Oktagon 58 Preview; Stadium Show, Vémola v Végh

Oktagon embarks on their second biggest show of the year, a stadium show in Prague this Saturday. Oktagon 58 will have that big event feel, and will feature both a title fight and tournament bouts, as well as numerous top contests between talented European and international fighters. This is a 27,000 seater stadium with warm, dry weather expected.

Revenge is top of the order at the home of Slavia Prague football club. Last time we saw Attila Végh (33-9-2) was November 2019 in the O2 Arena in Prague. That night he knocked out Karlos Vémola (36-8) in just over two minutes. This Saturday night, “The Terminator” Vémola looks to set the record straight and avenge that loss. The Czech is a legend of the sport in his homeland and is a true trailblazer, including having a stint in the UFC. The 38-year-old puts his OKMMA Light Heavyweight Championship on the line and will be looking to get his classic, gruelling game into action early on. Along with his big overhands when pushing forward, he wants to get your back against the cage, take you down and tap you out. Nineteen of his victories have come via submission, and his power is still a threat in both hands. Végh is the Slovakian version of Vémola, except he had a Bellator stint, as well as fighting in early KSW. The 38-year-old has a heavy hitting kickboxing style, with eleven opponents succumbing to his strikes. He also has a good choke game in his arsenal. These two men know each other well, came up together and may just be the last chapter in each other’s stories this Saturday night. I’m picking Vémola to defend.

David Kozma (32-13) is one of the more recognisable figures on the roster, and he goes in search of regaining his welterweight championship. “The Pink Panther” usually has the pink hair and pink shorts to complete his gimmick, the 31-year-old is determined to prove he’s still got a lot left in the tank following a few disappointing results. The Czech steps into the Oktagon cage for the fifteenth time and will be keen to show his stopping power in his kickboxing game and if need be, his solid wrestling and submission game. Ion Surdu (14-6) is a popular man amongst European matchmakers as you can put him in with anyone and you’ll get fireworks. The Moldovan trains at Ankos MMA in Poznań and has competed for KSW in the past. The 29-year-old is an explosive kickboxer who can turn a match in his favour with a single fast twitch movement. “Dracul” has a great head kick, mean knees and a right hand that sends shivers down even Vlad the Impaler’s spine. He’s had ten knockout victories and I’m backing him to add to that record in the stadium. 

David Zawada (19-9) is another UFC and KSW veteran competing on Saturday, a man who’s ploughed the pathway for many to follow him in his homeland. The 33-year-old earned his place in the top promotions with big punches and well-timed knees, bagging him twelve knockouts along the way. In recent years, his submission game has been his favourite way of finishing, either by choke or leg lock. Marek Mazuch (8-2) has been an Oktagon regular since 2019. The Slovakian is a Muay Thai specialist with wicked power. The 28-year-old has won his last two via knockout. This should be a heavy hitting contest and a bit of a toss up, however I’ll slightly favour the younger Mazuch.

Bad blood spilled over the first time this match-up was attempted, and we go for a second go-around on Saturday. Shem Rock (10-1-1) is a controversial figure who talks a lot of smack, but usually backs it all up in the cage. The Liverpudlian is a submission specialist who’ll get you down, take your back and send you for a mid-fight nap. The 30-year-old has a decent kickboxing game that keeps you honest too. The Next Gen Liverpool man teeped his opponent to the body the last time they faced off, forcing the postponement of the bout. Jaroslav Pokorný (16-11) will be fired up and will try to get revenge for the weigh-in incident. “Jubox” is a police officer by trade, with MMA being his hobby. The Czech takes on all comers which led to a slightly salty record, however he can throw down with the best of them. His biggest assets are his toughness and his powerful boxing. I don’t think he’ll avoid Rock’s submission game though.

