Vanderaa (8-3) will make his maiden title defence against the DRC’s
Misholas (7-7) in the co-main event of EFC 77, just before Martin van
Staden (26-11) battles Englishman Joe Cummins (5-1) for the vacant
READ: Van Staden reveals UFC interest
America’s Vanderaa became undisputed champion when Dalcha Lungiambula (9-1) swapped the EFC for the UFC in the new year, having claimed interim honours with a third-round TKO of ex-champ Ruan Potts (11-7) in December 2018.
Misholas earned a crack at the strap after winning four of his last
five fights, which includes finishes of Kevin Koekemoer (1-2) and Juan
Bezuidenhout (1-1) in his previous two outings.
READ: Ricky – Jared’s belt belongs in Africa
“Everyone at this level is competent; Ricky is no different,” Vanderaa tells mmaengage.com.
“He has good power and an improving game, but I’m just different than
these guys. I am a fully devoted mixed martial artist that will fight
anyone, anywhere. I am the champ for a reason. I train with the very
best the game has to offer right now.
“I feel I am the most well-rounded fighter in all of the heavyweight
division in the EFC and that type of versatility will really frustrate
Ricky. I’m coming in dangerous; a man on a mission. We’ll ask the fans
during fight week how they want to see this one end … I am open to
The 26-year-old Team Quest product is winding down an eight-week camp and insists he is “nastier than before”.
EFC matchmaker Graeme Cartmell has indicated the winner of the bout could next face England’s Stuart Austin (13-5), who sensationally knocked out South African MMA legend Andrew van Zyl (19-5) a round into their contest in December.
READ: Cartmell talks up Austin
Asked about Austin, Vanderaa says: “I like Stuart, but Ricky’s the
test right now. Control what I can control. I’m trusting the process.”
Meanwhile, Vanderaa expects to soon follow Lungiambula into the UFC and feels he is more than ready to compete in the octagon.
“Without a doubt. Truthfully, I feel I am already there. I need to
control what I can control and let the rest play out, however it may.
They know my name. One hundred percent finish rate; mix of subs and KOs;
young; somewhat handsome - I check a lot of boxes.”