Former Combate Americas bantamweight champion and ex-UFC fighter Gustavo Lopez needed just one round to deliver a huge statement on his promotional debut as he captured the interim bantamweight title at Oktagon 38 in Prague, Czech Republic.
Lopez stepped in on just 10 days’ notice and faced off against three-time title challenger Filip Macek in the main event of the evening at the O2 Arena in the Czech capital, and he needed less than a round to get the job done as he captured the interim 135-pound title in dominant fashion.
After some early stand-up exchanges, Lopez eventually managed to get the action to the mat, where he immediately set to work from side control as Macek struggled to wriggle his way free.
Lopez briefly mounted the Czech, then looked to lock up a Kimura as he threatened from a range of positions on the mat. Eventually, he isolated Macek’s legs and rained down some heavy ground and pound as Macek covered up and looked to defend.
Lopez kept the pressure on and, just as it looked as if Macek was attempting to find a way out of trouble, the American snatched his opponent’s neck and tightened the grip on a slick guillotine choke to claim a hugely impressive first-round submission finish in the closing seconds of the round.
After his victory, Lopez dedicated his win, and his title, to his former coach, the late Robert Follis, before warning injured bantamweight champion Jonas Magard that he’d be even better after a full camp if and when they meet to unify the belts next year.
Oktagon champ Keita claims sudden-death win in ‘Underground Rules’ battle
In the night’s co-main event, Oktagon lightweight champion Losene Keita and kickboxing veteran Milan Pales faced off in a hugely entertaining “Underground Rules” bout as the pair did battle under Muay Thai rules in the cage in a bout that went all the way to a deciding round.
Keita started fast and forced his more experienced opponent onto the back foot as the MMA fighter loaded up and landed with big shots through the opening stanza. But, despite a similarly strong start to the second round by Keita, Pales started to find a home for his shots, and a jumping knee in the closing seconds of the round appeared to stun the Oktagon champion.
It set up a thrilling final round, with Pales turning up the pressure on Keita, who started to show signs of fatigue after two breathless rounds of action. Despite that, both men continued to stand and trade all the way to the final bell, and they both raised their hands in victory as the referee signaled the end of the fight.
When the scorecards were read, the pair couldn’t be split, with the scorecards reading 29-28 Pales, 29-29 even, 29-28 Keita as the bout went into one final sudden-death round to decide the victor.
And, after an action-packed extra round, the judges were all in agreement on the eventual winner, as Keita claimed the victory in dramatic fashion.
“My first kickboxing fight, and what a legend I just beat! I am a fighter!” he declared before getting the Prague crowd to sing Happy Birthday to the Belgian fighter, who was also celebrating his 25th birthday.
Lohore lands home-run KO on welterweight return
Two-time middleweight title challenger Alex Lohore returned to his old division of welterweight and marked the occasion with a massive knockout as he flattened Matus Juracek early in the third round to make a big statement in the 170-pound division.
Lohore found Juracek a tricky customer through the opening two rounds, as the Czech fighter, who had never lost a bout at 170 pounds, proved an elusive target through the early part of the fight. But as the second round wore on, the more experienced Lohore started to walk down his opponent. Then, in the opening seconds of Round 3, “Da Killa King” hit the jackpot with a huge right hand that flattened his man.
In truth, the fight could, and perhaps should, have been waved off there and then, but the action continued as Juracek attempted to recover. But Lohore ensured any reprieve was a temporary one as he followed up with some powerful, accurate ground strikes to knock out Juracek in stunning fashion.
“The boss is right here. Should I ask him? Am I in the tournament?” he asked Ondrej Novotny, who confirmed that the UK-based Frenchman had punched his ticket to the promotion’s Tipsport Gamechanger tournament in 2023, where he’ll join a host of welterweight contenders, plus his nemesis, middleweight champion Patrik Kincl and reigning 170-pound champion Kait Brito, in a tournament with a prize pool of one million Euros.
‘The Mighty Rooster’ claims another victory
Czech lightweight Matous Kohout finally got his chance to face Jan Malach and, two years after they were originally booked to fight, “The Mighty Rooster” picked up the victory with a dominant performance before stating his ambition to challenge for the 155-pound title.
Malach looked to stand and trade on the feet, but had no answer to Kohout’s all-round MMA game. And in the final round of their lightweight clash, Kohout came close to locking up a fight-ending submission. But Malach hung tough and managed to make it to the final bell.
But, despite the bout going the distance, there was no doubt over the identity of the victor, with the only surprise being the lone 29-28 scorecard that joined the two 30-27s in Kohout’s favor.
After the bout, Kohout said he wanted to eventually earn a shot at the belt. After going 2-1 in the Oktagon cage in 2022, he has a base to build from as he looks to gatecrash the lightweight title picture in 2023.
Montagnac blasts his way to sub-60-second finish
French light heavyweight Jorick Montagnac made a big impression as he completed a hat-trick of wins inside the Oktagon cage with a blistering first-round TKO finish of Czech fighter Daniel Skvor.
A peach of a left hook dropped Skvor hard in the opening seconds of the fight, and Montagnac pounced to finish his man after just 38 seconds with a furious flurry of ground strikes.
If Montagnac’s performance left Skvor stunned, he managed to do the same with Oktagon promoter and cage announcer Ondrej Novotny, as he answered the first question of his post-fight interview with a short, to-the-point response: “I want to fight for the belt.”
Another big win like that in his next outing could just see the Frenchman’s wish granted.
‘Baba Jaga’ wins scrappy boxing bout
The main card opened up with a cage boxing bout as Vaclav “Baba Jaga” Mikulasek outpointed Gabor Boraros over the four-round duration.
Mikulasek took full advantage of his significant height and reach advantage to outstrike Boraros through a scrappy, at-times messy bout to take the unanimous decision victory.
Oktagon 38: Official Results
- Gustavo Lopez def. Filip Macek via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 4:44 – for vacant interim bantamweight title
- Losene Keita def. Milan Minci Pales via sudden-death decision (after split draw) – “underground rules” bout
- Alex Lohore def. Matus Juracek via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 0:16
- Matous Kohout def. Jan Malach via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Jorick Montagnac def. Daniel Skvor via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:38
- Vaclav Mikulasek def. Gabor Boraros via unanimous decision (38-36, 38-36, 38-36) – boxing bout
- Ahmed Vila def. Jakub Dohnal via unanimous decision
- Matej Penaz def. Joel dos Santos via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 1, 2:03
- Max Handanagic def. David Jacobsson via majority decision
- Jaroslav Pokorny def. Can Aslaner via unanimous decision
- Radovan Uskrt def. Ole Magnor via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 1, 3:54
- Hassan Shaaban def. Martin Pipek via unanimous decision