Featherweight contender Roedie Roets is out to prove a point after being denied a main-card slot at EFC 77.
Roets (5-0) faces ex-title challenger Pierre Botha (9-7) at Pretoria’s Time Square on Saturday in a fight that could determine the next test for dominant 66kg champion Igeu Kabesa (11-1).
‘Relentless’ is among the EFC’s most exciting talents and shows signs he could follow his Coach Quan University teammate Don Madge (8-3-1) into the UFC one day.
Roets, who hails from Polokwane, went 15-0 as an amateur and became the IMMAF world champion before entering Africa’s top promotion where he continues to shine.
However, he is on the undercard again this weekend, as was the case when he submitted judo black belt Sindile Manengela (4-6) with a third-round rear-naked choke in December 2018.
Roets is disappointed to be fighting in the prelims once more, and aims to show the EFC’s top brass he is worthy of prime exposure and the next crack at Kabesa.
“I do believe the winner deserves a [title] shot,” Roets tells mmaengage.com.
“At this this point I’m just focused on this fight. I have to get through this one first. To me I really don’t care about Kabesa. Just the point the EFC has put me on the undercard again is disappointing to me, so I will have to prove myself. If they want to give me an international [opponent] first and we do the number one contendership thing first, that would be good for me too. But ja, I really don’t care about Igeu. I have to focus on this fight and get through this one first.”
Roets and Botha are both accomplished wrestlers, with the former a 34-time national champion and one-time African champ. And while Botha insists he is the more decorated grappler, Roets is unfazed.
“He can say whatever he wants about his wrestling, at the end of the day I don’t care. It’s not a wrestling match. We are not going out there and wrestling each other, it’s a fight. So he can be a more decorated wrestler, it really doesn’t matter to me. At the end of the day, we’re going to fight, so I don’t care. I do believe my abilities are better than his. I believe in myself and believe my skillset is better.”
Roets reiterated he is ready for wherever the fight may go against Botha, who previously beat Angolan Nerki Simoes (2-2) via unanimous decision in October last year.
“To be honest, I don’t care about his striking, we’ve prepared for everything. So he can come and can do whatever he wants to do, we are ready. We are always careful. I respect his striking. We will have to see on the night, but we are careful and we are prepared.”
At just 22, Roets is still evolving under the tutelage of EFC Coach of the Year Richard Quan, and plans to showcase new wrinkles to his game.
“Ja, we work on new stuff each and every time, so there’s loads of new stuff we have been working on. You know, we work on everything: every aspect, every part of my game. We’ve added some small new things, which I think is going to make the fight exciting.”