CAPE TOWN - Roedie Roets is back! And this time he has added some Thai swagger to his arsenal and persona.
The South African mixed martial arts star was on a tear regarding his career, just one step away from a title before that unfortunate KO inflicted by Pierre Botha at EFC77.
The defeat was a tough pill to swallow following a five-fight winning streak since he turned pro.
But as they say, when one door closes, another opens. Roedie - via the help of his SA teammate and UFC star, Don Madge - was scouted and offered to become a wrestling coach at the Phuket Top Team in Thailand.
“Their previous wrestling coach was moving back to the United States of America, and they were on the lookout for a new one. They know Don Madge well since he trains there quite often, they asked him if he knew anyone with a high-wrestling pedigree, and someone who would also make a great coach. He gave them my name before the owner called me to offer me the job. I got the position because of all (of) my wrestling credentials and my professional fighting resume,” Roedie says. For those who don’t know, Roedie is one of Africa and the world’s most elite wrestlers and has shown off his ability over and over again on wrestling mats as well as in the hexagon.
And so, a move to Thailand, the land that is so passionate about combat sports - more notably Muay Thai - can only boost Roedie’s complete game even more as so many top MMA stars have walked through Phuket Top Team’s doors.
“It has indeed improved my striking and clinch game so much. As well as working with world-class striking coaches from all over the world. I am very fortunate and lucky to be able to work with the athletes at Phuket Top Team,” Roedie says.
Before his departure, Roedie had spoken about his goals and endeavours, he told me that his goal was to get that EFC featherweight title before taking bigger steps in the MMA world.
Things may not have gone his way following that KO loss as it could have slowed down his travels to the top, but now he is back with even more and he is more than motivated to get what he has always wanted.
“I’ve been back for a week now, came a bit early to acclimatise before my fight,” says Roedie who used to fight for FFM and coach Quan University. “The title has always been a dream of mine, but at the moment I am focusing on improving myself and building my skill-set and getting back into it. The title will come in due time. I only want to become the best version of myself.”
Roedie returns to the hexagon at EFC83 this weekend to fight Serge Kasanda in a lightweight bout.
He will be looking to pick right up where he left off pre-KO, but Kasanda - a judo and jujutsu specialist - is a man often used to testing other fighters on the EFC roster and he will be no easy feat.
With Roedie’s strong wrestling game coming up against another grappler, instead of keeping the fight too much in the clinch or on the canvas, this could be the perfect time for Roedie to show off some of his Muay Thai skills and swagger he picked up around the Asian waters.
“I’ll be with PTT for a long time I’m sure. I feel like I’ve found my home with them,” he says.
The prelim card features: Roedie Roets vs Serge Kasanda, Conrad Seabi vs Andrew Smith, Stephen de La Rey vs Amisi Kabeya, Nerick Simoes vs Warren Richards, Cameron Saaiman vs Corne Blom and Tommy Strydom vs Elvis Ngwalangwala
The main card features: Dricus du Plessis vs Brendan Lesar, Amanda Lino vs Manon Fiorot, Marino Cutendana vs Sylvester Chipfumbu, Anicet Kanyeba vs Saxon Delafield, Devon Cronje vs Asiashu Tshitamba.
EFC83 takes place tomorrow at Times Square, Menlyn, Pretoria.
You can catch the main card live on SuperSport11 at 8pm before a delayed broadcast on SABC3 at 9.30pm.