A spectacular night at Stvanice came to an anticlimactic conclusion as Losene Keita suffered a fight-ending leg injury one minute into his title unification bout with featherweight champ Mate Sanikidze at Oktagon 45 in Prague.
Keita’s quest to capture the unified Oktagon featherweight title came to a premature and unfortunate end on night 2 of the promotion’s double-header as injury forced him out of the night’s main event mere moments after the bout had started.
Keita, who entered the arena as the interim featherweight champion and reigning lightweight champion, was set to challenge reigning featherweight champion Mate Sanikidze for the promotion’s unified 145-pound championship. But, after scoring an early takedown and attempting to get up out of Sanikidze’s guard, the Belgian hopped away in clear agony.
Sanikidze sportingly opted not to take advantage of his injured opponent and instead offered his assistance as the referee waved off the bout just over one minute into the matchup.
It meant the main event bout at Stvanice, Prague, was cut short with a hugely disappointing outcome. Sanikidze retained his 145-pound title seemingly without connecting with a single significant strike, while Keita suffered the first loss of his professional MMA career in the most innocuous of circumstances.
Despite hobbling around the cage during the aftermath of the fight, there was still a happy ending to proceedings as, somehow, Keita managed to drop to one knee to propose to his girlfriend in the cage to propose to his girlfriend. “Black Panther” may have ended the night without a unified featherweight title, but he left the cage with a fiancee, and the well wishes of the packed crowd in attendance.
Vintage Vemola grinds his way to victory
In the co-main event, Oktagon light heavyweight champion Karlos Vemola stuck to his all-too-familiar gameplan as he ground his way to victory over Argentina’s Lucas Alsina in their catchweight non-title fight.
Vemola completely dominated the opening round with the sort of display we’ve seen from him countless times in the past. He closed the distance early, landed a big takedown and dominated from top position. But, despite Vemola landing an early takedown again in Round 2, Alsina flipped the script when he swept the Czech to end up on top as he dished out some punishment of his own.
Undeterred, Vemola went immediately for the takedown at the start of the third and final round, but Alsina stuffed the initial attempt, while also connecting with some short shots to the Czech in the process. Eventually, Vemola’s relentless pursuit of the takedown paid off as he lifted up his man and slammed him down to the canvas. Established in half-guard, Vemola went to work from the top, while his shorts fell down, exposing some UFC-branded underwear.
Despite the partial wardrobe malfunction, Vemola continued to exert his heavy pressure from the top, landing forearms and punches while Alsina attempted to tie up the Czech in the hope of convincing the referee to stand them up. Vemola was wise to it, though, and he postured up and finished the round landing shots before standing up for the final few seconds.
The judges all scored the bout 30-26 to the Czech, who claimed the 35th win of his career, but the fight didn’t seem to go down well with elements of the Stvanice crowd, who booed and jeered Vemola’s performance and cheered the gritty Alsina. But the introduction to the cage of interim light heavyweight champion Pavol Langer changed the atmosphere, as he told the crowd that “The Terminator” deserved their respect, and support. The pair then faced off ahead of a future title unification bout at 205 pounds.
Former double-champ Buchinger makes winning return
Ivan Buchinger returned from a 13-month layoff and ended his injury nightmare with a second-round TKO victory over France’s Abou Tounkara.
Buchinger lost his lightweight title to Losene Keita at Oktagon 33, then suffered injuries to his shoulder and his knee that required surgery on both that put him on the shelf and forced him to relinquish his featherweight title.
It meant the Slovakian returned to action at Stvanice looking to get his career back on track, and he did just that with a strong display against Tounkara, who threatened with solid strikes and a dangerous ground game during their lightweight matchup.
But Buchinger proved to be just too seasoned, too well-rounded, and too tough for Tounkara as he fought through some tough spots during the matchup before eventually finishing his man with heavy ground strikes to announce his return to the fray after a year away.
