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Monday, January 30, 2023

Chad Hanekom adds his name to ‘powerful SA middleweights’ list

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Cape Town — South African middleweights are notoriously known for producing some of the most vicious finishes in global mixed martial arts.

In 2018, Mzwandile Hlongwa went viral for his KO over Norwegian opponent Torbjorn Madsen at EFC 75 in Cape Town.

In the first round, Hlongwa unleashed a lightning-quick jab and cross before delivering a hellish spinning-back fist which immediately shut Madsen down as he fell to the EFC canvas.

Last year, UFC star Dricus du Plessis reminded the world about SA MMA when he put American Trevin Giles to sleep at UFC 264 in Las Vegas.

In the second round of the pay-per-view event, Du Plessis defended a flurry of shots before unleashing a devastating right hand. It was a true reflection of Du Plessis’ power.

Giles was on the attack with go-forward momentum before being sent backward, landing flat on his back after absorbing a powerful right cross from the South African, forcing the referee to stop the fight.

And this weekend, at BRAVE CF 66, Chad Hanekom added his name to that list when he sent shockwaves around the world after he put South Korea’s In Jae La to sleep with a lethal right elbow early in the first round of their middleweight “title-eliminator” fight in Bali, Indonesia.

The first minute of the fight was just a feeling-out process as both athletes were finding their range and rhythm. At one point, they came close to a clinch, but it was clear that Hanekom was intent on building on his six stoppages when he pushed the South Korean away to create space before unleashing one of the most incredible elbow knockouts ever.

“Most people are speechless, that was pretty dope, my coaches and I have been practicing that for years. Working on instinct, spur-of-the-moment reactions, and just ticking boxes,” said the number-two ranked BRAVE CF middleweight.

“I just came here to do a job and get the win, and I did it convincingly.

“I’ve been on top of the division for a while now. That KO is going to send ripples around the world. As a wise man from Stockton once said, ‘I’m not surprised motherf******’, referencing global MMA star Nate Diaz who lit up the MGM Grand Garden Arena after beating fellow MMA star Conor McGregor in their first fight at UFC 196.

Hanekom is riding a three-fight winning streak and is set to face Russia’s Abusupyan Alikhanovnow for the vacant BRAVE CF middleweight title.

@juliankiewietz

Sport

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