Frans Mlambo wins Copa Combate 8-man one-night tournament

Photo via Combate Global

The 2021 Copa Combate is coming back to Ireland after SBG Ireland fighter Frans Mlambo went on a three-fight tear in one night to win the tournament. His tournament win saw him take home a tidy $100,000 and secure a shot at the Combate Global Bantamweight belt. Ireland’s spot in the Copa Combate was won back in August through SBG Cork City’s Pa Lehane. The debuting Lehane had to go through two fights in one night against experienced pros to ensure the spot.

Mlambo’s win sees Irish fighters move to 7-1 in the promotion, which includes three tournament appearances and two tournament wins. He also extended his own current win streak to five and has only lost one of his last nine. The win caps off a huge year for Mlambo after he picked up the FEN Bantamweight belt earlier this year.

The one-night tournament had three rounds; the first two rounds of the tournament were each contested as single-round fights with the final being a three-round fight. In the opening round, Mlambo drew the most experienced fighter in the tournament, Jose Zarauz. The Peruvian fighter boasted over 30 pro fights entering the tournament, but his experience was not enough to stop “The Zulu Irishman” from progressing to the next round.

In the semi-final, Mlambo met Chilean fighter, Cristian Barraza. A dominant display saw all three judges favour Mlambo, setting up an Ireland vs. Spain final. Spanish fighter Kevin Cordero was on an eight-fight win streak entering the final. His impressive run included a win over Ricky Bandejas, the last fighter to defeat Mlambo.

The final was a fantastic fight. Mlambo started strongly to take the opening round before having to defend a rear-naked choke in the second round. It was all to play for going into the final round. The hard-fought round was close, but Mlambo emerged victorious to win the tournament.

Post-fight he faced off with Combate Global Bantamweight Champion, David Martinez, ahead of a planned fight early next year.