Oktagon 53 Preview: Dalisda v Dourthe

The Rudolf-Weber Arena in Oberhausen will be the host once again as Oktagon MMA return to town this Saturday. The heart of Germany’s industrial region will be treated to ten mixed martial arts bouts at Oktagon 53. These German fans show up in their droves and make a lot of noise, and Saturday will be no different.

Kathrine Dalisda (10-3) is making a case to be the greatest female fighter in Oktagon history after winning the OKMMA Strawweight Championship via guillotine choke over Jacinta Austin back in September. Saturday night sees the first defence of that belt and she’ll be looking to use her very well rounded skill set to keep the strap in Germany. The 32-year-old is 4-0 in Oktagon and trains out of the acclaimed MMA Spirit in Frankfurt. The German is durable, has a good boxing game and can sink in a choke given half a chance. Eva Dourthe (8-5) is charging across the western border with the aim of grabbing the gold and parading it through the Arc de Triomphe. The Frenchwoman won her Oktagon debut against Chiaro Peno via unanimous decision, earning her a shot at the crown. Her biggest threat is in the submission game and she’s great at dominating decision victories. Franco-German relations will be put to the test here.

Islam Dulatov (9-1) is one of the top prospects out of the UFD Gym in nearby Düsseldorf. The German is a Michelangelo sculpture that came to life and at 6’6” tall, he’s quite an imposing figure. “The Ripper” has been perfect since losing his pro debut and can get it done on the feet and in the submission game. He’s a ruthless finisher and all but one of his wins has been in the first round. Ioannis Paleologus (20-12-1) is charged with the role of spoiler. The 36-year-old is a Euro MMA veteran and has plied his trade in promotions such as Cage Warriors and Armia Fight Night. The Greek has big knockout power and a solid BJJ game.

Miroslav Brož (16-3-1) is on a seven-fight undefeated streak and is looking to extend on Saturday. The Czech is a mean fighter who specialised in decisions early in his career, but has added stiff knockouts and slick submissions to his résumé in recent times. This will be his tenth fight under the Oktagon banner, and he’s not coming all the way from Prague to come away empty handed. Tom Crosby (8-3-1) comes into Oberhausen as the sole British competitor on the card. The Leeds man is making his Oktagon debut having impressed on the local English scene. The 36-year-old is finally getting a shot at the top end of European MMA, and he’ll be hoping to use his finishing instincts to get this done early. He’s shown he can spark out opponents and submit them, all well within the distance. Now to prove he can do it against top talent.

Hojat Khajevand (7-3) gained notoriety on the Central European scene with various local promotions. The Iranian is known as a top level wrestler with a mean submission game. Training out of Freiburg, he’s looking to stay active and get his third Oktagon win in-a-row and push towards title contention. David Zawada (18-9) is his toughest test since facing Will Fleury. The German is another UFD Gym Düsseldorf fighter and is a five-fight UFC veteran. The 33-year-old is also a former KSW and PFL fighter, and has a reputation due to his heavy hitting kickboxing game.

Cihad Akipa (6-1) was defeated in his Oktagon debut by Matthew Bonner back in November. The German is jumping right back onto the horse and is looking to showcase his kickboxing skills in this one. Ivica Trušček (42-39) is a Croatian MMA legend. The American Top Team Zagreb man has been a pro since 2007 and has been popping up all over Europe since. With 24 knockout and 15 submission wins on his record, the 36-year-old is a threat in all aspects of the game. The losses can’t be ignored, there are clear paths to victory if you stay clear of his weapons.

Jan Malach (15-14) is a policeman in his day job, and is looking to turn into Judge Dredd on Saturday night and issue a different kind of justice. The Czech is a good boxer with power. The Reinders MMA man has shown weaknesses in his defensive submission game. Luka Milidragović (3-0) saved this fight after taking it on a day’s notice. The 24-year-old was put forward due to his links to UFD Gym, and he has appeared on their show EMC Talents. The Croatian has been getting things done by knockout so far in his fledgling career.

Jaroslav “Jubox” Pokorný (16-10) is itching to get back into the cage after his last fight fell through on weigh-in day due to an ill advised Shem Rock body kick during a face-off. He’s a popular figure on the Czech scene and is a well rounded fighter with eight knockout and five submission wins. Gjoni Palokaj (7-3) is another new face strapping on the black and yellow gloves for the first time. The German is a good grappler with damaging striking. He’ll be making the three-hour drive down from Hannover for this one.

Endrit Brajshori (2-1) was born in Germany with Balkan roots. The MMA Rosenheim man flew out of the blocks as a pro with a pair of victories due to strikes. That led to him signing with Oktagon and a debut defeat by submission last May. He went back to the drawing board and will be eager to close some of those exposed gaps in his game. Jan Fajk (4-0) is a young prospect out of Reinders MMA. The Czech represented his country at the Junior IMMAFs and has shown good striking and grappling early in his pro career.

Emir-Can Al (debut) is another UFD Gym talent. The German has an extensive amateur history, including representing his country at the IMMAFs. Skillwise he’s shown he can do a bit of everything, however mistakes get punished even harder now he’s moving up a level. Tomáš Votava (debut) will also be turning pro on Saturday. The Slovakian showed good striking with knockout power on the amateur scene.

This event’s free YouTube prelim will showcase two promising young talents. Jakub Batfalsky (3-0) is an exciting finisher. The Slovakian is a modern fighter who has solid submissions and a striking threat. Sami Zarabi (3-1) has been more of a knockout threat at pro level, however has submission wins at amateur. The German lost his last one by submission so will be keen to get back to winning ways here.

Oktagon 53 is live from Oberhausen 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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