Belgian sensation Losene Keita steps into the main event spotlight once again at Oktagon 42 as he bids to capture a second championship belt for the Czech-Slovak promotion.
Reigning lightweight champion Keita takes on Jakub Tichota in the headline bout at the Zimny Stadium on Saturday, April 29 as the pair battle it out for the interim featherweight championship.
Keita was originally set to take on featherweight champion Mate Sanikidze, but, with the Georgian unable to compete, Tichota has stepped in for the interim title opportunity.
While the change in opponent may be seen by some as a downgrade, Tichota represents the next toughest test for Keita at 145 pounds. His most recent outing came against Sanikidze in a bout he lost via split decision, despite dropping the champion early in the bout. The back-and-forth nature of the bout meant that observers were as conflicted as the judges at the final bell. In the end, it was Sanikidze whose hand was raised, leaving Tichota with a point to prove as he looks to rebound.
That bounceback opportunity comes against arguably Oktagon’s most exciting star. Keita is undefeated at 10-0, and has looked a top-drawer talent in his appearances for Oktagon thus far.
“Black Panther” arrived in Oktagon with a first-round knockout of Karol Rysavy, then outpointed the dangerous Ronald Paradeiser to win the interim title and earn a shot at the unified lightweight title. Keita took that chance in emphatic fashion, with a stunning knockout of Slovakian hero Ivan Buchinger at Oktagon 33.
He then switched codes and defeated Slovakian kickboxing star Milan Minci Pales after a deciding round at Oktagon 38, before serving notice to the featherweight division with a third-round knockout of Swedish contender Samuel Bark at Oktagon 39 just two months later.
Now, Keita is set to challenge for the interim featherweight strap, and faces a fired-up contender in Tichota in what should be an exciting championship clash.
Rock ready to roll
Also set for action in Bratislava is English lightweight Shem Rock, who is all set to make his promotional debut.
Rock, who trains out of the Next Generation MMA gym that has produced the likes of Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann and Chris Fishgold, has an 8-1 record and has never seen the judges’ scorecards in a professional career that includes a staggering six first-round submission finishes, as well as a pair of knockouts.
The 29-year-old, who fled the UK to Thailand, then Malaysia, after being accused of a crime he did not commit, found his love of MMA while in Asia before heading to Ireland, where he was apprehended and jailed.
But, after new evidence exonerated him and proved his innocence, Rock was acquitted and released, and now works with local youths to help prevent them from suffering the same experiences he did as a youngster. He also re-dedicated himself to his training, and is now ready to make an impact on his Oktagon MMA debut, where he’ll take on Brazilian grappler Arthur Lima in a 157-pound catchweight matchup.
Rock will be joined by fellow countrymen Stuart Austin, Callum Mullen and James Lewis, who are all also set for action on the card in Slovakia.
Oktagon 42: Fight card
- Losene Keita vs. Jakub Tichota – for interim featherweight title
- Vlasto Cepo vs. Ion Taburceanu
- Matous Kohout vs. Karol Rysavy
- Jeremy Kimball vs. Ruben Wolf
- Shem Rock vs. Arthur Lima
- Roman Paulus vs. Niko Samsonidse
- Ole Magnor vs. Michal Kotalik
- Stuart Austin vs. John Winter
- Katharina Dalisda vs. Isabela de Padua
- Marek Bartl vs. Selim Topuz
- Jakub Dohnal vs. Callum Mullen
- James Lewis vs. Dominic Schober
Oktagon 42 streams live on DAZN and Oktagon.tv