MMA has been on a rapid rise in South Africa with EFC Africa leading the way. No fighter on the African continent has made a bigger impact than Ruan “Fangzz” Potts. Currently training with UFC veteran Mark Robinson in Johannesburg, he has an impressive record of 8-1. Having a background in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Potts is known to be a thinking man’s fighter with good stand-up and a lethal submission game.
Potts made his EFC Africa debut against the highly regarded Calven Robinson back in 2011 at EFC Africa 7 and won by TKO early in the first round. Shortly after another TKO victory over Obutobe Baygon at EFC Africa 8, Potts would challenge Norman Wessels for the heavyweight championship at EFC Africa 9. It was a back-and-forth battle in which Potts won by a third-round TKO to capture the belt.
After two successful title defenses against Andrew Van Zyl and Bernardo Mikixi, Potts rematched Van Zyl at EFC Africa 18. It was a grueling battle that went the distance, Potts suffering his first loss via unanimous decision.
Eager to redeem himself from his first career loss, Potts returned at EFC Africa 21 and quickly defeated Egypt’s Mahmoud Hassan with an ankle lock submission in 37 seconds of the first round. He next faced Ricky Misholas at EFC Africa 24 and again displayed his impressive submission skills, winning with a first-round triangle choke.
With his victory over Misholas, Potts was once again the number one contender for the EFC Africa heavyweight championship. His third match with Van Zyl at EFC Africa 26 would be the first rubber match in the history of EFC Africa. Just 44 seconds into the first round, Potts clinched Van Zyl against the cage, executed a perfect Judo hip throw, and followed with an armbar, forcing Van Zyl to submit and reclaiming the heavyweight title.
Potts soon vacated the championship when he signed a six-fight contract with the UFC in February. The first fighter from EFC Africa to fight for the UFC, Potts will face dangerous Australian heavyweight Soa “The Hulk” Palelei at UFC Fight Night 40 on May 10 in Cincinnati.
(By Billy Painter – Follow @BadLandsCSR on Twitter)