Cape Town — There will be a contingent of South African-based fighters on the next UAE Warriors card.
Steven Goncalves, Martin van Staden, Thabani Mndebela, Luthando Biko and Zimbabwe’s Takunda Gorimbo will all be fighting on the UAE Warriors 32: Africa card that takes place on September 16.
Extreme Fighting Championship Flyweight king, Biko (10-3) – who successfully defended his EFC title against Brazil’s Magno Alves (5-11-1) at EFC 96 last week – makes his debut in the Abu Dhabi-based promotion, however, his Flyweight opponent is yet to be confirmed.
This will be Biko’s second showing outside of the EFC after he fought in a Pancrase (Hybrid Wrestling) bout where he beat Japan’s Taiki Akib (11-12-1) via unanimous decision in 2019 before returning to the EFC.
EFC legend, and former Lightweight champion, Martin van Staden (20-12) gets another – and potentially his last – shot at a global run in his professional MMA career when he too makes his debut in a promotion outside of Africa’s premier mixed martial arts organization.
Van Staden takes on France’s Aymard Guih (16-12) in a Welterweight bout and will look to turn the tide after losing his fifth title fight after getting knocked out by DRC’S Ziko Makengele (4-0) at EFC 93 for the vacant EFC Welterweight championship, earlier this year.
Former EFC Heavyweight champion, Thabani Mndebela (5-2) will be keen on announcing himself properly in UAE Warriors against France’s Prince Aounallah (14-11) in a Heavyweight bout following his first showing where he lost to Switzerland’s Luc Ngeleka (6-4) via unanimous decision at UAE Warriors 27 in March.
South African Featherweight athlete, Steven Goncalves (6-3) will try his hand in the UAE after campaigning in the EFC and BRAVE CF. He faces Cameroon’s Jaures Dea (8-5) who is no stranger to South African opposition after beating Sindile Manengela (8-8) prior to losing against Faeez Jacobs (8-5) at UAE Warriors 25 and 27 respectively.
Renowned Zimbabwean fighter, Themba Gorimbo’s younger brother, Takunda (1-1) signed with the UAE Warriors recently in hopes of getting some fights after being out of the cage for a while. His last fight came in 2018 against SA’s Asiashu Tshitamba (4-4) which was followed up by two cancellations. He is now set to face UAE’s Rudy Tshisuaka (0-1) in a Catchweight bout.
Gorimbo’s fellow countryman and training partner, former EFC Bantamweight champion, Sylvester Chipfumbu (8-4) has also been confirmed for his third showing in UAE Warriors and he will compete the next day at UAE Warriors 33 where he faces Germany’s Rany Saadeh (12-4) in a Bantamweight scrap.
Chipfumbu has had a mixed bag since signing with the UAE Warriors with one title shot loss against Bantamweight champion, Brazil’s Vinicius de Oliveira (17-3) before pulling a win back in his last bout against France’s Helder Fernandes (7-7) and he will be keen on finding his way back to title conversations once more.
The main event of UAE Warriors 33 will see the biggest rematch in UAE Warriors history as Canada’s Jesse Arnett (20-8) is set to defend his UAE Warriors featherweight title against rival Ali AlQaisi (12-6).