Cape Town — South Africa’s Sindile Manengela has a chance to elevate his career this weekend when he steps into the UAE Warriors cage.
The Extreme Fighting Championship bantamweight king swooped in at short notice and will take on Cameroon’s Jaures Dea (7-4) in the co-main event of UAE Warriors 25: Africa tonight.
The first of its kind for the brand, UAE Warriors: Africa will be a series of events dedicated to showcasing some of the best signed and unsigned African athletes, helping to provide more platforms to advance their careers and will also be an opportunity of a lifetime considering the promotions’ close ties with the world’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Following his win over Faeez Jacobs (7-4) for the vacant EFC bantamweight belt after former champion — and now UAE Warriors-signed athlete — Sylvester Chipfumbu relinquished his title, Sindile (8-6) was busy preparing for a competition when he got the call.
“It was a short-notice fight, but luckily I was preparing for a grappling tournament, so when my management team informed me of the chance, I was not caught off guard,” says Manengela who arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
The fight will take place at featherweight, a division Manengela is well-acquainted with, even though he has enjoyed more success in the lighter category which has seen him claim champion status so far.
“It was only because of the short-notice fight that I accepted the weight terms, I will return to bantamweight after this fight,” Manengela says. Jaures will be desperate for a win after suffering two losses at UAE Warriors 14 and 18 respectively while the South African is riding a four-fight winning streak with his last loss coming in 2018 against a formidable countryman, Roedie Roets (6-1).
Manengela confirmed that he is still contracted to the EFC, however, he can’t confirm when the term expires.
“To be honest, I don’t know how long I still have left on my current EFC contract, we have not looked at it yet. But if something comes up after this fight, my team will sit down with the EFC as I believe that the promotion and my team want to see me succeed in life. Also, I would love to compete overseas and test myself against international fighters,” adds Manengela.
UAE Warriors 25: Africa takes place at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island — more affectionately known Fight Island. It will be followed by UAE Warriors 26: Arabia 6 next Saturday in the same arena.
Both events will be available to watch live on UFC Fight Pass.
UAE Warriors 25: Africa Fight Card
Welterweight: Wisem Hammami (6-0, Tunisia/Italy) vs. Shido Soto (5-0, Angola)
Featherweight: Jaures Dea (7-4, Cameroon) vs. Sindile Manengela (8-6, South Africa)
Bantamweight: Samir Faiddine (12-8, Comoros/France) vs. Hicham Rachid (9-6, Morocco)
Middleweight: Eslam Syaha (11-2, Egypt) vs. Ndidi Alonu (10-2, Nigeria)
Catchweight 194 lb: Yousri Belgaroui (2-0, Tunisia/Netherlands) vs. Ahmed Sami (6-1, Egypt)
Heavyweight: Sofiane Boukichou (7-4, Morocco/France) vs. Pelu Adetola (7-9, Nigeria)
Bantamweight: Iony Razafiarison (6-3, Madagascar/France) vs. Alice Ngom (1-0, Cameroon)
Catchweight: (Mohamed Ali (11-15, Egypt) vs. Jonathan Bosuku (7-7, Congo Kinshasa)
Welterweight: Demezode Agba (Debut, Central African Republic) vs. Christopher Bajo (2-1, Gambia)
Lightweight: Wilson Varela (4-2, Cape Verde/France) vs. Steve Endom Bikim (2-0, Cameroon)
Featherweight: Alphonse Viny Bessala (2-0, Cameroon) vs. Demba Seck (1-0, Senegal)
Light Heavyweight: Cidiri Cisse (Debut, Mali/France) vs. Cedric Lushima (1-0, Congo Kinshasa)