FightStar – Bringing Out The Best

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FightStar Amateur MMA Challenge has fast become known as the biggest amateur fight promotions in Johannesburg.
Now coming up on it’s 4th event, FightStar 4.0, FightStar has proven itself to boost amateur athletes up the ranks and help them to realise their dreams of entering their careers as professionals not only in Africa’s biggest MMA promotion, EFC Africa but through other promotions as well like the up and coming Imagine FC in Port Elizabeth.

“We’re very proud to be associated with Fightstar and the Fighting Fit Africa Youth Development Project,” says Cairo Howarth, EFC AFRICA president. “It is amazing to see the sport of MMA making such positive change in the lives of young people, and the possibility of discovering talent that may not otherwise have been seen is incredibly exciting.”

Being an EFC Africa development program, President Cairo Howarth and Match Maker Graeme Cartmell attend the show piece to scout up and coming talent. Looking for the best to enter the hexagon at the biggest show in Africa : EFC Africa

“The purpose of the Fight Stars event,” says FightStar President and Fighting Fit President Pietro Cignoli, “Is of course to provide a quality platform for amateur MMA athletes to compete, but for us it is also the place our youngsters can look up to, where they know that if they work hard they can one day compete, and from there, hopefully into EFC AFRICA.”

“Amatuer MMA all over the country has been improving, but nothing in Johannesburg compares to FightStar in my opinion, ” says Fighters Only Owner Dirk Steenekamp, “As far as the set-up, the fight card and the general atmosphere, it’s definitely the best local amateur promotion and it’s something that has been lacking in Jhb for a while. Amateurs should compete all over the country and as often as they can to get the right experience, but at FightStar – that’s where you see it all tested. A lot of great amateurs have gone professional after having their hands raised in the FightStar cage. ”

FightStar Match Maker Grant Oliff has yet to put together a fight card that has not impressed every supporter at the event, with the notable, intense main bout at FightStar 3, Keron “Skinner” Davies VS Morne Prinsloo, still being spoken of as one of the best fights 2013 has seen.


In the upcoming event, FightStar 4.0 we also see FightStar’s first WMMA (Woman’s Mixed Martial Arts) Bout in which Santa-Marie Venter looks to prove her place is in the hexagon against already tested Natasha Elliot who enters with a 1 -0 record.

“We haven’t yet seen a WMMA fight where the girls are really competitive. There’s a huge difference between being able to swing for the fences, and actually having a skilled, trained and capable athlete compete. ” Says Fighters Only Owner Dirk Steenekamp, ” I’m excited to see this fight happen at FightStar 4. It would be great to see how much depth there actually is though. ”


“It was my best Amateur fight that I had, so I will always remember it. Even though it was only 46 seconds long, it was awesome landing my punches and having a TKO!” – Barend “BB Gun” Nienaber

FightStar veterans such as Barend “BB Gun” Nienaber, Matt Buirski, Frederich “The Ninja” Naumann and the Botha brothers have all
made it to the EFC through their fights at FightStar.
We managed to catch up with them during their camps for their next fight at EFC Africa 22 to get their comments on their experience at FightStar and what they have to say about the promotion.

Fightstar was the last place you fought before getting to the big stage, have you been back to watch any of the events since?

Frederich Naumann – Yes it was, been at every event since. Im one of mma SA’s biggest supporters, just love to watch mma!

Matthew Buirski – Yes definetly, it’s a great promotion that is breading champions. Watching fight stars 3 was a great experience., Morne and Keron really left it in the cage. Might be one of the best fights I have seen in South African MMA.

Barend Nienaber – Yes as lots of my team mates compete at Fightstar ,so I have to be there helping them in the warm up and being in there corners. Plus I need to see the upcoming fighters at feather and light weight It could be an opponent for me one day!

Would you recommend Fightstar as one of, if not the best event for amateurs to showcase their talents?

Frederich Naumann – Yes I would definitely recommend it as one of the best organisations for amateurs… especially amateurs planning to turn professional. It’s the perfect place to showcase your talents and skill, very professional, organised and sanctioned. And these Fighstar events is as close as you will get to the real professional MMA scene. And as a bonus Grame Cartmell and Cairo Howarth attend them too, to scout for new talent for the EFC : Africa events.

Matthew Buirski – Definitely, to be the best you must compete with the best.

Barend Nienaber – Fightstar is by far the best event to be seen and noted ,as the top Amateurs square up against each other at Fightstar. Graeme our EFC match maker also attends every event to see who is good enough to step it up to the big league at EFC.

Grant Oliff my manager and match maker for Fightstar is one of the best in picking the fights and setting them up, with the best amateur fighters in SA! FightStar in association with Fighting Fit Kensington also focuses on the bringing out the best in fighters that would otherwise not be able to compete in MMA through the Fighting Fit Africa Development program.

“Fighting Fit Africa is COMMITTED to uplifting the youth and communities through encouraging participation in fitness activities and sport. “Mixed Martial Arts is a fantastic sport,” says FightStar President and Fighting Fit President Pietro Cignoli. “Through giving these youngsters an experience of MMA training they learn a lot. They get a taste of what the martial arts lifestyle is; a life of fitness and health, discipline and the love of competition. The youngsters that train with us often take the techniques home with them, training themselves and their friends.”

FightStar sees the 4th installment of intense promotions take place on the 31st of August 2013 at the Mandeville Sports Centre, Bez Valley, Joahnnesburg. Tickets are now on sale. Contact [email protected] or call 011 657 4435 for more information.


FightStar Amateur MMA Challenge is proudly brought to you by Smacktalk, Fighting Fit Africa, EFC Africa, Fighters Only, Monati MMA, Pitbull Energy Products, Venum Fight Wear, HUNTER MMA, Teazers, South Management Consultants and Novus Protection Services