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EFC91: Controversy before the first bell

Luthando Biko looking strong and ready ahead of his EFC91 title bout. Photo: EFCWorldwide

Luthando Biko looking strong and ready ahead of his EFC91 title bout. Photo: EFCWorldwide

Published Dec 3, 2021

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Cape Town — The Extreme Fighting Championship may not be able to fulfill its plan to bring down the 2021 curtain down with a banger 16-fight card, however, there should still be enough on the menu to whet the appetite.

Friday’s EFC91 weigh-ins were marred with controversy due to various factors including weight cut issues, Covid-19 complications and injuries.

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The main event and flyweight title fight — which will see Nkazimulo Zulu (13-4) face Luthando Biko (8-3) — was almost at risk of being called off when Nkazimulo again struggled with a weight cut.

A weakened Nkazimulo — who had to be assisted to the scales — eventually made the weight, making the fight official.

In their last title fight at EFC89, Nkazimulo failed to make weight. The fight continued and saw Nkazimulo beat Luthando, however, was not eligible for the belt due to being overweight.

There were concerns regarding Nkazimulo Zulu's health at the EFC91 weigh-ins. Photo: EFCWorldwide

When asked about Luthando’s chances, EFC bantamweight champion and Luthando’s PEFSA teammate, Sindile Manengela says that Zulu won't be as fortunate again.

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Despite being dominated in the first round by Luthando, Zulu capitalised the moment Luthando slacked and locked in a deep guillotine choke to win the match in the second round.

“Luthando lost concentration in that fight, it’s something common in this game,” says Sindile (8-6).

“We know that won’t happen again, especially against the same opponent. Luthando knows that he has better tools than Nkazimulo, he is a more complete fighter. I believe that we will overwhelm Nkazimulo this time around.”

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Similar to the EFC89 main event, the EFC91 co-main event between defending featherweight champion Reinaldo Ekson (16-5) and challenger, the DRC’s August Kayambala (5-2) was forced to be changed to a none-title three round bout after Kayambala was unable to make the championship bout weight requirements.

Can Nkazimulo Zulu secure another win and once again get that flyweight belt? Photo: EFCWorldwide

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The fights between Gian Souza (7-1) and Julio Plaatjies (2-0), Dylan Swanepoel (0-1) and Musa Sethwape (0-1), Gift Walker (1-0) and Teboho Ntene (0-1) were all called off due to Covid-19 complications.

After a failed medical check in the Martin Gcinumkhondo (6-6) camp, his fight with newbie, Lukhmaan Jhazbhay (0-0) was also called off.

After hearing the news of his fight cancellation, Lukhmaan was willing to step up a division and face Gift in an agreed upon bantamweight division fight.

There are quite a few exciting fights fans can look forward, one of them includes the return of crowd favourite, Brazil’s Jose Da Rocha. The former welterweight contender takes on Kaleka Kabanda (4-5) in a catchweight bout.

In the heavyweight division, fans can expect fireworks when former Heavyweight contender, the DRC’s Matunga Djikasa (4-3) takes on Cameroon’s Nico Yamdjie (3-6) in a bout that is expected to end early.

Following current heavyweight champion, Thabani Mndebela’s ongoing issues with the EFC regarding the belt and the brand’s inability to get the strap to him on time, the fight between Nico and Matunga could be a decider for a new number one contender.

Following all the cancellations, the EFC91 card will now be a 13-fight card.

You can catch all the action on on efcworldwide.tv or on SuperSport, SABC Openview.

The prelims kick off at 13:30 (Central African Time) with the main card starting at 6pm.

Tickets and television broadcast information available at efcworldwide.com

EFC 91 MAIN CARD BOUTS | STARTING 18:00 CAT

FLYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MAIN EVENT

Nkazimulo Zulu 124.8 lbs (RSA) vs (RSA) Luthando Biko 124.6 lbs

FEATHERWEIGHT CO-MAIN EVENT

Reinaldo Ekson 145 lbs (BRA) vs (DRC) August Kayambala 148.2 lbs - Kayambala did not make weight; fight is no longer for the championship and is now a 3 round fight

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT

Cole Henning 153.1 lbs (RSA) vs (RSA) Tumisang Madiba 152.8 lbs

CATCHWEIGHT BOUT

Jose Da Rocha 174.4 lbs (BRA) vs (DRC) Kaleka Kabanda 173.8 lbs

HEAVYWEIGHT BOUT

Nico Yamdjie 264.9 lbs (CAM) vs (DRC) Matunga Djikasa 241.1 lbs

EFC 91 PRELIM BOUTS | STARTING 15:00 CAT

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT BOUT

Ceileigh Niedermayr 124.5 lbs vs Dayne Van Wyk 127 lbs - Van Wyk missed weight

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT

Bradley Swanepoel 145 lbs vs Vince Bembe 145 lbs

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT

Ashley Calvert 145 lbs vs Sizwe Mnikathi 145 lbs

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT

Adrian Sanchez 155 lbs vs Chris Dove 154.2 lbs

BANTAMWEIGHT BOUT

Lukhmaan Jhazbhay 129.8 lbs vs Gift Walker 131 lbs

EFC 91 EARLY PRELIM BOUTS | STARTING 13:30 CAT

CATCHWEIGHT BOUT

Pietie Coxen 175.9 lbs vs Peace Nguphane 173.7 lbs

LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT

Stevo Law 153.7 lbs vs Tapiwa Katikati 154.8 lbs

FEATHERWEIGHT BOUT

Danie Swart 145 lbs vs Corne Blom 144.5 lbs

@juliankiewietz

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