Oktagon bantamweight champion Jonas Magard says he’s ready to showcase his aggressive fighting style as he puts his title on the line in Prague this weekend.
Magard takes on 11-1 Brazilian challenger Felipe Lima in the main event of the first night of Oktagon 45, a special two-night double-header event held at Stvanice, Prague, this weekend.
It’s a bout that offers Magard the biggest stage of his MMA career, with his career soaring as the Czech MMA promotion continues to grow in stature in the wider MMA space.
The 31-year-old Dane, who fights out of Manchester Top Team in England, is riding a three-fight win streak under MMA rules. He captured the promotion’s bantamweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Filip Macek in his second fight for the promotion, then defended it in impressive fashion with a second-round TKO finish of Gustavo Lopez at Oktagon 41 in April.
Magard feels like he’s hit his stride since joining Oktagon, with the techniques he’s drilling in the gym playing out perfectly for him when he steps into the cage on fight night.
“I feel my last four fights have been like that,” he told Sean O’Connell and Dan Hardy on The DAZN MMA Show.
“There has been something that I’ve learned or I start doing in training. And then, like with that submission (over Elnur Veliev on his Oktagon debut), I knew I was even showing it to my dad, I was saying ‘this is the submission I’m gonna hit him with.’
“And the last fight (against Lopez) that punch was also something I knew was going to come. And I’ve got something special for this fight as well. So let’s see. You can never rely on a specific punch, but it’s always when things are showing in training and during the fight camp always shows up in the fight somehow.
“It can be a good thing and it can be a bad thing, because a lot of people are relying on one specific thing. So I’m just trying to be free and not thinking too much into it. But yeah, it’s always nice when it’s something you’ve been drilling, and it shows out in the fight.”
On Friday night in Stvanice, Prague, Magard will put his bantamweight belt on the line against Lima, and the Dane explained that there is no love lost between the pair as they prepare to face off for the title.
“No, I don’t like the guy,” he said.
“I’m gonna fight the guy. He’s trying to take bread from my family, my son. It’s very personal when I’m fighting. It has to be, I’m not one of these fighters who can go in and say, ‘Oh, it’s just a fight.’ No, it’s very, very personal for me.
“I’m coming in there to hurt him, like, as bad as I can. So for me, it’s very personal. He thinks he’s better than me. I’m gonna make sure that he knows after this fight he’s not better than me. And he will remember it for the rest of his career.
“So it’s very personal for me. And it’s just me. The way I talk with my opponent is just my way of showing that. I’m not here to be friends. I’ve got enough friends. I’ve got family. He literally thinks that he’s gonna be better than me. And I take that very, very personal. So yeah, it’s very real. I’m not very good at faking and lying. So what you see is just me.”
Magard headlines the first of two back-to-back events held at the Central Tennis Court in Stvanice, the island that hosts the Prague Open ATP tennis event on the ATP Challenger Tour each year. It’s a spectacular open-air venue that will produce an incredible fighting arena for Magard to show his skills.
For Magard, fighting on big stages like that is what brings the best out of him, and he can’t wait to put on a show for the fans this weekend.
“I feel like my energy is matching that (atmosphere),” he said.
“When I get in and I feel the crowd – if they like me or hate me, whatever – I get that energy and bring it into the fight. It’s just like a pre-workout, you just get a boost when you’re walking. Some people crumble under it. But I raise under that, so the best thing for me is that big crowd.
“You get a bit addicted to it as well, so it’s a bit dangerous. I remember coming home from one of the fights and I was like, sitting in my car. And I was just like, ‘I just fought in front of 20,000 people. And now I’m just sitting here, and my neighbour doesn’t even know what I’m doing.’ You know, it was such an unreal feeling, you know, and then you just want more. So I feel like it’s the best thing.
“I talked with (Oktagon fight analyst and former UFC fighter) Luke Barnatt about it, and he told me also the organization itself, it feels like a little bit like the UFC was back in the days when it was coming up, and there was this family thing about it. And that’s how Oktagon is now and they’re doing all the right things to do it the right way – promotion, everything. And the fans just love it.
“I feel like it’s almost like a national sport over there (in the Czech Republic) now. They have ice hockey, and they have MMA now, so it’s crazy. I kind of walk in the streets and people are running after me, taking pictures. And then I come back home and nobody to have ice hockey and to have to have MMA now. So it’s crazy. I kind of walk in the streets, people running after me taking pictures. And then I come back home and nobody gives a f**f, you know?! Two lives! It’s crazy!”
Oktagon’s global footprint has grown with their partnership with sports streaming giants DAZN, meaning that MMA fans across the world now have the chance to see the promotion, and their bantamweight champion, in action.
And for those who haven’t experienced a Jonas Magard fight before, the Dane gave this quickfire description of what he brings to the cage each time he competes.
“My style is violence. That’s what I want to bring, every time,” he said.
“Maybe it’s not the most beautiful, but it’s effective. That’s what I’m bringing. I know to bring myself into deep waters and survive there, so that’s where I’m bringing my opponents, too. Just being in their face, making it hard, making it horrible for them and trying to break them.
“So, yeah. My style is just violence. Beautiful violence!”