The first of our Tipsport Gamechanger Lightweight Tournament Quarter Finals will headline the prelims. Mateusz Legierski (11-1) is undefeated in Oktagon, including being their first lightweight champion and eight wins along the way. The Pole is a very well rounded player who started out as a great kickboxer with plenty of knockouts. The 27-year-old added wrestling and submissions to his arsenal, and has made himself very hard to beat. Fifteen minutes of activity is no issue to this man. Akonne Wanliss (8-2) is a confident young man who brings a lot of entertainment to the show. “J3di” will walk out with a Star Wars themed entrance, lightsabre and all. The Englishman is an explosive athlete with devastating power, as well as a good wrestling and submission offence. He trains out of Renegade in Birmingham with the Edwards brothers. I’m backing Legierski by decision.

Miloš Petrášek (12-7) is a Reinders MMA talent. The Czech will make the Oktagon walk for the eight time, and will be eager to display his finishing skills, including his incredible kimura. His choke game is on point and he’s got power in his boxing game. Kamil Wojciechowski (8-2) is a talented man who’s got a very fun style. The Pole didn’t have the gas tank to beat Mick Stanton last time out, however it didn’t prevent him giving him a scare. The 35-year-old is a wrestler with a power boxing and elbow game. If he’s to have joy here, he’ll need to strike early.

The other Tipsport Gamechanger Lightweight Tournament Quarter Final on the card is up next. Mochamed Machaev (14-1) is an XFN and Brave CF veteran. The Austrian is a firecracker in the cage, throwing lots of volume and being a general nuisance. The 24-year-old has bags of talent, an attractive kickboxing game and great wrestling ability. Height may be his only downside. Acoidan Duque (20-4) is a Brave CF, Bellator and PFL veteran. The Spaniard has a lot of fights under his belt, and usually tries to dominate the submission exchanges. “El Pei” likes to utilise chokes and arm locks. He’s brave and has no problem battling it out on the feet. I’d fancy Machaev to progress.

Amiran Gogoladze (16-3) is a Contender Series veteran who picked up an injury on the show. The Georgian is a fine kickboxer with eight knockout wins on his record. The 26-year-old has that classic Caucasus wrestling style. The former GFC champion loves to land ground and pound when it hits the deck, however also has a good choke game. Leandro Silva (28-11-1) is a former UFC and PFL veteran. The Brazilian is a jack-of-all-trades, with his biggest strength in MMA being his submission game. “Apollo” has put serious work into his boxing game and has even competed many times as a professional. The 38-year-old has never been finished and can go fifteen minutes handy. I’d expect Gogoladze to get a decision here.

Deniz Ilbay (5-1) is a former professional boxer that switched to MMA. The UFD Gym man has loved to take his opponent down and smash them with ground and pound. Power and strength are his biggest assets. The 29-year-old’s only slip up was in the grappling, getting caught in an armbar. Denis Tripšanský (5-3-1) has yet to pick up a victory in Oktagon (ignoring the underground series that were exhibitions). The Slovakian has a well rounded game, threatening with power on the feet and decent grappling skill. Ilbay’s higher level experience should see him pick up a knockout win.

The YouTube free prelim has perhaps its biggest character to date, “Mr. Finland” Makwan Amirkhani (17-10). The 14-fight UFC veteran has trained in Ireland at SBG, and is known for his wicked anaconda choke in particular. The 35-year-old puts everything he has into the opening rounds, throwing big shots and trying to end the fight by hook or by crook. His cardio has failed him more than once in the past. Attila Korkmaz (14-8) brought champion Rony Paradeiser to the absolute limit in the tournament, losing a split decision. The German is bundles of fun in the striking game, throwing lots of volume and a dangerous head kick. The 32-year-old also dabbles in chokes and leg locks. The Berlin man is tough and can battle easily for fifteen minutes, which is why I’d side with him here. He just needs to survive the early onslaught.

Oktagon 58 is live from Prague on Saturday night from 17:00 Irish time on Channel 4, Oktagon.tv and DAZN.

Seán Denny is a Dublin man who writes mostly on the European scene, with a keen interest in the Irish, UK and Polish scenes in particular. Follow me on Twitter at @DennyRants.

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