CAPE TOWN - EFC Bantamweight titleholder Sylvester Chipfumbu confirmed that the Extreme Fighting Championship has a name in mind for his next fight.
Sylvester told Independent Media and MzansiMMA in an interview that the promotion is planning on lining up the Eastern Cape’s Sindile Manengela (7-6) for the former’s first title defence.
“There have been talks of me fighting Sindile Manengela for my first title defence, but we have not agreed on anything yet regarding the contract terms, so I will see what the EFC has for me,” says the Gauteng-based Zimbabwean (7-3).
Sylvester earned the bantamweight title in May after putting on a dominant display to dethrone former champion, Faeez Jacobs (7-3) at EFC85.
It was the culmination of a long and hard road that continues on an upward curve as Sylvester grows in leaps and bounds while training under the tutelage of former EFC champion, Angola’s Demarte Pena (11-0 2 No Contests) at Ultimate MMA Fitness (UMF) in Kyalami, Johannesburg.
Sylvester is now on a two-fight win streak (his third-last fight was in the bag until he landed an illegal kick to Fafa Dwama) and is building momentum as he refines his skills that has seen him shift from a strong stand-up fighter to an all-round mixed martial artist who now has a very, very strong wrestling base that seems to defuse his opponents.
“In terms of the future, obviously I just want to defend my title, let’s see what the EFC has to offer me, but if an opportunity arises for me to go overseas or to any other promotion - which we are looking at right now - I would not mind.
“AllI want to do is fight and provide for myself and my family, you know. That is what is important,” says the mixed martial artist.
Sylvester’s potential opponent - Sindile - too, has almost recreated himself since moving down to bantamweight and is now a threat in the division after having a mixed bag in his last four featherweight bouts, winning 2 out of 4.
Since his shift down, the man they call “Ghost” is yet to taste loss in the 135 pound (61 kilogram) division with two-out-of-two wins to his name so far - the first coming over Roevan de Beer (3-4) and second, Asiashu Tshitamba (4-3).
The Port Elizabeth Submission Fighting Academy student is an extremely strong Judoka which could make for an interesting bout with the Sylvester who can transition from great stand-up to wrestling when the need calls.
Aside from Sindile, Sylvester is well aware of the talent lurking in and around the 135 pound division.
“Cameron Saaiman is one of the threats, the thing with me is, fighting flyweight, bantamweight or featherweight, I always keep my eyes on you because those are possible opponents, those are people that can come up or move down to bantamweight.
“So anyone who fights in those divisions - regardless if you’re a freshman, contender or even under the radar - I consider each and every person a threat.”
Pretoria’s CIT athlete, Cameron (3-0), a protege of UFC Middleweight star, former double EFC champ and KSW champ, Dricus du Plessis, has a lot of hype around him and it is clear that the EFC are looking to build this 20-year-old who certainly has proven to be a name for the future.
Sylvester also said a rematch with former Flyweight champion, Nkazimulo Zulu (12-4) could play out completely differently this time.
In their first meet, back at EFC62 in 2017, a much smaller Sylvester lost his first shot when Nkazimulo finished him via TKO in the third round of the Flyweight bout.
“Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever make Flyweight again,” says Sylvester who has not only improved the technical side of his fight game, but also his conditioning and diet and credit must go to him and his dietician, Rory Diesel for the changes implemented.
The man is a completely different specimen and you can clearly see that it’s not just “life” weight added on, but pure work and grind that has moulded him into a much more prepared and stronger athlete.
“I have developed so much muscle and gotten bigger since 2017, fighting at Flyweight would just kill me. But I don’t mind who I fight, I am not a guy who chooses fights. If it so happens that a Nkazimulo fight presents itself at Bantamweight, it will be a different story this time. As long as they pay me, I don’t mind putting my belt on the line, that is what defines a champion, right?
“Keep lining them up, I welcome whoever they give me. I don’t see anyone taking this title away from me in the foreseeable future,” he added.
Nkazimulo is set to fight Luthando Biko (7-2) for the vacant Flyweight belt as it looks highly unlikely that former Champ, England’s Jake Hadley will be returning to the Hexagon following more title success in Cage Warriors and word of him going to the UFC.