MMA ENGAGE

Vanderaa open to Austin showdown

Vanderaa open to Austin showdown

EFC heavyweight champion Jared Vanderaa says fans can expect “a wild show” if he gets to square off with Stuart Austin.

Vanderaa (9-3) defended his belt for the first time with a second-round TKO of Ricky Misholas (7-8) in the co-main event of EFC 77 at Pretoria’s Time Square last weekend.

While matchmaker Graeme Cartmell has indicated Austin (13-5) may be next in line for a title shot, the Englishman told mmaengage.com he would prefer one more fight before challenging for gold.

Austin previously called out ex-champ Ruan Potts (11-7) in December after becoming the only man to knockout now-retired South African MMA legend Andrew van Zyl (19-5).

“I actually thought me and Stuart were going to fight after his last performance with Van Zyl,” Vanderaa told reporters fresh off dismantling Misholas.

“I mean, I already said, come to the press conferences, it’s going to be funny. Me and Stuart, I like the dude, I respect the guy. He’s a class act. He’s a little wild. Don’t take anything we say very seriously. It’s going to be a wild show if we fight.”

Vanderaa, a well-rounded fighter with personality to match his hefty frame, also discussed his performance against DR Congo’s Misholas.

“He hits really hard. We expected certain things. I also expected Ricky to come in [and give a] tip-top performance, and I believe that he did. I think I matched well against him, just because I like fighting boxers. I know that’s where he originally started from. But I knew he was going to be tough. I knew I had to take my time, respect the power, respect the chin, and that’s where I caught the win,” concluded the American, who feels he is close to receiving a call-up to the UFC.

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