Other sport 13.12.2017 08:39 am

Andrew van Zyl ready to get into top gear

Andrew van Zyl. Photo: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images.

Andrew van Zyl. Photo: Anton Geyser/Gallo Images.

But South Africa’s heavyweight EFC champion will need to guard against not knowing much about his American opponent.

The hardest-hitting men in the Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) will take centre stage yet again as the heavyweight title is put on the line for the second time this year.

Champion Andrew van Zyl – who successfully defended his gold against Wessel Mostert at Sun City in July – has wasted no time in getting back into the hexagon.

This time he goes into the comain event at EFC66 at Sun Park Arena on Saturday night with little or no knowledge of his opponent – 25-year-old American Jared Vanderaa will make his EFC debut with a short, but impressive record of six wins and one loss.

In stark contrast, Van Zyl – 10 years his senior – boasts an unprecedented EFC record of 18 wins and only three losses.

In nearly two decades of fighting at the highest level, the man affectionately known as “One Gear”, still hasn’t lost his passion for fighting.

Despite all the accolades he has earned over the years, the love for competitive unarmed combat is what keeps him coming back into the hexagon.

“Another international opponent is another huge challenge and I am embracing it with open arms,” said Van Zyl, who received his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt after his fight at Sun City.

“This last year has been hugely beneficial for me in terms of my growth as an MMA athlete, and I want to implement those things into a game plan as best as I possibly can.”

Come Saturday, it will not only be his title that will be on the line, but also his reputation as a leader in and outside the hexagon.

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