Johannesburg - South Africa’s Mzwandile Hlongwa returns to the cage on Saturday after almost two years on the sideline.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and one fight cancellation, the man known as Snakebone last fought in November 2020 when he beat Austria’s Dominic Schober (11-10) in their middleweight bout that ended via a doctor’s stoppage in round two.
At Brave CF 58 on Saturday, Hlongwa - whose only loss came to UFC superstar, Sweden’s Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) - faces the highly-touted South Korean, La In Jae in the main event.
With the Brave promotion making its debut in Incheon, Korea on Saturday, La In Jae (10-1-1) will be keen on making a statement in front of the home crowd, especially considering the fact that it will also be his first time fighting for the Bahrain promotion.
Hlongwa, the man widely known for his vicious spinning back (h) elbow knockout against Norway’s Torbjorn Madsen at EFC 75 was set to face Russia’s Rustam Chsiev (5-3) in March last year, however the bout was canceled, depriving the South African of the opportunity to do what he loves best.
Like so many people, the pandemic was very hard on Hlongwa.
Prior to the pandemic, Hlongwa stayed with his long-time coach, Ferdi Basson in Gauteng training out of the renowned Junkyard MMA gym.
When the pandemic hit, he was away from home for so long due to travel bans within the country, unable to work (fight). The reality of him not having any fights and not making money led to his decision to move closer to his family who demanded that he rather come home. It also made sense considering that there was no work for him at the time. He then decided to make the move and train closer to his family when the opportunity arrived.
The Kwa-Zulu Natalian now trains in Pietermaritzburg at Mustangs Athletic MMA, an hour away from his home.
It may be a huge inconvenience in terms of traveling and not being with his coach, but Mzwandile is happy to be close to his family.
“Yeah, that is life, there are challenges that you have to overcome. I am just excited to have a fight again, too. I am always ready to fight, even after this one, I am keen to fight soon. I hope I can perform well this weekend,” says Hlongwa.
BRAVE CF 58 Official Weigh-In Results
Middleweight: Mzwandile Hlongwa (84,3 kg) vs In Jae La (84,05 kg)
Super Welterweight: Marcin Bandel (79,65 kg) vs Luis Felipe Dias (78,1 kg)
Lightweight: Rolando Dy (70,45 kg) vs Ho Taek Oh (70,3 kg)
Super Lightweight: Maciej Gierszewski (75,05 kg) vs Issa Isakov (74,9 kg)
Catchweight 67 kg: Walter Cogliandro (67 kg) vs Jae Hyuk Bang (66,75 kg)
Featherweight: Abdullah Al-Qahtani (66,2 kg) vs Yong Soo Jung (66,05 kg)
Catchweight 77kg: Axel Sola (76,7 kg) vs Yoon Sung Jang (76,65 kg)
Flyweight: Sim Kai Xiong (56,68 kg) vs Chang Ho Lee (57,02 kg)
Atomweight: Gillian Goh (47,2 kg) vs Yerin Hong (47,52 kg)
Heavyweight: Jun Soo Lim (120,15 kg) vs Myung Hwan Kim (117,7 kg)
Featherweight: Joo Sang Yoo (65,85 kg) vs Doo Seok Oh (65,9 kg)