Nick Gordon
2 minute read
29 Mar 2014
6:00 am

Soldierboy soldiers on

Nick Gordon

It's a feeling that Garreth McLellan said he never wanted to experience again.

FILE PICTRE: Garreth McLellan. Picture: ©Chris Ricco/Backpagepix

The emotional anguish of losing his Extreme Fighting Championship middleweight title.

Having regained the title last year, the fighter dubbed “Soldierboy” promised to do everything in his power to hang onto his belt when he met JP Kruger at EFC 28 earlier this week. He lived up to his word by putting in a commanding performance.

In Kruger, he met a worthy challenger for the organisation’s title, a humble athlete dedicated to his craft and capable of turning a fight on its head. But the champion proved too strong as he forced a submission inside the first round.

Kruger, who trades under the unusual moniker “Tinkerbell”, came out with intent early in the round as he demonstrated his striking ability but the champion weathered the early storm and moved the action to the ground.

The challenger was equal to the task and put pressure on McLellan especially when it appeared as if he’d done enough to lock in an armbar. But the champion turned the tables and forced a submission by way of rear naked choke with the time of the official stoppage coming 3:05 into the first round.

The bout between Norman Wessels and Chris du Pont ended in a similar manner with the former marking his return to the hexagon after an absence of almost two years by ending the contest inside a round.

Du Pont was keen to mix it, but Chef had other ideas and took the action to the ground and submitted the choke just short of two minutes into the first round to set up a shot at light-heavyweight champion Gideon Drotschie.

In the first of the main card fights, Irshaad Sayed made his EFC debut a memorable one as he forced a submission over Leo Gloss to end their bantamweight contest, but the fight wasn’t without controversy with the quality of refereeing coming under the spotlight.

Sayed was gifted a favourable ground position after referee Ian Pienaar had restarted the fight – following a stoppage for a kick to Gloss’ groin – and he used it to his advantage as he forced his opponent to tap out.

There was also controversy in the heavyweight clash between Bernardo Mikixi and Christophe Wolravens with the latter landing a number of illegal blows to the back of his opponent’s head. Mikixi eventually submitted verbally.