ONE fighter I am really excited to see in action in Singapore next week is South African Muay Thai expert Vuyisile Colossa. I have watched quite a few MMA events, both live and on the TV and internet, and I am struggling to think of a more entertaining fighter than Colossa.
I think what appeals to me most about him is that he is always dangerous and throws every single shot with vicious intent. I see a lot of fighters who like to bounce around, Frankie Edgar and Dominic Cruz are two obvious examples, and I think it’s no coincidence that their fights almost always go the distance.
Having a lot of lateral movement might make you more evasive and difficult to hit but it is difficult to pack any power into your strikes when you are constantly on the move and I think fighters like Edgar and Cruz struggle to obtain the necessary leverage to strike a truly decisive blow because they are too preoccupied with not being hit themselves.
Colossa does like to counterstrike but he will only back up for as long as it takes him to set up something and when he does come forward he does so to devastating effect. Check out the second round of his Martial Combat fight with Alex Niu:
Colossa's nickname is 'The Cheetah' and there is something distinctly predatory about his fighting style. He likes to lull his opponents into a false sense of security by encouraging them to keep coming forward until he thinks the time is right to strike, and when he does he is lightning fast.
He reminds me a little of Mirko Crocop in his heyday, Colossa might not have the same sort of one punch (or kick) knock out power but there is something quietly menacing about him, he exudes confidence in a manner which must strike fear into the hearts of anyone unfortunate enough to have to face him.
Unlike some classic counter punchers Colossa is quite capable of fighting on the front foot if necessary. Watch him stalking his prey (Filipino fighter Eduard Folayang) towards the end of the third round of their Martial Combat 12 fight:
Eduard Folayang vs Vuyisile Colossa (part 3) (via neilfireballkid)
Colossa doesn't play percentages, or look to stay out of danger long enough to win a decision. If you are inside the cage with him then you are going to have to deal with the fact that he is not going to stop trying to hurt you.
As a stand up fighter he is pretty close to the finished article. He beat Contender Asia winner Yodsaenklai (possibly with the aid of some dodgy African judges...) and recently featured on series two of the Contender Asia which is going to be broadcast and day now and should make him even more of a star.
I like the fact that he has not put his Muay Thai career on the backburner to focus on MMA and is still trying to do both but this could also be his downfall. If I had to devise a game plan to beat Colossa it would be very simple; take him down and keep him down.
Folayang was able to beat him by taking him down again and again and again in the first two rounds of their fight and then, once he knew he was two rounds ahead, he just spent the last five minutes frantically backpedalling and hoping the final bell would sound to save him from any further beating.
Colossa is no novice in the ground and I was impressed to see him try and take Folayang down and look for a rear naked choke in their fight, although the Filipino fighter was able to escape and reverse the position pretty easily. I do wonder whether his takedown defence would be good enough for him to cope in a promotion where world class wrestlers would just try and put him on his back and keep him there (no prizes for guessing which successful US based MMA organization I have in mind here...)
To really become one of the best MMA fighters at his weight, which I think he is capable of doing, he would need to jack in the Muay Thai and spend time working on his wrestling and ground game. He's only 29, there is not a lightweight in the world who is going to outstrike him and he has the potential to go to the very top but I don't think a career as an elite mixed martial artist is compatible with a successful but simultaneous career in Muay Thai. Mind you Alistair Overeem has managed it so maybe Colossa can too.
His next opponent will be Chinese Sanda specialist Ma Xing Yu (no me neither...). I can see what the thinking is behind putting Colossa in with a Sanda fighter, there's no danger of him getting dry humped to death (as Phil Baroni would probably put it) by a superior wrestler. Both Colossa and Xing are going to want to fight on their feet and a first round knock out looki very much on the cards.
I'm not even sure if they have youtube in China so I can't see Xing's team spending hours studying footage before coming up with a game plan. My guess is he is a strong Sanda fighter (I think he might be a Sanda champion) with a rudimentary ground game who will appraoch this fight in exactly the same way he would if he was competing in Sanda.
It should make for a very entertaining spectacle but even if Xing's Sanda really is world class I still can't imagine he is going to be good enough to hang with Colossa for any length of time. Only last year Colossa decided to try his hand at Wu Ling Fen (which might or might not be the same thing as Sanda) just for a laugh and only went and won the world championships in China.
I see Xing as being the unsuspecting antelope who is about to get torn limb by limb by the Cheetah (not literally I hope). At least he is one fighter who will not be afraid to try and test his stand up against Colossa but I think he might end up unconscious as a result.
The Contender Asia series is going to be shown all over Asia on AXN soon. A lot of people in Singapore watched the last one (it was filmed here) and I think it will really help to raise Colossa's profile. I suspect he is going to be handed a big fight on One FC's second card, maybe even against Ole Laursen? I would certainly pay to see that match up.
It's difficult to properly preview Colossa's September 3rd fight because I have not got a clue how good his opponent is, he might have a BJJ black belt hidden in his closet that he hasn't told anyone about. The chances are that Xing is strictly a stand up man and if that is the case he would be well advised to invest in an insurance policy because no-one on the current One FC roster does damage like the Cheetah.