Oktagon lightweight champion Losene Keita added the promotion’s interim featherweight title to his collection as he became a simultaneous two-division champion at Oktagon 42 in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Keita faced off against featherweight contender Jakub Tichota in the main event at the Zimny Stadion, and the Belgian wasted no time in letting his shots go as he hammered Tichota through three rounds before eventually finishing his man in the fourth.
Tichota exhibited remarkable toughness during the bout as he was dropped on multiple occasions in every round. But, with Keita not willing to follow the Czech to the canvas, the referee waved Tichota back to his feet on each occasion.
It meant that potential openings for an early stoppage came and went as Keita opted to keep things standing and win the fight on his feet. And, after battering Tichota with vicious strikes through more than three and a half rounds, he finally forced the referee’s intervention at the 3:53 mark in Round 4.
Cepo blasts his way to dramatic finish
In the co-main event, fan-favorite “El Chapo” Vlasto Cepo had to run the gauntlet to do it, but the Slovakian middleweight warrior produced an incredible flurry in the second round to finish Moldovan contender Ion Taburceanu.
Taburceanu started well and, had the clear edge over the local hero, who was bloodied up and looking short of options as the bout went into the second round.
But, after weathering the storm, and with the crowd on his side, Cepo dug deep and came storming back after the restart to claim a stunning comeback win as he dropped his man with a big right hand, then hammered him with relentless ground strikes until the referee stepped in to wave off the fight at the 1:54 mark.
As a cut and exhausted Cepo visited with Oktagon co-owner and announcer Ondrej Novotny, the crowd launched into a chant of “Cepo! Cepo!” as they hailed their hero.
Rysavy strikes his way to decision win
The main card also saw Czech Republic take on Slovakia in an entertaining lightweight scrap as Matous Kohout and Karol Rysavy fought all the way to the judges’ scorecards after three action-packed rounds.
Both men had their successes, but it was Kohout who appeared to be wearing more damage by the fight’s conclusion, with a nasty cut above his right eye leaking blood down his face through the latter part of the fight, the result of Rysavy picking off the Czech as he looked to push forward.
And it was Rysavy’s superior striking that proved decisive In the end, with the judges scoring the bout 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28 to improve his record to 8-2, with five wins from his last six outings.
‘Grizzly’ mauls ‘The Viking’
American heavyweight Jeremy Kimball put his heavy hands to good use against Germany’s Ruben Wolf as he claimed an impressive stoppage win in their main card showcase.
Both men looked to throw heavy leather early, but it was Kimball who hit the target first with a big right hand dropping Wolf, who scrambled back to his feet, but looked troubled from the moment onward.
Kimball kept up his controlled forward pressure and landed with big shots, and even threw in a jumping knee to draw gasps from the Bratislava crowd. And with a nasty leg kick putting Wolf on unsteady footing, Kimball kept up the pressure to leave Wolf in a bad way as he limped back to the corner.
Wolf emerged for the second round looking decidedly wary, and Kimball immediately set to work, popping the German with a nice jab, followed by a leg kick and a question-mark kick as he let his strikes go with confidence.
Wolf seemingly had no answer to Kimball’s constant attacks, and with the German’s spirit looking broken, Kimball applied the finishing touches. A diving straight right connected hard to the face of Wolf, who stepped backward in clear pain. A few more big punches were enough to force the referee to step in, wave off the fight and give Kimball a hugely impressive TKO victory.
Then, in his post-fight interview, Kimball announced his plan to drop to light heavyweight for the next chapter of his career with Oktagon.
Rock and Lima battle to majority draw
Liverpool’s Shem Rock and short-notice Brazilian opponent Arthur Lima battled all the way to the judges’ scorecards in a back-and-forth affair spent largely on the mat.
Rock was forced onto the back foot throughout the first round as Lima came out strongly in the opening frame and threatened to finish the Scouser inside the first five minutes.
A flying triangle choke appeared to have Rock in big trouble. But, despite looking completely trapped, Rock stayed composed and eventually worked his way free to big cheers from the Bratislava crowd. Lima then tried to lock up a kneebar, then a heel hook as he went all-out for the first-round finish, but Rock showed his defensive smarts as he escaped each predicament without fuss.
Rock then went on the offensive in Round 2 and held sway through another grapple-heavy round. An early takedown from Rock set the stage for a round spent almost entirely on the mat, with the Liverpudlian dominating top position while Lima tried to fend off Rock with an active guard and a few elbows off his back.
It meant that the third round would be crucial to the final result of the bout, and it was Rock who pushed the pace once again in a round that looked very similar to the second. Once again, it was Rock who held the positional advantage as the bout went all the way to the scorecards.
When the scorecards were totalled, two judges gave Lima a 10-8 in the first round, against two rounds for Rock for scores of 28-28, while the third judge opted not to award Lima a 10-8 in Round 1, but instead also gave the Brazilian Round 3 for a 29-28 scorecards. It meant that the bout was scored a majority draw, with neither man looking overly impressed with the official verdict.
Lima called for another opportunity, while Rock praised the Brazilian for stepping up on short notice, and calling for the pair to run it back in the future.
Samsonidse completes comeback with dominant win
The main card kicked off with a dominant performance by the returning Niko Samsonidse, who returned from a two-year layoff and dominated Roman Paulus to claim an impressive victory on his Oktagon MMA debut.
The German featherweight suffered a double leg break in his previous outing in Germany back in 2021 when his opponent checked a leg kick and shattered both bones in Samsonidse’s lower leg.
Complications in his recovery pushed back a potential return, but eventually he fought his way back to full fitness and signed for Oktagon MMA. And, after a turbulent path back to the cage, he was understandably emotional as he claimed a shutout win on the scorecards to announce his arrival as a serious new contender in the promotion’s 145-pound division.
Oktagon 42: Official results
- Losene Keita def. Jakub Tichota via TKO (punches) – Round 4, 3:53 – for interim featherweight title
- Vlasto Cepo def. Ion Taburceanu via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:54
- Karol Rysavy def. Matous Kohout via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Jeremy Kimball def. Ruben Wolf via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:05
- Shem Rock vs. Arthur Lima ruled a majority draw (28-28, 29-28, 28-28)
- Niko Samsonidse def Roman Paulus via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Stuart Austin def. John Winter via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Katharina Dalisda def. Isabela be Padua via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 4:42
- Jakub Dohnal def. Callum Mullen via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Marek Bartl def. Selim Topuz via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-28, 29-28