South African mixed martial arts star Don “Magic Man” Madge flew his country’s flag high last night in his PFL debut.
The Cape Town-based fighter (10-3-1) overcame his American opponent Nathan Williams (13-8) in the second round via a rear-naked choke to successfully kick-off his Professional Fighters League campaign in hopes of clinching the Lightweight title, and a handsome cash $1 million reward at the end of season four.
Madge - unbeaten in the UFC - signed with PFL after being plagued with a string of unfortunate incidents including visa issues and opponents cancelling on him in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It is a frustrating reality for fighters, especially for one who recently got married and started a family.
With his last fight being against Fares Ziam (12-3) at UFC242 in September 2019, Don consciously took his time to find his feet and bearings in the first round despite having the clear upper hand once the gears got going against his opponent who has been more active in recent times.
It was in the second round that he found the finish following a beautiful omoplata reversal which saw Don get Nathan’s back before putting in the choke which led to the tap at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
“All went exactly to plan, the last two years have been very frustrating, and just to be here, being amongst the crowd and in front of a cool audience, man … It's unreal. It’s like a dream come true,” said Don in the post-fight interview.
“The focus in camp was not to rush to put him away immediately, so I had to keep listening to my corner, reminding me to pace myself and not to finish him too quickly and you know, the finish comes when it comes,” added Don who also reminded people that he has much more than just his lethal striking.
“I heard them calling me a striker during the build-up, I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu for the last ten years under coach Richie Quan. I have been a jiu-jitsu brown belt for the last five years already. I work on everything, you know. We are always in the gym, always improving. That is why these last two years have not really been a waste,” elaborates Don on the fact that he has been struggling to get fights.
Don is now officially part of the PFL regular season now, set for the playoffs championship spot in season four.
“This is a great opportunity, thank you so much to the PFL, I am so grateful for the signing. I really appreciate it, thank you so much.”