CAPE TOWN – When asked whether a rematch was on the cards, EFC president Cairo Howarth’s response was ‘Hell yeah’ following the controversial lightweight championship bout at EFC72.
On a night that had the makings of an exciting card, Dave ‘The Pain Train’ Mazany reclaimed the lightweight belt when he overcame title-holder Martin van Staden (26-11) at the Grand Arena on Saturday night.
Mazany (17-6) won the tight contest via split decision when the ring announcer confirmed “49-45 Mazany, 46-48 Van Staden, and 49-45 Mazany,” much to the displeasure of the fans who felt that the American had not done enough to take the title from his FFM rival.
It was always expected that Mazany would try and take the fight to the ground to subdue the threat of his opponent, who has the superior striking.
Mazany did well to stick to his game plan and played to his strengths not allowing Van Staden to gain ascendancy.
Mazany tried to keep it tight with the clinch and ground work, and continued to press Van Staden by trying to suffocate his space to move and unleash his fists and legs.
Both warriors failed to get the tank running at full speed, yet both made inroads. It was something of a Test match.
As the rounds progressed, Van Staden gained the odd small victory in the clinch, and Mazany scored strikes of his own from time to time. There were really only two defining moments.
One came when Van Staden was docked a point for fence-holding, much to the satisfaction of Mazany’s corner, who got up in uproar each time Van Staden grabbed the fence.
And the other was when Van Staden landed one distinct forearm that echoed across the Grand Arena as it landed on the ID of Mazany.
The battle was tension-filled from start to finish.
Both men left their hearts on the canvas, although some may say that Mazany tried to evade Van Staden on a couple of occasions when the South African found momentum.
“If feels good to get the W,” says Mazany. “I am a fighter and I don’t like decisions, I want a knockout or a submission, I did what I could and he did what he could, he didn’t finish, I didn’t finish.
“It’s mixed martial arts, and I guess according to the scorecard I won with wrestling,” he added. “It is unfortunate that neither one of us could finish the fight, it does feel good to have the belt though. I do appreciate the support.”
“To be the champ, you need to beat the champ,” said a visibly dejected Van Staden who, according to the judges, failed to defend his title convincingly.
“I want a rematch as soon as possible. I want to put this behind me and take it from there,” he added.
Shortly after the fight, fans and critics took to social media to vent.
Posts of ‘sabotage’ and ‘disgrace’ went viral as the EFC followers and MMA fans across the world expressed their concern with regards to how Dave got the win.
“I need to take some time off and go back to the drawing board, when I am ready I will definitely take the rematch,” added Mazany.
Dave Mazany defeated Martin van Staden to take the EFC lightweight championship by split decision.
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