Hwende defends EFC bantamweight title, edges closer to UFC goal

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Rising Zimbabwean Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star Nicholas Hwende continues to edge closer towards realising his dream of fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

The 26 year-old South Africa-based fighter, who is popularly known as Gokwe Boy, maintained his unbeaten start to his professional career after a dominant victory against South African Roevan de Beer in the co-main event of EFC 101 at the EFC Perfomance Institute in Johannesburg on Thursday night.

Hwende took control of the fight early, dropping de Beer to the ground and attempted to land some shots.

De Beer, who is renowned for his ground game, tried to cover up but Hwende landed some brutal shots, cutting his opponent open.

He got the win a few seconds later, but not the way he expected it, as de Beer verbally submitted after his right shoulder popped out of the socket.

Hwende picked up the win by tap out due to verbal submission and defended his Bantamweight belt.

The victory was Hwende’s second successful defence of his title in a space of two months after he beat highly rated Nkazimulo Zulu of South Africa by a unanimous points decision in December last year.

Gokwe Boy landed the EFC title for the first time after defeating Brazilian Gian Souza back in August last year.

The initial win was a momentous achievement the Zimbabwean mixed martial arts fighter who only made his EFC debut two years ago.

Hwende was born and bred in Gokwe, Zimbabwe before he went to South Africa.

He initially started out fighting in South Africa’s Amateur Championships.

After impressing in the amateur championships, Gokwe Boy made his professional debut in the EFC on 14 August 2021.

The Gokwe-born fighter had a memorable debut fight as he defeated South African MMA fighter Themba Mkhize in the second round through a technical knockout.

At the time, Hwende dedicated his win to the people in his home town of Gokwe.

“This win is for the people of Gokwe and all Zimbabweans. I’m here celebrating this victory because of you. If I can make it, you can also make it in life. Just work hard, and you will accomplish,” said Hwende.

“I also want to thank Themba Gorimbo and especially Sylvester Chipfumbu for pushing me to work hard.”

Following his debut win last year, Hwende’s career has grown by leaps and bounds, leading to him being crowned the EFC bantamweight champion which boosts his prospects of earning an UFC contract in the future.

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