Johannesburg - Nicole van Wyk appreciates it when her gym teammates shout advice to her from outside the hexagon.
Representing Team South Africa at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation Africa Championships, Van Wyk was assigned two national coaches by MMASA (Mixed Martial Arts South Africa.
These coaches are responsible for guiding the athletes during the tournament, however, this did not stop her House of Tinkerbell gym teammates and Extreme Fighting Championship athletes, Gift Walker and Peace Nguphane from shouting tips from the audience.
“Yes, it does irritate the SA coaches sometimes, but Giftie (Gift Walker) and Peace train with me. They know me, they know what my style is, and that is why there were also shouting in the back ‘do this and do that’, and I always listen, I do good when I also listen to them. They know my game,” says the 2021 South African flyweight champion.
Van Wyk has a chance to add another gold medal to her closet on Saturday when she faces fellow teammate, Bianca Stander in the African Championship flyweight final after beating fellow South African, Nadia Terblanche via a rear-naked choke in the second round of their semi-final match on Friday.
Van Wyk agrees that fighting teammates is never easy, however, she feels that all competitors are at the championship to prove who is the best.
“It’s something you have to work through mentally,” says Van Wyk on facing Terblanche - who happened to get the silver behind Van Wyk at last year’s national tournament.
“It’s not cool fighting your friend, but they’re part of the team, you have to see who the best is, and when you get in the cage, it’s only you and you alone.
“This year, I am going to get that gold at the African Championships, no matter what,” adds the 20-year-old Van Wyk who resides in Boksburg.
Her quest for glory may not be an easy one as she faces an extremely tough grappler in the form of Stander, the PFC strawweight champion and bronze medalist at last year’s nationals.
Van Wyk might have the advantage in terms of weight with her being a natural flyweight and her opponent having never fought at 56.7 kilograms before.
However, Stander proved herself worthy in the heavier weight division against a very strong Judo practitioner, Angola’s Esperanca Pereira - whom she beat in the second round via rear-naked choke.
Both Van Wyk and Stander sport a strong ground game, but the difference might come on the feet where Nicole could have the upper hand with her kickboxing background, should the fight go there, or stay there.
Saturday’s finals will begin at 11am. Stay tuned to IOLSport and MzansiMMA for updates.
Results from day 2’s semi-final action:
Bout 1: Female F: Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Bianca Stander (South Africa) d e f Esperanca Pereira (Angola) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 2, 2:10
Bout 2: Female F: Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Nicole Van Wyk (South Africa) d e f Nadia Terblanche (South Africa) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 2, 2:06
Bout 3: Female F: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Mischka Laubscher (South Africa) d e f Carissa Botha (South Africa) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 1, 2:00
Bout 4: Male M: Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Mathys du Randt (South Africa) d e f Jason Beukes (Namibia) via Unanimous Decision Round 3 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Bout 5: Male M: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Maurio Silva (Angola) d e f Adalberto Ntyamba (Angola) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 1, 2:31
Bout 6: Male M: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Nathanial Komana (South Africa) d e f Sipho Mlaba (South Africa) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 2, 1:50
Bout 7: Male M: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Veja Hinda (Namibia) d e f Geraldo Moïse (Mauritius) via KO Round 1, 0:52
Bout 8: Male M: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Nicolaas Vermaak (South Africa) d e f Elizandro Sousa (Angola) via TKO Round 1, 0:59
Bout 9: Male M: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Ken Nyaondo (Zambia) d e f Tulunda Daniel (Angola) via Unanimous Decision Round 3 (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Bout 10: Male M: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Lewis Mataya (Zimbabwe) d e f Geraldo Bok (Namibia) via TKO Round 2, 2:14
Bout 11: Male M: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Osvaldo Benedito (Angola) d e f Ivandro Francisco (Angola) via Submission (Americana) Round 2, 1:00
Bout 12: Male M: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Cameron Coulson (South Africa) d e f Tyrone Platt (South Africa) via Unanimous Decision Round 3 (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Bout 13: Male M: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Elisio Zua (Angola) d e f Adei Volker (South Africa) via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 2, 2:46
Bout 14: Male M: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Elyse Balepe (Democratic Republic Of The Congo) d e f Garcia Kinkela (Angola) via KO Round 1, 3:00
Bout 15: Male M: Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Zhane Tannous (South Africa) d e f Enoc Emilio Kakesa (Angola) via Submission (Triangle Choke) Round 1, 2:52
This report is sponsored by the Capital Hotel and Apartments