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Roets vs Botha, Madiba vs Cronje at EFC 77

Roets vs Botha, Madiba vs Cronje at EFC 77

EFC featherweight contender Roedie Roets and former title challenger Pierre Botha will get to lock horns after all.

The promotion has re-booked the wrestling standouts for a preliminary-card bout at EFC 77 at Time Square in Pretoria on March 16.

Roets (5-0) was initially meant to face Botha (9-7) at EFC 74 in September 2018, but he suffered a concussion in training and could not compete.

Roets later extended his perfect record by submitting judo black belt Sindile Manengela (4-6) with a third-round rear-naked choke in December.

Botha likewise has his tail up after rebounding from a loss to late-notice opponent Tshilumba Mikixi (3-0) with a unanimous decision win over Angolan Nerki Simoes (2-2) in October.

The EFC also confirmed to mmaengage.com that Roets’s Coach Quan University teammates Alain ‘Commanda Boy’ Ilunga (11-5) and Devon Cronje (3-1) will fight in the organisation’s first event of 2019 next month.

Ilunga will make his long-awaited return to the hexagon against Poland’s Łukasz Świrydowicz (4-4) on the main card, while Cronje will meet bantamweight fan-favourite Tumisang Madiba (8-6) in the prelims.

Ilunga (11-5) is riding a six-fight winning streak, but his path towards the lightweight belt is not a straightforward one as he is teammates with ex-champ Martin van Staden (26-11), who will battle Englishman Joe Cummins (5-1) for the vacant strap in the EFC 77 headliner.

‘Commanda Boy’, a one-time featherweight title challenger, previously beat DR Congo compatriot Anicet Kanyeba (9-9) via unanimous decision in July 2017.

His next opponent Świrydowicz (4-4), who trains with Cummins, will be making his debut in the promotion.

‘Swiry’ has alternated wins and losses in his professional career, having last submitted Ant Davies (3-4) with a first-round guillotine choke in Bolton in November 2018.

Meanwhile, Cronje and Madiba are both coming off victories achieved in December.

Cronje submitted Mozambique’s Orlando Machaba (0-1) for a second successive first-round win on the same night that Madiba snapped a three-fight skid by handing Billy Oosthuizen (3-1) his first loss with a third-round TKO.

Other fights booked for EFC 77 include Shaw Dean (4-0) against Quinton Rossouw (2-0) and Neil du Plessis (3-1) versus Gordon Roodman (3-6-1).

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