Eight German MMA stars will take to the cage in Cologne as European promotion Oktagon MMA returns to Germany for Oktagon 49.
The 20,000-seat Lanxess Arena is expected to be close to capacity for the event, as Germany’s own Hatef Moeil challenges for the vacant heavyweight title in the headline bout of the night.
Thirty-six-year-old Moeil is in outstanding form, and carries a 10-fight win streak into the main event, where he’ll take on Bulgarian powerhouse Lazar Todev. “The Boss” is 3-0 under the Oktagon banner with TKO finishes of Kerisson Leal and Jeremy Kimball and a unanimous decision win over Wallyson Carvalho positioning him for a shot at the vacant title on home soil.
He’ll be facing dangerous striker Todev, whose power striking has seen him blast his way into title contention with a pair of eye-catching performances since joining the Oktagon roster this year.
Todev’s promotional debut saw him become only the second man to defeat Polish contender Adam Palasz, and the Bulgarian followed up with a straight ankle lock submission of the aforementioned Carvalho to beat the buzzer at the end of the first round and claim his first career submission victory.
The co-main event will feature arguably the biggest German star on the Oktagon roster. Former professional soccer player Christian Eckerlin has captured the imagination of German fight fans, and the 15-5 welterweight will face the toughest test of his career when he takes on Brazil’s 39-fight veteran, former welterweight title challenger Leandro “Apollo” Silva.
Eckerlin is undefeated since 2017, with eight wins and one no contest to his name in an impressive six-year run of form. That no contest against Brazil’s Denilson Neves at Oktagon 33, but Eckerlin ensured there was no doubt in the immediate rematch at Oktagon 36 as he submitted his man in the third round.
Planned bouts with Melvin van Suijdam and Tato Primera both fell by the wayside, but now the No. 12-ranked contender is set to return home to feature in his hometown against the welterweight division’s No. 3 contender, Silva, who holds Oktagon victories over fellow contenders Alex Lohore, Bojan Velickovic, and Mohamed Grabinski, while also pushing divisional powerhouse Andreas Michailidis and former longtime champion David Kozma the distance in competitive showings.
Silva loves nothing more than to entertain the crowd, but in a bout against Germany’s golden boy, “Apollo” will have to relish the role of spoiler as he bids to earn another shot at the welterweight title in 2024.
Also set for action in Cologne is Kerim Engizek, whose powerful striking arsenal saw him make an instant impact on his promotional debut at Oktagon 46 in September, when he knocked out Matias Juarez with a jab to put the rest of the middleweight division on notice.
Immediately installed as the No. 4 contender at 185 pounds, Engizek will look to solidify his status as one of the top contenders at middleweight with victory over fellow top 10 contender Ahmed Sami, who also claimed a first-round knockout on his promotional debut at Oktagon 47 in October. His finish of Adam Horvath earned him the No. 9 spot in the new middleweight rankings, and he’ll be looking to move up that list with victory over the fancied Engizek on Saturday night.
The fight card will also feature a pair of Germany vs. England matchups, as the traditional sporting rivalry between the two nations extends to the Oktagon cage.
Undefeated Deniz Ilbay will take on debuting Corey Fry in a battle of featherweights, while another unbeaten German prospect, middleweight Cihad Akipa, will welcome former Cage Warriors middleweight champion Matt Bonner to Oktagon in the main card opener.
The prelims will also feature one of the stars of Oktagon Challenge: England vs. Ireland, as England’s Jake McHugh makes his full Oktagon debut against Ukrainian Ivan Klevets with both men looking to claim their first professional win.
Oktagon 49: Full fight card
- Hatef Moeil vs. Lazar Rodev – for vacant heavyweight title
- Christian Eckerlin vs. Leandro Silva
- Kerim Engizek vs. Ahmed Sami
- Deniz Ilbay vs. Corey Fry
- Andrej Kalasnik vs. Niklas Stolze
- Cihad Akipa vs. Matt Bonner
- Konrad Dyrschka vs. Thiago Silva
- Jorick Montagnac vs. Steve MacDonald
- Roman Paulus vs. Arijan Topallaj
- Ivan Klevets vs. Jake McHugh
- Finn Griessmann vs. Lukas Elias