Oktagon 45: Night 2 Preview; Sanikidze v Keita, Buchinger, Vémola

The second night of the Oktagon 45 double header goes down on Saturday in what is arguably the bigger of the two cards. Eleven MMA fights occur on the tennis courts of Štvanice in the centre of Prague, including one blockbuster title fight. There will also be a halftime show from rising Czech popstar Elizabeth Kopecká.

An OKMMA Featherweight unification bout is our juggernaut of a main event. Mate Sanikidze (10-2) makes his first defence of the belt he won against Jakub Tichota by split decision in December. The Georgian has won seven-in-a-row and is a very versatile fighter. Like a lot of combatants from the Caucasus region, he has very good wrestling, which he combines with a beautiful kickboxing game. At just 24-years-old, his skill level is already very high. Losene Keita (11-0) is the biggest prospect in Oktagon and he holds the interim title, which he also won against Jakub Tichota with a fourth round knockout (Sanikidze had pulled out with an injury prior to this fight). The Guinean is also the OKMMA Lightweight champion. This kid is one of the best strikers to compete on the European scene ever. The 25-year-old has made mincemeat of his opponents, winning seven by knockout. His list of victims is a who’s who of promotional big names (Bark, Buchinger, Tichota, Rony Paradeiser). This fight is one of the best on offer in Europe this year. Do not miss this.

Karlos Vémola (34-7) is perhaps THE Oktagon MMA legend. The former UFC man has won seven of his last eight, coming up shy in his bid to win middleweight gold against Patrik Kincl in May. This will be his third fight of the year as he tries to remain as active as possible. The Czech has a very heavy wrestling game and is an expert at finishing submissions (19 career wins by sub). Lucas Alsina (11-4) comes in after last fighting with Bellator. The Argentine is a vicious striker with seven wins coming via knockout. The 37-year-old needs to use his range to keep Vémola away from him.

Ivan Buchinger (39-8) is a European MMA legend. The Slovakian is best known for being on the wrong side of a highlight reel knockout to Conor McGregor, however he won ten-in-a-row after that, picking up multiple belts along the way. The 37-year-old has remained at the top of the cards in Europe since and has barely missed a step. Submissions are his specialty, with twenty-four on his record. He’s only losing to the very top guys. Abou Tounkara (9-4) comes from the Atch Academy where you’ll find the likes of Salahdine Parnasse, a man who holds a win over Buchinger. The Frenchman is a knockout artist with six wins via that method. He’s shown in recent Hexagone MMA fights that he can go the distance and win as well.

Nermin Hajdarpašić (4-1-1) went 4-0 in Fight Club Rush before moving over to Oktagon, and he’s hoping it’s third time lucky to get his first win under the banner. The big heavyweight has got power in his hands and has cardio to go fifteen minutes. Daniel Škvor (5-3) is a big bruiser who’s not afraid to go out on his shield looking for the deciding blow. The Czech is a Muay Thai stylist who’s only gone to a decision once and also has three exhibition wins to add to five official victories.

The next fight also features the big boys. Lazar Todev (8-5) is a kickboxer with six knockouts in MMA. The Bulgarian works his levels well and has won six-in-a-row. Wallyson Carvalho (13-8) is also coming in to separate his opponent from their consciousness. The Brazilian has nine knockouts. These two should be swinging bungalows.

Ondřej Petrášek (7-1) is a prospect in the lightweight division. The Reinders MMA man won his Oktagon debut by knockout in March 2021. An arm injury has halted his activity. The Prague native also has a very good submission game. Jan Široký (12-15) is a journeyman who’s a bit chinny. The Czech is at his best when he’s gets his striking going and he has the power to finish. He’s only won four of his last eleven though.

Eduard Kexel (8-1) is a featherweight to keep an eye on. The German comes in from the regional scene where he frequently won decisions. He also represented his country at multiple IMMAF championships and has an extensive amateur record. This means he’s comfortable wherever the fight may go. Michal Jančuška (8-3) replaces the injured Samuel Bark to make his Oktagon debut. The Czech comes in hot off a “This is Sparta” style front kick to the chest knockout victory. The 32-year-old has a healthy 50/50 split between knockouts and submissions on his record. He’s never won a decision.

Akonne Wanliss (6-2) is a promising talent who has wins in Bellator and LFL. The English lightweight is very good everywhere and is a natural finisher. The “J3di” has three knockout wins and three submissions to date. His only defeats are to Kingsley Crawford and Alfie Davis, which there’s no shame in. What he needs most is activity and a string of fights to put together. Giorgi Gogotchuri (4-2) came from the GAMMA amateur scene and is another from the Caucasus region that can wrestle all day. Submissions are his currency and he’s looking to cash in on Saturday.

Roman Paulus (9-3) is another homegrown prospect. The Slovakian has lost his last two and is looking to regain the form that saw him go 6-1 to start his pro career. The 23-year-old is an allrounder with a couple of wins by submission and knockout. It has been mostly decisions mind you. Callum Mullen (5-1) is part of the British invasion in advance of the Manchester card in November. He lost his debut to Jakub Dohnal in April. The Englishman came into the promotion as a finishing machine in the sub game and on the feet.

James Lewis (8-4) is also part of the British Invasion. The Englishman won his debut by submission last September. The Muay Thai specialist has found lots of success in the submission game as an MMA fighter, with five submission wins. This man is a finisher. Vladislav Kanchev (12-7-2) is a veteran of the European scene. The Bulgarian’s biggest strength is his kickboxing, which utilises his massive power. He finds your chin and it’s over.

Nikolaos Serbezis (7-3) is a submission specialist. The German comes in from the regional scene where he won five by tap out. Ivan Klevets (debut) is a bit of an unknown quantity. It is said that the Ukrainian has had dozens of amateur bouts. From what we do know, he’s a very solid kickboxer 

Oktagon 45: Night 2 is live from Prague on Saturday 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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