3 minute read
11 Sep 2013
12:52 pm

I want to knock his head off – Opperman

Defending Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) Africa welterweight champion Michiel Opperman says he wants nothing less than to destroy his opponent Dino 'The Lion' Bagattin when the pair face-off at the 23rd edition of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event at Carnival City on Thursday evening.

FILE PIC. Dino Bagattin reacts in disappointment after losing his fight against Michiel Opperman ©Chris Ricco/Backpagepix

“I want to knock you out… that’s the only thing,” Opperman said ahead of the title fight in Brakpan.

“I want to either break your leg, or kick your head off and knock your face in… that’s all I want to do.

“The biggest difference between me and him is that, I don’t want to score a point. I want to knock you out or submit you.”

Having made his debut at EFC 10 two years ago, Opperman will be gunning for a fifth consecutive victory against the veteran Bagattin, who has been part of the EFC Africa production from the first event in 2009.

Opperman added that he was confident he could become the first welterweight champion to successfully defend the title.

“I’m very confident. I know I’ll be the first one to defend it successfully. There’s no doubt about it in my mind,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be over too quickly… I think it’s going to be mine.”

Bagattin, who heads into the fight on the back of a thrilling second round technical knockout victory over Tyron Rightford, feels he has the necessary skills and weapons to beat Opperman and claim the belt.

“My time is now, ‘The Lion’ is coming to fight. He’s hungry, he wants this belt and I will be the new welterweight champion,” Bagattin said.

“I’m a handful standing, I out-score my opponents… guys don’t want to stand with me.

“My feet are too good, my hands are too fast they can’t touch me. My head movement is brilliant.”

In the night’s other maincard bout, heavyweight fighter Andrew van Zyl heads into his fight against contender Sors Grobbelaar with valuable momentum, following his victory over former champion Ruan Potts at EFC 18.

“If Sors is going to come out in the first two minutes and fire, he better hope that works for him because the fight is 25 minutes and he must realise that,” Van Zyl said.

“Nobody’s really put him in a position where he has to escape from the bottom, or work off the fence.

“So let’s see, let’s push him to those hard places and see if he can come back from there.”

Grobbelaar, meanwhile, said he was gearing-up for a tough encounter against the current champion, but added he would make Van Zyl work hard to retain the title.

“I’m going to come, we’re going to stand-and-bang. If we bang, I’m going to give it my best,” Grobbelaar said.

“Whether it be one kick or one punch, that can change a fight for you completely.

“He’s not underestimating me. Andrew is smart enough to know that a fight can go any way.”

EFC 23 fightcard:

  • Andrew van Zyl v Sors Grobbelaar (heavyweight),
  • Michiel Opperman v Dino Bagattin (welterweight),
  • Boyd Allen v Wesley Hawkey (featherweight),
  • Martin van Staden v Henry Fadipe (welterweight),
  • Welhelm Strauss v Vandam Mbuyi (heavyweight),
  • Alex Cheboub v Khalil Akleker (lightweight),
  • Johan van Staden v Sibusiso Mdoku (lightweight),
  • Roelof Scheepers v Brendon Groenewald (heavyweight),
  • Francois Groenewald v Craig Ninow (bantamweight),
  • Peter Nyide v Hanru Botha (featherweight),
  • Dricus du Plessis v Bruno Mukulu (middleweight),
  • Pierre Botha v Baldwin Mdlalose (bantamweight),
  • Kanyeba Anicet v Nelson Feiteira (featherweight).

– Sapa