It's taken a little while, but after 4 years and 26 events Extreme Fighting Championship Africa has had its first homegrown talent scooped up by the world's largest MMA promotion. It only makes sense that the man to lead the charge would be two-time heavyweight champion Ruan Potts. The 8-1 Potts has never fought outside of the EFCA. He captured the heavyweight crown at EFC 9 as a 2-0 fighter facing the similarly experienced Norman Wessels. After a pair of title defenses he lost the belt to Andrew van Zyl. Another two fight streak gave him a chance to regain the title, which he did, at EFC 26 and Zuffa came calling not long afterward.
The 33 year old Potts is a product of Mark Robinson MMA, training under the South African combat sports great (and former UFC vet). Robinson was an amateur Judo, Greco Roman, and Freestyle wrestling champion and the winner of the 2001 ADCC grappling tournament. If there's any training environment that could potentially produce a UFC caliber fighter in South Africa, I would imagine it includes Robinson. iafrica.com reported Potts' UFC signing on Monday.
Watching Potts fight is a little tricky because there's not a lot of recent footage available on him. However, from what I can piece together he's become a much, much more complete fighter in recent years than his early incarnations. Obviously his grappling base is extensive, and he excels at hitting a variety of body lock takedowns centered around a complicated trip, throw, and drag game using his Judo base. Once the fight is on the ground he is lightening quick at securing dominant positions, transitioning with speed to mount and side control. He has a wide variety of submission attacks on the ground and works hard to get to them. His striking, however, is where his work really shows.
Starting as mostly a face-forward brawler, Potts has evolved a seriously powerful kicking game. He throws hard, punishing kicks to the legs and body. It's a good range tool for a fighter who has no fear of going to the ground in any position. He's still a little wild getting into the clinch, and against the most accomplished heavyweight strikers that could cost him, but his strong Judo base should make him a tough out against the bottom half of the division. April has been announced as the probable debut date for Potts, so I'd expect to see him on the Abu Dhabi card this year.
To get us better acquainted here's highlights from his most recent bout against Andrew van Zyl. The fight was only 44 seconds, so these highlights are pretty much the whole fight.
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