British featherweight Jay Cucciniello enjoyed a successful Extreme Fighting Championship debut when he made quick work of EFC veteran Wesley Hawkey, winning via a first round submission, at EFC Worldwide 64.
EFC Worldwide 64 took place on Saturday, October 7 at the Sibaya Casino in Durban, South Africa. The event marked popular South African featherweight Hawkey’s return after a submission loss to Welshman Azi Thomas last December at EFC Worldwide 56.
Cucciniello, who trains in Malaga alongside fellow British star Luke Barnatt, looked confident from the off despite facing African MMA pioneer Hawkey in front of his home crowd. The two both exchanged strikes and moved forward as Hawkey started settling into a rhythm, landing hard leg kicks to set up some slick combinations with his hands. The Brit, however, found his timing with his counters and landed powerful shots on the South African before absorbing return fire from Hawkey which forced him into the takedown.
The Peterborough fighter fell into Hawkey’s guard and quickly transitioned into side control. It didn’t take long for the Brit to then move into full mount, which forced the South African to give up his back, and gave Cucciniello an easy rear-naked choke opportunity. The Brit snapped it up without hesitation and quickly got the tap to win via submission at the 4:54 mark of the first round.
Former soldier Cucciniello (8-0), who served with the British Army in Afghanistan, remains undefeated in his professional career and has finished all eight of his fights inside the distance so far. Meanwhile, Hawkey (14-9) announced his intention to hang up his gloves after the fight, with the 31-year-old having made his debut for the promotion back in its infancy in 2011.
In the night’s co-main event, heavyweight contenders Wessel Mostert and Ricky Misholas fought in a physical battle which saw Mostert win the war of attrition with a unanimous decision victory.
The 28-year-old “Wess Express” used his size advantage to dominate his opponent in the first round. The fight would go to the ground and Mostert would come close to getting the finish over Misholas with vicious ground and pound however the Congolese fighter held on despite taking some heavy damage.
Misholas would battle back in the second round as the two juggernauts engaged in a striking battle however “Apocalypse” would see his work ruined when he was deducted a point due to a blatant fence grab. That seemed to take the wind out of Misholas sails as the final round mirrored the first. Mostert suffocated his tired opponent from the top and chipped away at him with heavy ground and pound for the last minutes of the bout and the judges seem fit to award the Johannesburg native the decision victory with scores of 29-27, 30-26 and 30-26.
EFC Worldwide 64 Results
Featherweight Main Event: Jay Cucciniello def. Wesley Hawkey via Submission (Rear-naked Choke) (Round 1)
Heavyweight Bout: Wessel Mostert def. Ricky Misholas via Decision (Unanimous)
Lightweight Bout: Anicet Kanyeba def. Saxon Delafield via TKO (Punches) (Round 1)
Lightweight Bout: Tyson Chelin def. Robert Simbowe via Submission (Rear-naked Choke) (Round 1)
Flyweight Bout: Josemare Emerson Octavio def. Yusuf Hassan via Submission (Guillotine) (Round 1)
Womens Bantamweight Bout: Bunmi Ojewole def. Katharyna Araujo via Submission (Triangle Choke) (Round 2)
Bantamweight Bout: Luthando Biko def. Devon Cronje via Decision (Unanimous)
Lightweight Bout: Trezeguet Kanyinda def. Andrew Smith via KO (Strikes) (Round 1)
Light-Heavyweight Bout: Thabani Mndebela def. Simon Harle via TKO (Strikes) (Round 2)
Lightweight Bout: Tshilomba Mikixi def. Sfiso Ngcobo via Decision (Unanimous)
Flyweight Bout: Radley De Vries def. Mzamo Madlopha via Submission (Armbar) (Round 1)
Featherweight Bout: Roedie Roets def. Warren Richards via TKO (Punches) (Round 1)
Flyweight Bout: Dansheel Moodley def. Dwama Fafa via Decision (Unanimous)