Johannesburg - Featherweight contender Wentzel Nel believes he will be crowned the new champion when he meets title holder Demarte Pena at the 19th edition of the Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) Africa mixed martial arts series in Brakpan on Friday night.
"The win is big, it will be nice to do it, especially against an athlete like Demarte, a legitimate champion," Nel said ahead of fight night at Carnival City.
"I'm going to fight the way I always fight, I'm going to be in your face and I'm going to fight the hardest I've ever fought in my whole life."
Nel holds the distinction of being the first ever EFC title holder, when he defeated Leo Gloss at EFC Africa 03 to become the lightweight champion.
He is now bidding to become the first ever fighter to hold two different titles in different weight classes, a feat, he says, that would be a major achievement against a formidable opponent.
"For me, it's a big milestone because no-one else has done it. I'm one of the oldest fighters and I'm a working-class athlete," he said.
"I don't think much about the fight right now. On the day, closer to the cage, things will happen, so I'm confident in my abilities."
Meanwhile, Pena, who was crowned featherweight champion at EFC Africa 10, has since gone on to dominate every opponent in the hexagon, and he looked forward to retaining the belt.
"I heard he's (Nel) saying that he's already the champion… that's great," the Angolan-born Pena said.
"When he steps into the ring, there's always that time that he'll realise that it's not going to happen for him.
"After the fight, he's going to see that his plans did not all go the way he thought they would and I'll still be the champion."
In Friday's first main-card bout, Tyron 'The Rush' Rightford -- who called out his opponent weeks before the contest -- takes on Dino 'The Lion' Bagattin in a highly-anticipated welterweight clash.
Rightford accused Bagattin of having too much to say, not only in the lead up to the fight, but also in general, rather than letting his fighting do the talking.
"Dino runs his mouth a bit. He takes everyone for granted and he thinks he's the best," Rightford said.
Guaranteeing fireworks, Rightford believed he was a superior fighter to Bagattin, who did not possess knockout capabilities.
"I've got knockout power, he doesn't," Rightford said.
"He takes 10 punches to knock someone out, I take one, so when you look at that, I'll need one punch, he'll need about 20 to knock me out, and that ain't going to happen.
"This is a striker versus striker's match, it's got nothing to do with the ground, but if he wants to go to the ground, by all means we can go to the ground.
"I'll just stand it back up and we can do it again."
Bagattin, fighting out of Edenvale in the east of Johannesburg, boldly replied by saying that he wanted to keep Rightford at bay, and in doing so would prove he was the better fighter.
"I don't see this fight going to the deep end, to be honest. We're both coming out to strike, and on the night it's going to be about who is more precise," Bagattin said.
In a last minute withdrawal, current welterweight champion Michiel Opperman, who was due to put his title on the line against Martin van Staden, was forced to back-out of Friday's event after suffering a hamstring tear, and has been replaced by Adam Speechly.
The bout will no longer be a title fight, but will instead provide an opportunity for Speechly to bid for the number one contender spot.
EFC Africa 19 fight card: Donnovan Wilkin v Nkazimulo Zulu (bantamweight)
Frederich Naumann v David van Schalkwyk (lightweight)
Sean Robinson v Paul Terblanche (middleweight)
Wilhelm Strauss v Sors Grobbelaar (heavyweight)
Boyd Allen v Kanyeba Anicet (featherweight)
Markus Taljaard v Peter Nyide (featherweight)
Tapelo Maphutha v Henry Fadipe (middleweight)
Leon Mynhardt v Johan van Staden (lightweight)
Wesley Hawkey v Alain Ilunga (featherweight)
Francois Kabulu v Wade Henderson (welterweight)
Dino Bagattin v Tyron Rightford (welterweight)
Martin van Staden v Adam Speechly (welterweight)
Demarte Pena v Wentzel Nel (featherweight)