Jared Vanderaa hopes to win the interim heavyweight belt at EFC76 this weekend. Photo: Supplied

PRETORIA  Playing in the MMA cage brings Jared Vanderaa “a feeling of godliness that can’t be put into words”.

As in many facets of life, a sense of liberation and euphoria that people embrace is something that is best experienced, regardless of how vividly you can describe it.

“Belts are cool to have, but at the end of the day, I love fighting,” he says.

And this weekend at EFC76, Vanderaa will embrace yet another MMA love moment when he steps into the cage with one of the most experienced and successful Heavyweights in the Extreme Fighting Championship.

Jared will be on the EFC fight card for the third time at Menlyn Maine , Pretoria to challenge Ruan Potts for the interim heavyweight belt.

Due to current Heavyweight title-holder, champion Dalcha’s decision to engage in a super fight with welterweight and middleweight champion Dricus du Plessis, it has left the space open for an interim belt.

Jared will be coming up against the former EFC champion, Ruan, who is no stranger to the heavyweight throne.

A former two-time heavyweight champion, Ruan has carried the belt for a long time before signing a contract with the UFC, being one of the African fighters to compete in the biggest MMA promotion in the world.

39-year-old Ruan’s venture on the famed US circuit might not have been that fruitful considering the three losses he took over there, but his overall record of 11-6 speaks volumes of the impact he has had on the local scene.

“Yeah it is something to make it on the UFC scene, but all I train with are UFC guys or vets of the UFC,” says Jared (7-3).

“(Richard) Odoms (12-3) was with the UFC, and we went to war in the LFA promotion. It was not a favourable outcome for me, I did not train properly to win that fight,” he says looking back at a bout in which he got submitted via a Kimura lock in round five (pretty impressive for someone who did not train properly for a championship bout).

“But this time around I covered all my holes and plan on taking a win over the UFC vet. Ruan is a mainly a grappler, he tends to rely on his Jits (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) work to get him the win.”

It is true that Ruan loves his BJJ, the man is an explosive roller and his record reflects that with six wins via submission.

“I hate that some fighters are heavy reliant only on certain aspects of the game… this is MMA, you need to mix it up, yeah, most people know I am a stand-up fighting guy, but I am not afraid of getting on the ground to win either.”

“I believe I am one of the most well-rounded heavyweights in the world which will create problems for Ruan. I am confident in my skill all-round and can quickly adapt to styles and I will always move forward.”

Jared is certainly the most dangerous pure heavyweight in the EFC game so far. No disrespect to Champion Dalcha who took on a super fight moving up from light heavyweight to overcome Andrew van Zyl for the belt.

Andrew won that battle, but it was a very close fight, you could even argue that Jared won the fight after dominating plenty of the exchanges.

The American possess lethal and accurate boxing and kicking power and you could see that on display against Elvis Moyo who he finished in round two at EFC73.

The pretty awesome thing about Jared is, he speaks his game and he actually delivers that, just like he planned the Elvis fight in which he destroyed his opponent's legs before ending the fight with a TKO.

A tactic he knew would work considering Moyo’s love for boxing mostly.

So don’t be surprised if he silences Ruan’s fans this coming Saturday with everything but BJJ and embraces that godliness once more.


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