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‘The Future’ has arrived – South Africa’s Dricus du Plessis and Cameron Saaiman to make history at UFC 282

‘The Future’ has arrived – South Africa’s Dricus du Plessis and Cameron Saaiman to make history at UFC 282
Dricus du Plessis will be back in action at UFC 282 in Las Vegas in December. (Photo: Carmen Mandato / Getty Images)

For the first time in history, two South African fighters – Dricus du Plessis and Cameron Saaiman – will fight on the same Ultimate Fighting Championship card, at UFC 282 on 10 December.

Dricus du Plessis (17-2), coming off an incredible victory over America’s Brad Tavares at UFC 276 in July, is set to step into the octagon, at UFC 282, for the second time this year.

Nicknamed “Stillknocks” because of his ability to knock his opponents out, Du Plessis will take on experienced British fighter Darren Till (18-4-1) in the Middleweight division.

Till, a former UFC title contender, has slipped down the rankings to ninth after losing four of his past five bouts. His last fight, in September 2021, culminated in a third-round submission defeat to Derek Brunson.

However, the Brit is looking to turn his streak around against the up-and-coming Du Plessis.

“I think he’s tough,” Till told YouTube channel The MacLife. “I swear I’m just gonna come to rip this guy’s head off. I just want to beat him bad. I really do, but we’ll see.”

Cameron Saaiman (6-0) is set to make his UFC debut at UFC 282 in December. (Photo: Anton Geyser / EFC Worldwide/Gallo Images)

Meanwhile, Du Plessis has been steadily climbing the middleweight ranks after three wins – two by knockout – in the UFC.

Du Plessis is ranked No 13 in his division but has been steadily moving in the opposite direction of his December opponent.

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The fight promises to be highly entertaining, with two contrasting fighting styles colliding. Till’s style is primarily Muay Thai, exercising restraint and patience in an attempt to tire his opponents and strike late.

Meanwhile, Du Plessis is an accomplished kickboxer and grappler. In contrast, he prefers to finish fights quickly with his powerful striking, exerting a lot of energy from the get-go to try to knock his opponent out.

Next in line

Du Plessis’s training partner Saaiman (6-0) is set to make his UFC debut at UFC 282 in December at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Both Du Plessis and Saaiman fight out of the CIT Performance Institute in Hatfield, Pretoria, and are coached by Morne Visser.

Saaiman will meet American Ronnie Lawrence (8-2) – who is almost 10 years older – at UFC 282.


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The bantamweight Saaiman (21) earned his place in the most decorated fighting league in the world by beating the US’s Josh Wang-Kim – by a third-round knockout – during their Dana White Contender Series – Season 6 bout in late August.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Kung fu in a fight for survival in South Africa after the pandemic

Like Du Plessis, Saaiman’s strength lies in his kickboxing ability.

White, the UFC president, offered Saaiman a UFC contract after his knockout win over Wang-Kim.

Dricus du Plessis kicks Brad Tavares in their middleweight bout during UFC 276 in Las Vegas on 2 July 2022. (Photo: Carmen Mandato / Getty Images)

“Dude, you are impressive,” White told Saaiman during the contract handover ceremony. “For 21-years-old, the way you kept your composure in there… absolutely a professional man. Your new nickname is ‘The Future’.”

The impressive Saaiman is the youngest active male fighter on the UFC roster and a former Extreme Fighting Championship (South Africa’s Mixed Martial Arts league) bantamweight champion. His trajectory is up and December’s fight against Lawrence could signal the arrival of “The Future” on a global stage. DM

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