Oktagon 45: Night 1 Preview; Mågård defends, Bryczek v Pirát, Sanda MMA’s Herczeg debut

Oktagon come out swinging with a unique double header this week. There is a tennis stadium in the heart of Prague called Štvanice that will host a pair of outdoor summer events. The Czech capital will host 16,000 fans over the two days and Friday will see ten fights, including one title bout.

Jonas Mågård (15-5) is the reigning, defending OKMMA Bantamweight champion, a title he won via decision against Filip Macek in November 2021. The Dane trains a lot out of Manchester Top Team and is a very strong wrestler. The 31-year-old is a master of the Japanese necktie and his striking has improved to the point where he beat Gustavo Lopez by knockout in his last appearance back in April. It was a right hook that was the beginning of the end there. Felipe Lima (11-1) is looking to take the belt out of European hands. The Brazilian usually trains out of Allstars in Stockholm. The Maunas man comes in on an eleven-fight win streak, the last of which was a spectacular flying knee knockout at Fight Club Rush 10 in November 2021, which was just a few weeks after Mågård was crowned champ. A decent chunk of time has gone by since and ring rust has to be considered. The 25-year-old isn’t just a striker, he’s also got submissions in his back pocket.

Robert Bryczek (16-5) is a man who’s been throwing more hooks than a fisherman in recent times. The 33-year-old has felled his last four opponents with his fists. Left or right didn’t matter, his power is explosive and devastating. When the Pole hits you, you stay hit. Samuel Krištofič (16-5) is one of the most successful of Oktagon’s homemade stars. “Pirát” as he’s better known by, returns to his natural weight class of middleweight after dropping down for an unsuccessful stint in the Tipsport tournament. The Slovakian is a former interim champion and he’s a very well rounded competitor. The 33-year-old is built to last the duration and has never been finished. The finishes on his record are evenly split between knockouts and submissions.

Vladimír Lengál (5-2) has won five MMA bouts on the hop after starting his pro career 0-2. The Czech is a multi- sport athlete and has been very successful in boxing realms to date. This man does knockouts and his hands are perhaps the most naturally made sleep aids in continental Europe. Michael Deiga-Scheck (10-4) is a competitive martial artist who’s a threat both on the feet and on the mat. The German is an expert in the choke game and is lethal anywhere he can grab your neck. The 37-year-old has a couple of knockout wins, however it wouldn’t be wise to stand in this one.

Máté Kertész (13-6) got eliminated from the Tipsport tournament by Mohamed Grabinski by KO back in March. The Hungarian is another long time Oktagon veteran and also has a Bellator win on his record. “The Cold Blooded” earned his nickname for his striking style. He’s not overly concerned with hitting the mat unless he’s following you down with ground and pound. Máté goes in for the kill from the opening bell. Ion Surdu (12-5) is not too dissimilar, however he may throw in a guillotine if you try to take him down. The Moldovan also dropped out of the tournament following a submission defeat to Bojan Veličković. The 28-year-old trains out of Ankos MMA in Poland, and he’ll meet his opponent right in the cauldron with his devastating kickboxing game. Damage wins fights and these lads inflict it more than most.

Shem Rock (8-1-1) coached Team Ireland alongside Paddy Holohan on the Ireland vs England Oktagon Challenge tv show. The Akido practitioner trained a lot out of Next Gen in Liverpool under Paul Rimmer. The 29-year-old has a formidable submission game, which he backs up with good kickboxing. This Rock usually beats paper and scissors by finishing them early. Jan Malach (15-13) is a very popular Czech MMA journeyman. “The King of the North” displays great boxing skills and is coming off a knockout win with his elbows back in April. This man is game and takes on all comers.

Tato Primera (18-13) is another exciting journeyman on the card. “El Espectaculo” earned his nickname by bringing the excitement event after event, win or lose. The Spaniard when on top is a knockout machine and can take punishment back. His boxing isn’t to be sniffed at. That’s where Radovan Úškrt (7-4) is going to test him and try to prove me wrong. The Slovakian is a mean, mean Muay Thai stylist. The Bratislava man knows only one way to go through the door, and that’s by knocking it clean off its hinges. His fists can signal the death knell at any moment.

Václav Mikulášek (9-10) is a warrior and an insanely popular character on the Oktagon scene. The Czech carries his gum shield wherever he goes in case a fight breaks out. Better known as “Baba Jaga”, he’s coming into that tennis stadium with one goal, knockout. Ole Magnor (7-7) will probably try and take this down using his wrestling and submissions. The Norwegian does have some knockout wins, however it usually comes from ground and pound. Neither man does many decisions.

Jamie Cordero (3-1) picked up a great knockout win back in April, a big right hook doing the damage. The only blemish on the German’s record was a disqualification due to a soccer kick, a move allowed in Japan, but not in Frankfurt where the fight was held. Gabriel Török (4-7-1) earned his first submission win last time with a heel hook. Before then, the Slovakian won all his fights in the stand-up arts.

Armand Herczeg (debut) turns pro after a long amateur career. “The Crane” trains out of Sanda MMA in Dundalk and was part of Team Ireland in Oktagon Challenge. The Hungarian born fighter has a lot of submission wins to his name and also has a Siam boxing background. Radek Roušal (0-1) lost his pro debut by decision back in February of last year. The Czech is a man who likes to keep active and has fought many times in boxing and kickboxing since then. Somebody’s 0 has got to go.

There’s a unique wrinkle to kick things off in the traditional YouTube free fight. Róża Gumienna (4-3) is a high level kickboxer who’s struggled to find consistency lately in MMA, albeit against very good opponents. The 33-year-old Pole is lethal on the feet and attacks all levels. If you let her get her leg kicks going, it’s not ending well for you. The catch for this one is that we don’t know her opponent until fight time. There’s been rumours circling, however we won’t know for sure until it’s time to make the walk.

Oktagon 45: Night 1 is live from Prague on Friday night from 17:30 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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