Cape Town - The DRC’s Ricky Misholas expects to strike a blow for African pride against EFC heavyweight champion Jared Vanderaa.
Misholas (7-7) will fight American Vanderaa (8-3) in the co-main event of EFC 77 at Time Square in Pretoria on March 16.
READ: Usman wins UFC’s first African title
‘The Apocalypse’, who lives and trains in South Africa under coach
Ferdinand Basson in Johannesburg, is determined to bring the belt back
to the continent.
Misholas also plans to launch an assault on the light heavyweight
strap afterwards, which former champ-champ Dalcha Lungiambula (9-1)
vacated when he was signed by the UFC in the new year.
READ: ‘I’m the EFC’s next Dalcha’
“I’ve got so, so much motivation for this fight,” Misholas told Alastair Bishop on the BigAl MMA Podcast.
“I don’t know how to explain to you, my spirit is so high. Just to
prove a point, to show them that the EFC is not a stepping stone, and
Africa is not a stepping stone for all of these international fighters,
where they can (say), ‘Okay let me just fight two more, or three fights
in the EFC, so I can go for Bellator or the UFC, or whatever, no. That’s
what I’m going to prove. I want to show Vanderaa they were wrong with
what they were thinking, and show the whole world that the EFC is not a
stepping stone. So they come here, you know what … there is going to be a
big surprise for this fight. I’m so motivated and I had a camp, as I
said, it was a short-notice camp, but the thing is I pushed myself over
the limit and we are looking forward to this.”
READ: Vanderaa targets UFC deal
Micholas has ample motivation to win the title for his family, teammates and fellow Africans.
“This thing, I have to dedicate to my family, especially my wife and
my kids because they were always there from day one. They are my number
one supporters, so this belt I’m going to dedicate to them. And the
second thing, this belt I’m going to dedicate to Africa, because it is
like we are bringing back pride in Africa. Because that belt has been
taken away from the African continent to America, so we need to bring it
back. That’s why I’m always saying Vanderaa is not fighting Ricky
Misholas, he’s fighting the whole continent. He’s fighting the whole
continent. It’s going to be a huge thing.”
He added: “And then this thing also to my team and teammates, people
that have been there from day one since I’ve been doing this. You know
what, I don’t know how to explain, this is going to be like … I’m
dedicating the belt to them because I’ve got so much plans after this.
I’m planning on not staying in just heavyweight. So, I want to take this
heavyweight division and I’m going down to the light heavyweight
division. I want to grab that thing as well. I want to taste that light
heavyweight division and see what is going to come up, and we take it
Misholas received the title shot after winning four of his last five
fights, most recently registering back-to-back finishes of Kevin
Koekemoer (1-2) and Juan Bezuidenhout (1-1).
Vanderaa became the undisputed champion once Lungiambula joined the UFC, having claimed interim honours by taking out accomplished veteran Ruan Potts (11-7) in December 2018.