It was Archimedes who once said that the “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line”.
And it seems mixed martial artist Rizlen Zouak wants to take the shortest, most direct route to the top in her Extreme Fighting Championship endeavours.
“I want to be the alpha female in the EFC,” says Zouak.
“Amanda Lino is Number 1 in the organisation. So I need to beat her to be the greatest,” says the French warrior, straight up ahead of her fight with flyweight champion, Lino.
Zouak could have opted to first get more fights under the proverbial belt by attempting to clean up the small bantamweight division and then take on a couple of opponents in the flyweight division before challenging one of the most feared MMA students in the EFC organisation.
But her competitive and calculating nature has her zoned in on Amanda and the inaugural women’s bantamweight championship which headlines EFC70 today at Sibaya, Durban.
Women’s MMA has taken off in Mzansi, whether it be on the fighting or health and fitness front and it looks set to continue growing.
Not too long ago, we saw South Africa’s Danella Eliasov fall short to Italy’s Chiara Penco at EF67 for the strawweight belt, sad for South Africans, but good moments for MMA and women’s MMA.
Today at Sibaya, it will be another contest between a local favourite and a dangerous foreigner.
Lino, an MMA superstar from Ballito, KwaZulu Natal, is celebrated not only in her neck of the woods but across South Africa.
The rock-star type athlete penned her name down as the first EFC women’s champion after overcoming Jacqualine Trosee last year and with her aggressive and lethal front-foot stand up, she had seemed unstoppable, until the unthinkable happened when Zouak called the flyweight out to throw-down in a heavier division, which Lino agreed to with a smile.
“I don’t think anyone is losing in terms of this fight,” says Zouak ahead of the controversies that always surround fighters being called out to drop or push up a weight.
“It’s an opportunity for me to fight for a belt, and to become more acquainted with the people of South Africa and Durban. And for Amanda, it’s a chance to make history by becoming the first two-division champion in the history of the EFC,’ adds Zouak, who fights out of the highly-rated MMA Factory in France.
Zouak has an undefeated record of 2-0 in the EFC that came with two strong finishes. She is a decorated athlete who took home gold and bronze medals on more than one occasion on the international Judo scene.
She is also the first woman in the history of Moroccan Judo to have made it to the Olympic Games in both 2012 and 2016.
With that high-level Judo, mixed with some elite boxing to add to her strong physique, she has the capabilities to subdue an opponent in various manners.
Her calculated attack and timing has been the catalyst in her two showings in the South African promotion thus far.
A notable point is the fact that when Lino overcame Trosee in their last encounter, it was a dog-fight that went to the third round before Trosee tapped out via arm-bar. On the other hand Zouak took only 27 seconds to overcome Trosee – a tough, hard and well-respected opponent- with one KO punch.
But differing styles make for totally different contests.
Lino will know that this will be a fight that will take more than just a dogged fighter to overcome. She loves to get physical and enjoys a good slug fest, not lacking any tactical nous and skill, but Zouak is just as dangerous in a more patient manner and enjoys openings to induce her judo.
It’s a case of when to contrasting forces collide, let’s see which force has the winning formula.
Prelim Card (Live-streamed from 5.30pm on Facebook)
Madlopha vs Dwama (flyweight)
Ngema vs R De Beer (bantamweight)
M Hlongwa vs Swanepoel (middleweight)
Singh vs Kasanda (lightweight)
Mnikathi vs Ngcobo (lightweight)
M De Beer vs Hassan (flyweight)
Main Card (To be aired live on SABC3 at 9.30pm on Saturday)
K Hlongwa vs Openshaw (middleweight)
Mndebela vs Strydom (heavyweight)
Moodley vs Octavio (flyweight)
Ojewole vs Trosee (bantamweight)
Lino vs Zouak (championship bantamweight)