Oktagon 40 Preview; €1m Tipsport Gamechanger Tournament Begins

Oktagon starts a new chapter in their ascent up the rankings of top European MMA promotions this Saturday. The Czech/Slovak company announced a new international streaming deal with DAZN. In addition, they’re kicking off their €1 million Tipsport Gamechanger Welterweight tournament at Oktagon 40 at the Ostravar Arena in Ostrava, Czech Republic. 12,000 will pack into the arena to see the opening eight bouts and two reserve matchups.

David Kozma (30-12) is looking to get back to winning ways in his tournament opener. “The Pink Panther” lost his OKMMA Welterweight title to Kaik Brito last time out by a third round TKO. Known for his colourful pink hair and cage attire, the 30-year-old will be one of the favourites to win it all. The Karvina man was a long reigning champion and had five defences to his name. During his 10-1 reign in the promotion, he won half his fights by KO/TKO. Earlier in his career, he displayed a good submission game. Łukasz Siwiec (8-1) comes in as the underdog. The 31-year-old is the Babilon MMA Welterweight champion in his native Poland. The Radom man is a submission specialist with armbar, rear naked choke and triangle choke victories on his résumé. His sole loss was to the exciting Tymoteusz Łopaczyk via knees. An exciting clash to get this DAZN deal underway.

The co-main event features another one of Oktagon’s long time stars, Samuel ‘Pirát’ Krištofič (16-4). The Slovakian is a former OKMMA Middleweight interim champion and is currently 10-3 with them. The 33-year-old is dropping down to 170lbs for a run at the big prize money. The Bratislava man is a tough, well rounded fighter and he’s competed in Lethwei in the past, a discipline that allows headbutts. He packs a mean punch and has a lovely head and arm triangle in his arsenal. Alex Lohoré (22-8) got a lovely knockout victory in his return to the weight in his last bout, a third round win over Matúš Juráček. “Da Killa Kid” is well known on the U.K. and Irish scene from his stints in BAMMA, Cage Warriors and Bellator. The 33-year-old trains out of England and is of Ivorian descent, whilst also representing France. The boxer has a hammer of a right hand that could knock out a horse. There’s also a tasty guillotine in his bag of tricks. Another top matchup.

Christian Jungwirth (13-6) has been pivotal in Oktagon’s expansion into Germany. This boxer comes to fight and is always prepared for a gruelling fifteen minute contest. The 36-year-old has secured three stoppages in the promotion to date and has only been stopped once via submission. The Stuttgart man only has an outside chance of going all the way, however he’ll be a tough man to face and most of the field will hope to avoid him. Tato Primera (18-12) won’t have that luxury. The Spaniard went 2-2 in Oktagon in the 2020/21 period. The 31-year-old trains out of the Canary Islands and has a boxing base like his opponent. He comes in with a two-fight win streak and is one of the biggest underdogs in the tournament.

Louis Glismann (9-2) is predicted to be one of the main threats to Kozma. The Dane has plied his trade in Brave CF and ARES FC. The Copenhagen man is a very solid talent that has a great rounded skill-set. The 32-year-old is a quick starter and generally finishes fights within the first two rounds. He wins more bouts by submission than knockout, however he’s a threat wherever he ends up. Amiran Gogoladze (14-3) is an incredibly tough opponent to draw straight off the bat. The Georgian is looking to bounce back from a defeat on Dana White Contender Series, a loss due to injuring his shoulder on a slam. “The Sniper” is definitely good enough for the big show, and he’s an explosive striker with nice submissions. This man was born to fight and youth is on his side.

Leandro ‘Apollo’ Silva (26-10-1) trains out of American Top Team in Florida and has performed pretty much everywhere. The Brazilian went 3-4 in the UFC and also had stints in PFL and ACB. The 37-year-old is also a pro boxer, albeit with not much success. He’s 2-1 in Oktagon, beating Bojan Veličković and Alex Lohoré, but losing to David Kozma, all of whom are in the tournament. This veteran has good kickboxing and a decent submission game. Andreas Michailidis (13-6) is a fellow UFC vet, going 1-3. The Greek generally does his business on the feet, however that’s also where he’s in most danger. For better or for worse, the Athens man will not be coming to worship Apollo and will be looking to knock him off Mount Olympus.

Jan Široký (12-14) vs. Jaroslav Pokorný (15-10) will serve as a palate cleanser to open the main card in a non-tournament bout. Both men hail from the Czech Republic and will likely stand and bang until one falls.

Máté Kertész (13-5) is 8-4 in Oktagon and also has a 1-0 record in Bellator. The Hungarian has three knockouts wins, however has been mostly winning decisions lately. The bookies have him in the middle of the pack. He’ll likely need to rediscover his finishing touch to go deep into the tournament, but he’s a name others won’t want to draw due to his toughness. Mohamed Grabinski (22-7) takes this fight at late notice after originally being due to be an alternate. The German comes in from Brave CF and is a mean, knockout striker with a cracking rear naked choke. The 31-year-old will be keen to take advantage of his biggest opportunity to date.

Bojan Veličković (21-12-2) is ex-UFC and PFL. The Serbian joined Oktagon in 2021 and has gone 3-2 since. The Novi Sad man is well equipped to fight on the feet and on the mat. The 34-year-old has two knockouts in the promotion so far and will be looking for the hat-trick. Ion Surdu (12-4) is an exciting knockout artist. The Moldovan trains out of Ankos MMA in Pozńan, Poland. The 27-year-old is a savage kickboxer with multiple highlight reel head kick knockouts on his record. His odds don’t match the danger his opponents face and one slip up will have you waking up with a blank memory like after a night out on ţuică.

Radovan Úškrt (7-3) has been in a violent mood since making his return in 2022. The Slovakian is a Muay Thai practitioner and his game plan is simple, to separate his opponent from their consciousness. He has been defeated by two fellow contestants so I’m sure he’d love some revenge along the way. Melvin van Suijdam (13-5) is the Levels Fight League Welterweight champion. The Dutchman is a fine grappler and submission artist. The 34-year-old also has decent kickboxing in his repertoire.

Andrej Kalašnik (10-3) will take part in one of the tournament reserve bouts. The Brno man is 6-2 in the promotion and is a fun fighter. “AK-47” picked up a handful of knockout wins early in his career, however has won mostly by decision since. Matúš Juráček has followed a similar type of run. The Czech karate stylist has gone 4-1 so far, with three decisions. Lots to play for in the alternate matchup.

Oktagon 40 is on Saturday night and can be seen live on PPV at Oktagon.tv or on DAZN from 17:00 Irish time.

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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