Oktagon MMA’s one-million-Euro Tipsport Gamechanger tournament kicked off at Oktagon 40, with eight well-matched welterweight bouts serving up a feast of fighting action for the fans in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Former champion David Kozma, Alex Lohore, Christian Jungwirth, Louis Glisman, Andreas Michailidis, Mohamed Grabinski, Bojan Velickovic, and Melvin van Suijdam all booked their spots in the live draw for the quarter-finals after securing hard-earned victories at the Ostravar Arena.
Gritty Kozma battles past Siwiec
The main event of the evening saw the return of former Oktagon welterweight champion David “Pink Panther” Kozma, who walked out to the Baywatch theme, then dragged his opponent into deep water as he defeated his Polish rival via unanimous decision after three grueling rounds of grapple-heavy action.
Kozma looked comfortable in the opening round, but Siwiec started to threaten with his unorthodox grappling game as the bout progressed. However, Kozma always seemed to have the answer as he gutted his way through adversity to claim a hard-earned decision victory on the scorecards.
Kozma seemed to be shading the action until the mid-way point of the final round, when Siwiec locked up a tight rear-naked choke that appeared to have the former champion in big trouble. But, incredibly, Kozma managed to keep his faculties and keep his composure as he slowly, steadil, worked his way free as the Ostrava crowd roared its approval.
In the end, the action went all the way to the final horn as the judges were called into action to deliver their verdicts, and it was Kozma who got the nod, with scores of
Lohore outbattles Kristofic in co-main war
The co-main event of the evening saw a pair of former middleweights go toe to toe in a classic battle as Alex Lohore outfought teak-tough former interim middleweight champion Samuel Kristofic to earn his spot in the Tipsport Gamechanger quarter-final draw.
Kristofic started the better of the pair, but Lohore settled into his work in Round 2 and began to find a home for his heavy strikes as his power contrasted with the higher volume of the Slovakian contender.
But, as the fight went into the final frame, it was Lohore who looked in better condition as he pushed the pace on a tiring Kristofic and connected with big shots as he threatened to hand the former belt-holder the first stoppage loss of his professional career. But Kristofic hung on gamely and, after a breathless final two minutes, the bout went to the scorecards, with “Da Killa King” earning scores of 29-28, 29-27, 29-27 to progress to the last eight.
After his victory, Lohore paid tribute to his opponent, and said he hoped Kristofic would be handed a route back into the tournament via the fan-voted “Lucky Loser” spot as an injury replacement. He also issued a warning to his quarter-final rivals in the tournament, saying that he’s fighting to be the best, and stating that those competing with the huge cash prize as motivation were already beaten.
Jungwirth earns quarter-final spot after quick turnaround
One of the most notable performances of the night came from German contender Christian Jungwirth, who returned to action just three weeks after his last outing to claim a unanimous decision victory and earn a spot in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Jungwirth defeated Brazilian striker Denilson Neves de Oliveira in the main event of Oktagon 39 in Munich on February 11, despite knowing he had a spot in the Tipsport Gamechanger first round in Ostrava. But he took the fight, defeated de Oliveira on the scorecards, then returned to the cage and picked up another big win to advance in the tournament.
It wasn’t easy, however. Jungwirth was pushed hard by fan vote winner Tato Primera, but the German carried the greater threat throughout the bout to earn scores of 29-28 on all three scorecards.
Inspired Glisman dominates, despite late opponent change
Danish contender Louis Glisman faced a tricky assignment with a last-minute change as he faced tournament alternate Andrej Kalasnik after his planned opponent Amiran Gogoladze was ruled out the day before the event.
That sort of last-gasp change could destabilize some fighters, but Glisman had his game face on from the moment he entered the Ostravar Arena, and he produced a clinical display to dominate Kalasnik over three rounds to earn a shutout decision on the scorecards and book his spot in the last eight of the tournament.
Glisman, whose day job sees him working with troubled children, said he wanted to help inspire his young charges with his performances inside the cage, and he delivered a dominant display before dedicating his victory to the kids he works with week to week in his other career.
Michailidis edges “Apollo”
In one of the best matchups of the tournament’s first round, Greek contender Andreas Michailidis produced a strong display to edge a super-close encounter with Brazilian contender Leandro “Apollo” Silva.
The two fighters went back and forth through three tightly-contested rounds, and both seemed convinced they had done enough to claim the victory as they awaited the official verdict.
When it came, it was Michailidis whose hand was raised with the judges scoring the bout 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 in his favor, leaving a disappointed Silva contemplating what went wrong after the judges’ scorecards didn’t reflect his view of the action.
Elsewhere in the tournament
The first big “wow” moment of the night came in the night’s second tournament bout between Bojan Velickovic and Ion Surdu as both men simultaneously connected with clean punches, as they sent each other down to the canvas in a spectacular double-knockdown.
But, as both fighters hit the mat, it was Velickovic who reacted swiftest as he recovered immediately and snatched an anaconda choke to force the tap and claim the victory.
There was also an eye-catching finish in the final preliminary bout of the night as Marcel Grabinski delivered a huge statement with a first-round knockout of Mate Kertesz while, in the opening tournament bout of the evening, Dutch contender Melvin van Suijdam punched his ticket to the quarter-finals with a unanimous decision victory over Radovan Uskrt.
In a closely-contested matchup, van Suijdam did enough to earn scores of 29-28 from all three judges to pick up the decision victory and secure his spot in the last eight of the tournament.
Oktagon 40: Official results
- David Kozma def. Lukasz Siwiec via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) – tournament bout
- Alex Lohore def. Samuel Kristofic via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27) – tournament bout
- Christian Jungwirth def. Tato Primera via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) – tournament bout
- Louis Glisman def. Andrej Kalasnik via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26) – tournament bout
- Andreas Michailidis def. Leandro Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) – tournament bout
- Jaroslav Pokorny def. Jan Siroky via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:09
- Marcel Grabinski def. Mate Kertesz via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:50 – tournament bout
- Bojan Velickovic def. Ion Surdu via submission (anaconda choke) – Round 1, 2:55 – tournament bout
- Melvin van Suijdam def. Radovan Uskrt via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) – tournament bout
- Matus Juracek def. John Palalogos via unanimous decision – tournament reserve bout