Oktagon 42 Preview; Keita vs Tichota

Oktagon make a quick return with their second show this month this Saturday. They are back in Bratislava, Slovakia for the first time since September 2021. Oktagon 42 will feature twelve bouts, including one for an interim title.

Losene Keita (10-0) is Oktagon’s best fighter and current lightweight champion, a title won via knockout over European MMA legend Ivan Buchinger last June. The Guinean has dominated the promotion since coming in and is moving down in search of champ-champ status. The 25-year-old is an absolute demon on the feet with huge “lights-out” power and smashed Samuel Bark with an uppercut in his 145lb debut in February. “The Black Panther” is one of the most in-form fighters in Europe and I’m not sure anyone can handle him right now. He was originally supposed to fight current champion Mate Sanikidze, however he was forced out due to injury. This means Saturday’s main event will be for the interim OKMMA Featherweight Championship, and Jakub Tichota (5-1) steps in to take his place. The Czech trains out of Reinders MMA in Prague, which is one of the country’s top gyms. The 23-year-old narrowly missed out on beating Sanikidze in their title fight, losing a split decision. The young man has an extensive amateur record and is a veteran on the IMMAF scene as a junior and senior. He is an experienced all-rounder who’s faced every type of MMA fighter you can imagine. It’s likely grappling where he’ll have the most success, as Keita has looked elite on the feet thus far.

Vlasto Čepo (7-2) is a finishing machine. The Serbian cut his teeth at Oktagon as an “amateur” on the Underground series during the pandemic in 2020. The 28-year-old has a fan friendly style and could knock out an elephant. Don’t sleep on his ground game either, as he’s got a solid Jiu Jitsu game which he can use, with four wins via tap on his record. The ATT Zagreb man is a very active fighter, having fought seventeen times since 2019 in various codes. Ion Taburceanu (6-1) is the new kid on the black. You may have seen him on Brave CF. The Moldovan has mainly a kickboxing style and he’s finished five of his fights by knockout. We could see a spectacular striking battle here.

Matouš Kohout (8-5) is a fun fighter and earned the nickname “The Mighty Rooster” due to being a brave, all-action competitor. The Czech is an Oktagon veteran and has used his Muay Thai specialty to win half his bouts by knockout. This is a man who can keep the tempo for fifteen minutes. Karol Ryšavý (11-5) is also an Oktagon veteran who’s only heard the final bell once in the promotion, with five knockouts and three submissions. The Slovakian’s knees and elbows are lethal and isn’t someone you want to stand in the pocket with.

UFC and Bellator veteran Jeremy Kimball (18-10) returns. The Colorado man is predominantly a striker, using his kickboxing to get it done within the distance. The 32-year-old is no-nonsense, ferocious and will stand and bang with anyone. Ruben Wolf (12-11) has been on BAMMA and Cage Warriors shows in the past. The German always takes the toughest fights and has shared the cage with the likes of UFC contender Sergei Pavlovich and PFL champ Ante Delija. The 36-year-old is a boxer with a BJJ game, with seven knockouts and five submissions on his record. This one isn’t going to last long I’d imagine.

Shem Rock (8-1) is a man the U.K. and Irish scene has heard a lot about since his debut. The Next Gen Liverpool man is a complete offensive fighter, with devastating kickboxing and a creative Jiu Jitsu game in his arsenal. The only blip he had was a loss to Nate Kelly, so no shame there. This is the platform the Scouser has been crying out for and on Saturday gets to perform on a big show. Arthur Lima (10-2-1) is a strong competitor and comes out of the Pitbull Brothers team. The Brazilian’s main threat is in the submission game, with an eclectic mix of ways he can get you to tap. This is a great test.

Roman Paulus (9-2) is a very talented young man. The 22-year-old has already collected bags of experience both as an amateur and a pro. The Slovakian is a modern fighter with solid kickboxing and is very good at getting to the back for chokes. Niko Samsonidse (8-2) makes his debut and comes in from a successful stint in GMC. The German is not too dissimilar to his opponent in that he’s competitive on the feet and is adept at sinking in the rear naked choke. This fight could go anywhere and on paper they’re very evenly matched.

Ole Magnor (7-7) is a BJJ player who swings big on the feet. The Norwegian has won six of his last nine and likes to use heavy wrestling to either open the submissions or rain down ground and pound. Michal Kotalík (6-6) would lean more to the kickboxing style and if he’s to win, it’s likely going to be on the feet. The Czech trains out of Reinders MMA and has never been to a decision. This is a rematch from July 2022, where Magnor won via rear naked choke.

Stuart Austin (16-8) is a well known figure from the U.K. scene and is a former BAMMA heavyweight champion. The Englishman comes from a judo background and he added boxing to his game when turning to MMA. His ground and pound is life changing. John Winter (5-2) trains out of the famous Kops gym with the likes of Gegard Mousasi. The 29-year-old is a tall kickboxer with very good submissions. He’s an LFL veteran and has split his wins 50/50 between knockouts and submission.

Katharina Dalisda (8-3) is another who comes from a Judo background and is very strong physically. The German is a tough fighter who will take an armbar or head and arm choke if you make the slightest mistake. In general, she’s going to grind you down for fifteen minutes and go for the decision. You may remember her for fighting Danni McCormack. Isabela de Pádua (7-3) is a Muay Thai stylist with an amazing guillotine. The 31-year-old is a UFC veteran and has shared the cage with Ariane Lipski and Luana Carolina.

Marek Bartl (11-12) is a streaky fighter who’s coming off a win last time out. The Czech is a boxer with six knockouts to date. Selim Topuz (6-4-1) is a versatile striker who isn’t afraid to throw something flashy. The Turk has five wins by knockout. This is another one that shouldn’t need the judges.

Jakub Dohnal (11-3) is predominantly a submission fighter, with five wins via tap out. When things stay on the feet, the Czech tends to go the distance. The Brno man is 7-2 in Oktagon and has fought for Cage Warriors in the past. Callum Mullen (5-0) comes in from the Almighty Fighting Championship and will be known to U.K. scene hardcores. The Englishman’s last couple of wins have been via submission, however he’s potentially more dangerous on the feet.

We have another YouTube showcase bout to lead us into the PPV. James Lewis (8-4) had a blistering debut in September with a rear naked choke win over Selim Topuz. The Englishman is a Muay Thai stylist and is a Cage Warriors and ACB veteran. Dominic Schober (13-10) is an all-rounder on a two-fight win streak. The Austrian lives by the sword and dies by the sword. Six wins have been by knockout and five by submission, with his losses coming almost in the exact same fashion.

Oktagon 42 is live from Bratislava on Saturday night from 17:00 on 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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