Oktagon 37 Preview; 2 Title Fights; Kozma vs Brito

Oktagon will return to Ostrava, Czechia this Saturday evening. Oktagon 37 takes place in the Ostravar Arena, about thirty minutes from the Polish border. The arena primarily hosts ice hockey games and can hold up to 12,500 fans. Those spectators will be treated to eleven fights, including two for Oktagon championship belts.

David Kozma (30-11) is one of the most colourful characters in European MMA. The Czech is known as “The Pink Panther” and he can often be seen in bubble-gum pink shorts with a haircut to match. The Karvina man has a career you can split into two, the first half going 12-8 and the second half going 20-2, including a current win streak of four. Kozma is one of the biggest stars Oktagon have produced and is their current welterweight champion, winning the title back at Oktagon 10. He is undefeated in the promotion and is known for his durability and being one of the toughest fighters to take on over the course of twenty-five minutes. Finishes have been rare for him as he hit the top level of European MMA and when it happens, it’s usually on the feet. Kaik Brito (15-4) is the next guy to challenge “The Pink Panther”. The Brazilian is aiming to emulate fellow countrymen such as Eder de Souza and Fabiano Silva by coming into Europe and winning gold. The Goiania man is 3-1 in Oktagon, including two big knockout wins. He’s primarily going to try and go for the big shots on the feet early on. If it hits the mat, he’s dangerous off his back with triangle chokes. The odds are against him; however, his power gives him a fighting chance.

The OKMMA Featherweight Championship is on the line in the co-main event. Mate Sanikidze (8-2) has been a revelation since signing, winning both his bouts to date. The Georgian is the latest prospect coming from a country which seems to have a great conveyor belt of talent. The 24-year-old is a great wrestler with a knockout kick-boxing game to bolt onto it. He’s faced stiff opposition in Oktagon so far and Jakub Tichota (5-0) is another tough test. The Czech is another homemade talent on the up. The Reinders MMA man is very much a new school guy who can do a bit of everything. The 23-year-old has two first round knockout finishes on his resume, as well as a rear naked choke submission on his debut. As an amateur, he has represented Czechia in multiple IMMAF tournaments so has experience in big fights. What we’re looking at here is the future of the game, two young men with everything ahead of them. Only one can take the step forward on Saturday.

Vlasto Čepo (10-2) returns to the promotion following a few fights away, including two wins by rear naked choke in Malta’s Centurion Fight Championship (a promotion where the likes of Kiefer Crosbie, Cian Cowley, Nate Kelly, Shane Costello and Marcin Zembala have competed in recently). The Serbian is actually known more as a knockout artist, with five finishes coming on the feet. The 27-year-old is a quick starter and has nine wins inside the first round. Gianni Melillo (14-7) is a veteran of the European scene at this stage and has competed for Cage Warriors, Bellator, ACB and UAE Warriors along the way. The Italian was unsuccessful in his Oktagon debut, losing a decision to Matěj Peňáz. He generally has most of his success on the feet. It’s a tough assignment for the 37-year-old.

Konrad Dyrschka (14-2) makes his Oktagon début on Saturday night. The UFD Gym man arrives with a 3-0 record in EMC. The Leipzig man is a good kickboxer and has lethal ground and pound. The German stumbled on his last foray at this level, losing to Łukasz Rajewski at KSW 59. With Oktagon making waves in the German market, a win here will elevate him into the top of future cards. Jan Široký (12-13) is a local fighter from Ostrava. The Czech won his last bout via punches from the crucifix. He boasts a 3-3 record in the promotion and is decent in all areas. Široký is likely to bite off more than he can chew in this one, with Dyrschka being the heavy favourite.

Radovan Úškrt (6-3) is a man with a mean natural finishing ability. The Slovakian has thunder in his fists. The Bratislava man has four knockout wins under the Oktagon banner. Regarding the three fights he’s lost, they’ve been to top talents such as the UFC’s Marvin Vettori and Samuel Krištofič. He had a 3-year layoff before his last fight, a knockout win over Denis Kurdinov, and he’ll be looking for more of the same this time out. Al Matavao (9-5) comes in off the back of a knockout win against Pavel Salčák. The Alaskan is a no-nonsense striker who will meet Úškrt in the middle of the cage to throw down. The American has appeared in the Dana White Contender Series. The judges’ scores are likely unnecessary here.

Ronald Paradeiser (14-8) headlines the prelim section of the card. The Slovakian is a tall kickboxer who can cause trouble with those long limbs and catch you in a sub. The 25-year-old has gone 8-4 in the promotion. Felipe Maia (13-6) is a submission specialist. The Brazilian has a nasty guillotine, however it’s the old reliable rear naked choke that is his go to. He has shown some weaknesses in the stand up in the past.

Václav Mikulášek (7-10) is another local on the card and a man in need of a win having dropped four on the bounce. The Czech is a knockout artist who has shown weakness in his BJJ game. Nikola Zlatev (4-5) is a submission expert who has competed for Cage Warriors in the past. The Bulgarian fought Kyle McClurkin at Cage Conflict 3. Whoever does their thing first wins.

Adam Pałasz (7-1) comes in hot on the heels of a first-round knockout against Donald Ćosic at Oktagon 33. The Pole is a good kickboxer with knockout power with a solid BJJ game. All of his wins have been via stoppage. Tadej Dajčman (5-2) has won both his Oktagon bouts to date, with one via submission. The Slovenian isn’t afraid to trade blows and two of his wins have come via knockout. The big boys will throw some leather in this one.

Monika Chochlikova (3-0) is a bright prospect to keep an eye on. The Slovakian is a Muay Thai and kick-boxing specialist, including winning the 2019 WAKO World Championships. The 26-year-old won her debut in Bellator with a scorpion crunch submission, showing she’s not a one-dimensional fighter. Katharina Dalisda (7-3) is a big step up in opposition. The German is coming off a career best victory over former UFC fighter Mallory Martin at Oktagon 36. The Frankfurt native is a very tough judoka who loves to make your life a misery. She’s going to test every bit of Chochlikova’s grappling game.

Robert Bryczek (14-5) is a veteran of the FEN and Oktagon scene and has been in good form as of late, winning two fights this year by knockout. The Pole is a durable heavy hitter who has the cardio to go all fifteen. Abdel Rahmane Driai (7-1) won his promotional debut by first round kimura at Oktagon 25. The Algerian-Frenchman is a submission fighter with a knockout threat.

Matěj Kuzník (17-7) will appear on the YouTube free fight. The Czech is an Oktagon mainstay who can hang on the feet or in the grappling game. Ozan Aslaner (8-4-1) is a new signing. The German is a standup striker with five stoppage wins. With Oktagon expanding into Germany, opportunity knocks for fighters from that neck of the woods.

Oktagon 37 is live on Saturday evening and is exclusively on PPV at Oktagon.tv 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.