deal with my style,” added Hlongwa.
BRAVE CF 44 is headlined by a gigantic title fight as reigning lightweight world champion Cleiton “Predator’’ Silva defends his throne against top contender and submission machine Amin “Fierceness’’ Ayoub.
Also set for fight night are two pivotal match-ups at welterweight (Abdoul Abdouraguimov vs Louis Glismann) and lightweight (John Brewin taking on veteran Rolando Dy).