Skvor surprises Hajdarpasic with front choke finish
Czech light heavyweight Daniel “Dee Dee” Skvor pulled something of a surprise in his 205-pound clash with Sweden’s Nermin Hajdarpasic as he snatched up his opponent’s neck to claim his first career submission, and in the process hand the Swede his first career submission defeat.
The bout was expected to see the pair trade strikes, but, as Hajdarpasic moved in, looking for a takedown, Skvor grabbed his his neck and tightened up a guillotine choke that left Hajdarpasic unable to escape. It gave Skvor – who came into the bout on a two-fight skid – a huge win and put him back in the mix in a crowded Oktagon 205-pound division.
Todev swaps strikes for submissions to stun Carvalho
Two heavyweight sluggers went head to head in a pivotal clash for the promotion’s top division, and the No. 2-ranked contender Lazar Todev showed that he has more skills in his locker than just striking as he forced a swift submission from Brazil’s Wallyson Carvalho in the final seconds of the first round of their main card clash.
Both men looked to throw heavy hands early, but the matchup swung decisively in Todev’s favor as he landed some heavy ground and pound, then locked up a straight ankle lock to force an instant tap from the Brazilian with just three seconds left in the fight.
The victory strengthened the Bulgarian’s claims for a shot at the Oktagon heavyweight title, and a potential battle with No. 1 contender Hatef Moeil for the vacant strap later this year.
Siroky upsets Petrasek with second-round finish
Oktagon veteran Jan Siroky marked the occasion of his ninth appearance for the promotion with arguably his biggest victory to date as he stopped lightweight contender Ondrej Petrasek via second-round TKO.
Siroky was in Petrasek’s face from the very start, and never gave the 7-1 lightweight contender a moment’s rest as he pushed a relentless pace through the first and second rounds. Eventually, Siroky, whose career record is a mixed one, proved to be just too hard to handle for Petrasek as he took his man to the mat, got the better of the scrambles and, eventually finished him with heavy ground and pound to pick up the 13th win of his 28-fight career.
‘The Jedi’ and Jaffa Cakes
The preliminary card saw the eagerly-anticipated promotional debut of English lightweight Akonne “Jedi” Wanliss, who delivered the goods in his first Oktagon, then called for a future title fight with lightweight king Losene Keita.
Wanliss emerged from the locker room in an all-black Jedi robe, carrying a light saber, before sprinting to the prep point for his Oktagon debut. Once the action got underway, Wanliss showcased some slick striking, but had to smartly defend off his back after a slip during a head-kick attempt gave his opponent Giorgi Gogotchuri the chance to attack from top position.
But Wanliss eventually found his way back to his feet and, after finding his range, dropped Gogotchuri with a big right hand, then finished his man with follow-up elbows before celebrating on top of the cage with a packet of his favorite snack, Jaffa Cakes.
After his victory, Wanliss thanked the Prague crowd, then said his intention was to eventually take on Losene Keita for the lightweight title.
“I’m here for one thing. I want to be the champ, so I’m hunting for that champion. I want Keita,” he told commentator Bryan Lacey after his win.
“Wherever Keita is. If he wants to defend that lightweight belt. One by one, I will take them out, and I will be champion, mark my words!”
Oktagon 45: Night 2 results
- Mate Sanikidze def. Losene Keita via TKO (injury) – Round 1, 1:07 – for featherweight title
- Karlos Vemola def. Lucas Alsina via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Ivan Buchinger def. Abou Tounkara via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:46
- Daniel Skvor def. Nermin Hajdarpasic via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:41
- Lazar Todev def. Wallyson Carvalho via submission (straight ankle lock) – Round 1, 4:57
- Jan Siroky def. Ondrej Petrasek via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:06
- Eduard Kexel def. Michal Jancuska via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Akonne Wanliss def. Giorgi Gogotchuri via TKO (elbows) – Round 1, 2:07
- Roman Paulus def. Callum Mullen via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
- Vladislav Kanchev def. James Lewis via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:54
- Nikolaos Serbezis def. Ivan Klevets via verbal submission (armbar) – Round 2, 4:13