african fighters

Ranking the Top 10 MMA African Fighters

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in Africa is not as popular as football, athletics, and horse racing. Hence, African fighters in this competition barely get any spotlight compared to their counterparts in other sports disciplines. Since only a few athletes participate in this sport, interested individuals have to travel abroad to access top-tier training and equipment. The good thing is that most African fighters who have ventured abroad are dominating the sport.

Below is a list of top Africans who deserve recognition for defying the odds to excel in an otherwise unpopular sport in their motherland:

Francis Ngannou (Cameroon)

Ngannou is ranked among the strongest punchers in UFC history, earning him the nickname Predator. He left Cameroon when he was only 26 years, hoping to fulfill his dream of boxing. His first UFC bout came in November 2013, where he defeated Rachid Benzina via submission. He also registered six consecutive wins. Ngannou holds the record of the only African fighter who reached the UFC final in the heavyweight category.

Israel Adesanya (Nigeria)

Adesanya is a kickboxing specialist plying his trade in the UFC Middleweight division. His score stands at 4-0, and he has won all his MMA fights in his career. Adesanya boasts a unique set of skills, including spinning techniques and kicks. His profile has risen after he defeated renowned fighters like Brad Tavares, Rob Wilkinson, and Derek Brunson. Most UFC betting sites identified him as the underdog, but he went ahead to disapprove them. Some notable career accomplishments by Israel Adesanya include UFC Middleweight Champion, Interim UFC Middleweight Champion, and more.

Abdul Raza Alhassan (Ghana)

Abdul is a talented mixed-martial artist from Ghana. He competes in the Welterweight category. Born in Accra, he began his career in Judo, where he was awarded a black belt before transitioning to MMA. His score in the UFC stands at 4 wins and 1 defeat. His wins came against major fighters, including Sabah Homasi, Charlie Ward, and Niko Price. His only defeat was against Omari Akhmedov through the split decision. He is undoubtedly one of Africa’s strongest fighters.

Abu Azaitar (Morocco)

This fighter has cut an edge in the Middleweight division, where he has serious influence. His major victory came against Vitor Miran through a unanimous decision. This landmark achievement earned him the nickname Gladiator. His MMA score stands at 14-1. He has fought and won bouts in various promotions, including RFC, SFC, KSW, etc. He has dominated the octagon and won all his matches since 2012.

Dalcha Lungiambula (South Africa)

Dalcha was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He participates in the lightweight and heavyweight divisions of the UFC. His prominence is anchored on his strength and skills. These attributes enabled him to win a major lightweight championship title. His incredible record stands at ten wins against one loss. Dalcha is passionate about his family. He has dedicated many of his victories to his family, and he does that publicly.

Kamaru Usman (Nigeria)

Kamaru was born in Nigeria but moved to the United States at a young age. At the age of 8 he was already competing in the NCAA Division II wrestling. These competitions nurtured his wrestling skills. He is nicknamed Nightmare because nobody loves meeting him in the octagon. In the UFC, he registered nine wins without a loss. He has sustained a good form, devoid of serious MMA injuries to derail his career. Kamaru, the former UFC welterweight champion, has won against favorites such as Leon Edwards, Rafael dos Anjos and Demian Maia. One of his major accolades includes being The Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner.

Igeu Kabesa (South Africa)

Kabesa was born in Johannesburg but currently lives in Germiston together with his wife and children. At the age of 8, he developed an interest in an MMA television program. His parents enrolled him in a wrestling school. He excelled in his Amateur stage by winning all his matches. He began his pro career at lightweight and made a mark by winning seven bouts in the featherweight category. Kabesu fights for the EFC promotion in South Africa, but he has established himself as one of the fiercest pound-for-pound fighters globally.

Sodiq Olamide Yusuff (Nigeria)

Sodiq only began his MMA career in 2016 but has already made a name. After winning several fights in Dana White’s Tuesday Contenders series, he secured his place in the UFC. His maiden UFC fight was against Tuivasa, and Sodiq won in the first round. Overall, he has had 12 professional bouts, where he has won 11 and lost only one.

Manel Kape (Angola)

Manuel Pedro Gomes, known as Manel Kape, is an Angolan mixed martial artist who has been competing since May 2012. His MMA record stands at 17-6-0 (Win-Loss-Draw). With a 95% finish rate, 11 of his wins have been by knockout, 5 by submission, and 1 by decision. Manel “Starboy” currently rides on a 2 fight-win streak. Kape made his professional MMA debut against Artur Gomes who he beat KO/TKO at 4:27 of Round 1. This win was a significant stepping stone in his career. His debut in the UFC was against Alexander Pantoja in February 2021.

David Onama (Uganda)

David “Silent Assassin” Onama is a Ugandan professional fighter with a 10-2-0 pro-MMA record. Onama currently has a 100% finish rate, and out of his 10 wins, 6 are by knockout and 4 by submission. He made his professional debut in February 2019 against Franciso Pintos. He won his first career match against Pintos by KO/TKO at 1.30 of Round 2. In October 2021, Onama made his debut in the UFC against Mason Jones. Unfortunately, he lost to Mason Jones by Decision at 5:00 of Round 3.

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