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By Clinton Jones

Sports Editor


SA takes a major step towards becoming a force in UFC

“I said after my last fight, I will be in the top-10 by the end of the year and here I am. And I am saying now I will be a title contender by the end of 2023.”


South Africa took a major step towards becoming a real force in mixed martial arts over the weekend when both local fighters recorded massive wins in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Dricus du Plessis stormed into the top-10 middleweight fighters in the world when he submitted England’s Darren Till in the third round in what was also named Fight-of-the-Night at UFC 282 in Las Vegas in the early hour of yesterday morning. 

Du Plessis is now unbeaten in all four of his previous fights in the octagon and now has his sights firmly set on the title.

“I said after my last fight, I will be in the top-10 by the end of the year and here I am. And I am saying now I will be a title contender by the end of 2023,” a confident Du Plessis said at the post-fight press conference yesterday.

Du Plessis nearly stopped Till in the first round with some fierce shots but the Briton held on.

It looked as though Du Plessis tired in the second round but he pulled things back together and in the third round and finished off Till with a rear-naked choke. 

The gas tank can never be empty,” Du Plessis said after the fight.

“It can go a little bit low but it never goes empty. Third round, it comes down to that dog and who’s toughest. Bring on that last round, we are always going to win it.”

21-year-old Cameron Saaiman introduced himself on the world stage with third round knockout victory over  American Steven Kozlow. 

Saaiman – Du Plessis’ team-mate – with alot to live up to after UFC president Dana White labelled him as the future of the sport and he did not disappoint.

“This has been the time of my life. Thank you all so much. I’m having the time of my life. This is awesome,” Saaiman said.

“I want to thank my coach and all my team-mates at CIT and I want to thank uncle Dana and Mr. Shelby, thank you so much for this opportunity. All Glory to God.”

Both Du Plessis and Saaiman received performance bonuses of R867 000 to cap a historic night for South Africa.

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