Glory for PE fighters

Cedrick Mbala sinks in the choke that defeated Stiaan Brown in just 43 seconds at the FightStars Amateur Fighting Championship in Johannesburg
Picture: Fightstars Amateur Fighting Championship

MMA academy members take clutch of medals at two events

A haul of 10 gold medals and two amateur mixed martial arts victories at the weekend cemented the Port Elizabeth Submission Fighting Academy’s (Pesfa’s) place among the country’s top fight gyms.

While two of the academy’s upand-coming fighters stepped into the cage at South Africa’s leading amateur fight promotion FightStars in Johannesburg, a team of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) competitors raked in the international ranking points at the UAE Jiu Jitsu Federation’s Cape Town Pro.

In Johannesburg, Bloemendal’s Shane Higgins, 32, dominated his opponent for the duration of their three-round bout, winning by unanimous decision.

His teammate, Cedrick Mbala, 31, made quick work of his opponent, sinking in a choke hold in the first round and securing the victory in just 43 seconds.

Mbala, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, only started Mixed Martial Ats (MMA) training five months ago, but is undefeated after two dominant performances.

Meanwhile, in the Mother City, the Pesfa team’s official medal tally stood at 10 gold, three silver and four bronze, leaving them in second place overall behind Renzo Gracie Academy Cape Town after two days of competition.

The team’s top performances came from Zwide’s Sindile Manengela and Reece van der Merwe, of Summerstrand.

Manengela, 32, bagged gold medals in his division (purple belt under 77kg) as well as the open weight division, while Van der Merwe, 21, brought home a gold medal in the purple belt under 69kg division and a bronze medal in the open weight category.

In the women’s white belt division, Janine Brown, 34, and Varla King, 39, won gold medals in the under 62kg and under 90kg categories respectively.

Caileigh Stap, from Port Elizabeth’s Evolution MMA academy, secured a silver medal in the women’s blue belt under 62kg division.

Pesfa head coach Chris Bright praised his team for their performances in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.

“These achievements are testimony to the hard work and dedication of our competitors. We have a strong team and we are always pushing each other harder to become better competitors.

“Compared to our opposition, we are a pretty small team, so it is great to see that we can tackle the two biggest events on opposite ends of the country, in different martial arts codes, and still achieve some major success.”

Bright said their two MMA prospects’ victories would set them up for more high-profile fights in the year to come, and predicted many more medals for his team for the 2018 calendar.

“We are ever improving. I am very excited to see what our team can achieve,” he said.

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