Scouting the Globe: The Five Best Prospects From South Africa

Dricus du Plessis
Dricus du Plessis Credit: Ruby Wolff/ EFC

During this MMA hiatus, we’ve taken to scouting the world and selecting five favorite prospects from each country for the most part. In no particular order (and apologies if we haven’t made it to your nation just yet!). In this edition, we will take a look at some of the top fighting prospects coming out of South Africa. Don Madge, Ruan Potts, and Garreth McLellan are the biggest names that have made it to a high level – so far. With that said, it’s a growing county with talent that has quite a few up-and-coming athletes.

Featherweight, Igeu Kabesa (12-1)

Igeu Kabesa’s only loss is to UFC fighter Danny Henry, which was a rematch of their first meeting, which Kabesa won. Of the two, Kabesa has a much higher ceiling. “Smiley” is one of the two best prospects out of South Africa along with Demarte Pena. He is the current EFC Worldwide featherweight champion and on a four-fight win streak. Kabesa is a very decorated wrestler being a 10-time Wrestling Nationals Champion. He is young and solid everywhere. Kabesa has amazing wrestling and grappling, he can move well on the mat and can reach mount fairly easy. His striking is good too, moving in-and-out with explosive punches quickly and his slips and counters are solid.

Middleweight, Dricus Du Plessis (14-2)

Dricus Du Plessis is only 25-years-old. His only losses are to former UFC fighter Garreth McLellan and top prospect Roberto Soldic who he beat first, under the KSW banner. He’s a former dual champion at middleweight and welterweight for EFC and a former KSW welterweight champion. Du Plessis is a good wrestler, with eight of his twelve wins coming by submission all by some form of choke. So his ability to get the back is very good and he can drop for a guillotine and lock it up in an instant. He is a South African K-1 kickboxing champion who has been improving on the feet as well.

Bantamweight, JP Buys (8-2)

JP Buys, while fighting out of South Africa, moved to the U.S. not too long ago and is training out of a great camp in Fortis MMA. Like many talents from South Africa, he did in fact fight for EFC, the largest promotion in the area. There, he served as both EFC bantamweight and flyweight champion. Buys has a background in wrestling winning several South African wrestling titles. He has solid wrestling and on the mat has very good jiu-jitsu. On the feet, Buys has very much improved but do doubt is a different animal when it comes to wrestling and grappling.

Flyweight, Bokang Masunyane (7-0)

A former Commonwealth Games wrestler, the “The Little Giant” Bokang Masunyane is a ball of energy standing at only 5’1″. On the feet, he has some power and is very explosive. Wanting to always close the distance he’s creative in the ways he does it throwing some “Showtime” type stuff. It’s easy for Masunyane to get low and when he does he will take you for a ride. Extremely strong, he shows that as soon as he gets his hands together. On the mat, he’s fluid in his movement and dominant with control. Not only one of the most intriguing prospects today but one of the most exciting.

Bantamweight, Faeez Jacobs (7-2)

Faeez Jacobs started off with a subpar record at 3-2 before hitting his stride, and is now on a 4-fight win streak. In his most recent fight, he beat a solid opponent in Nkazimulo Zulu for the EFC bantamweight title. Before competing in MMA Jacobs dabbled in boxing but more so in kickboxing. In kickboxing, he won an amateur title and two pro titles. On the feet, Jacobs is a good, long striker with snapping front kicks he likes to throw. He has solid Muay Thai as well. His wrestling is good and his scramble ability is also there.