By Ross Patterson
The 2022 IMMAF Africa Championships began today, and we were treated to an incredible display of mixed martial arts. A stand-out performance came from the young South African, Nathanial Komana, who won in dominant fashion.
From the outset, Nathanial looked composed. He picked his shots carefully, managed distance well and defended takedowns easily. In the third round, Komana connected with a series of straight punches, staggering his Zambian opponent, Mwelwa Nkhata, but didn’t manage to secure the finish. Komana won a unanimous decision, having never looked in any real danger.
Komana is a 2x Africa Championship Featherweight bronze medallist but failed to secure a win in either appearance. This year, he is competing as a Bantamweight, which may be the secret to securing gold. The 24-year-old said:
‘The fight went really well. I fought a really tough guy from Zambia, which wasn’t surprising at all, us Africans are as tough as they come. We went all three rounds, which was good to get a feel of the cage and of the atmosphere. I love being in there, and I really want to win this competition. It would mean so much to me.’
In the semi-final, Komana will face fellow South African Sipho Mlaba, who won via submission with a beautiful rear-naked choke.
The president of MMA South Africa, Jason Brown, commented on Nathanial’s performance:
‘Cool, calm, collected – phenomenal athlete. Every punch, every kick that he threw had a purpose. He has the true ethos of an athlete, and I can’t wait to see him step into the arena tomorrow.’
Fellow South African athletes also delivered excellent performances. Nicolaas Vermaak won a dynamic, back-and-forth match against Angola’s Divaldo Vicente. And Cameron Coulson secured an early submission win via head-and-arm triangle.
South African athletes shined today, none more so than Nathanial Komana. Keep an eye on the young Bantamweight in the coming days – he may just go all the way.