Cape Town - Undefeated prospect Justin ‘The Power’ Smith has stepped up to
fight Gordon Roodman in the EFC 77 main card opener following the withdrawal of
Neil du Plessis through illness.
Du Plessis (3-1) was ruled out of the middleweight contest with
a staph infection, with DR Congo’s Smith (3-0) moving up from welterweight to
face Roodman (3-6-1) in front of his home crowd at Pretoria’s Time Square on
Smith has three first-round finishes in his burgeoning
professional career, and expects to continue his rise at 33-year-old Roodman’s
“Gordon is just another one-dimensional relic of the old school.
I’ll finish him like I been and will keep doing. I am coming straight for the
top,” said the 21-year-old, who TKO’d Robo Ambamba (0-3) and Giovanni
Pretorius (2-1) prior to submitting veteran Pietie Coxen (5-9) in December last
Roodman says he is relishing welcome the Renzo Gracie Cape Town
product to “the big leagues”.
“This kid is an absolute beast and has a reputation for
finishing his opponents, but I am super excited to welcome him to the big
leagues,” said the Fight Evolution scrapper.
“I have been locked in there with some of the best and he will
soon understand why I am a legend of the game. Justin put your man pants on, I
just bought you a ticket to the big show! Thanks Pretoria, you get what you
Asked for his thoughts on the match-up, EFC vice-president of
talent Graeme Cartmell said: “When an undefeated MMA spark asks to test his
mettle, even at the risk of giving up 15 pounds to a seasoned veteran who is
regularly accustomed to the taste of his own crimson sauce, how do you say no?”
Roodman was meant to fight on the same card as Smith in December
against former welterweight champion Dallas Jakobi (7-5-1), having had his
previous bout with Mzwandile Hlongwa (4-0) ruled a no-contest in March 2018
after an unintentional foul.
However, ‘Rage’ fell ill, with his replacement Mark Kamba (2-3)
going on to lose to Jakobi on a week’s notice as he failed to answer the bell
for the third round.
EFC 77 is headlined by a lightweight title fight between
ex-champ Martin van Staden (26-11) and England’s Joe Cummins (5-1).
Heavyweight king Jared
Vanderaa (8-3) will also defend his belt for the first time against Ricky
Misholas (7-7) in the co-main event next month.