Jose da Rocha says he feels very welcomed in South Africa. Photo: Roarke Bouffe / EFC Worldwide

CAPE TOWN - I’ve often listened to people who speak of Brazil having such likeness to South Africa, Africa and vice versa. “It feels like you’re in Cape Town in certain places,” or “the people, the food and the beaches, and vegetation remind you so much of home”.

We could go back in history to 335 million years ago when the supercontinent Pangaea existed. Geographically, Brazil (South America) was attached to what is today known as the west coast of Africa before continental plate shifting split our land about 175 million years later. We could find the answer there, maybe.

But at the end of the day, it may not come as a surprise, why Jose da Rocha enlightens us of his warm experiences when visiting the Mother Land. “I love (Nelson) Mandela’s history, I love the people, the country. I’ve known some beautiful places here and every time I come here I feel very welcomed,” says Da Rocha.

Da Rocha is set to face the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Gunther Kalunda this weekend at EFC73 in the quest to own the interim welterweight belt at Sun City. Reigning champion Dricus du Plessis was unable to compete on African soil due to his scheduled title defence at the European MMA promotion, KSW in October and has also declined a fight with both Kalunda and Da Rocha.

He felt that Kalunda needed more wins under his belt (5-0) and he beat Da Rocha in their “last-minute” scheduled fight. Hence the instatement of an interim belt which will then force Dricus to “knuckle up and throw down” against the victor of this weekend’s Main Event in the coming future. “It doesn’t bother me, I know sooner or later we will end up meeting,” says Jose of Dricus.

Many feel that Dricus was very fortunate to quickly subdue Jose in their last match and that it could have been a whole different story, espeially considering that the Brazilian took the fight on seven days’ notice and had to face many adversities in getting to the fight.

But today, Jose just has one focus and that is to overcome Gunther Kalunda. Kalunda’s record speaks for itself, having only gone the distance once in his EFC career, he holds a 75% finish rate evenly spread between TKO and submission victories.

“Everything I have done has been focusing on being champion, I was expecting to fight for the real belt but I am looking forward to winning this fight. “Gunther is a good fighter, his strong point is his physical strength but I believe I can overcome him in all other areas.

“I am in great shape, much stronger and more technical since my first title shot. This title will come back with me to Brazil,” said Jose who made a statement of intent after knocking out FFM’s lethal Cameron Pritchard in just 23 seconds. “I just hope Dricus doesn’t run away after I win this one,” added Jose.

Meanwhile, Gunther believes that he will “kick Jose’s ass in the first round” before following in the footsteps of his countrymen Champion Dalcha and Igeu Kabese by becoming the DRC’s third EFC champion. If you hear a major thud this weekend, don’t be alarmed. It will probably be the sound of the continents colliding.

IOL Sport

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