PRETORIA – We say goodbye to a legend, ladies and gents.
That’s right. Andrew van Zyl, the legend, the champion, the Iron Jaw, the 19-5, the machine, and the One Gear has called time on an illustrious career.
What started out as a professional career back in 2001, the Parktown Boys High school teacher said goodbye to the fans on Saturday night at EFC76.
It may not have been the fairytale send-off, but there are more than enough highlights reels to look upon to celebrate an incredible career for the two-time Extreme Fighting Championship heavyweight king.
“I would like to thank the EFC, the fans, my team and my sponsors,” said an emotional Van Zyl at the post-match press conference, which was received with a standing ovation led by his old-time rival and former EFC champ and UFC veteran, Ruan Potts.
“Andrew is still young, who knows, he might come back in a few years’ time. He is still young, don’t forget, I am the old man here,” joked Potts as he paid his respects to his colleague.
“Iron Jaw” was overcome for the first time ever by England’s Stuart Austin on Saturday night in Pretoria, Menlyn Maine in the Main Card fight.
Both were coming off a loss to current heavy and light heavyweight boss Champion Dalcha, and bristling for a fight.
Van Zyl came out steaming, landing a series of jabs and hooks, but soon Austin scored a takedown and took control with a dangerous crucifix and ground and pound, before silencing the arena by knocking Andrew out.
Following his victory, Stuart Austin called out Potts.
“I want Potts, I don’t care who wins easy money!” Austin roared, to which Potts answered after his loss to Jared Vanderaa: “Let that Englishman come.”
Austin has put himself at the very top of the contender pile however, and his next opponent remains to be seen.
Andrew van Zyl has officially retired from professional MMA.— EFC (@EFCworldwide) December 8, 2018
Two-time former EFC heavyweight champion Potts returned to the hexagon in a battle for the interim heavyweight belt after Dalcha opted to pursue a super-fight with welterweight and middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis.
Vanderaa came out sharp and as always with a plan, striking outside using the distance against a master grappler.
Vanderaa dominated the exchanged for the majority of the fight as he chipped away at Potts’ tank and body with his limbs.
Potts tried to keep the battle at close quarters, but Vanderaa was just too strong to give that up.
American Vanderaa scored the takedown and unloaded a vicious ground and pound attack, to which Potts had no response (for the majority of the entire fight actually), forcing the referee to call a stoppage in the third.@juliankiewietz