Team Ireland evened things up and tempers continued to rise on an extremely eventful week two of Oktagon Challenge: England vs. Ireland.

Following their victory in the opening week of the show, Team England got to select which two athletes would face off against each other in the second bout of the season. They called for Team England’s slick submission artist Jake McHugh to face the vastly more experienced Armand Herczeg from Team Ireland.

Previewing the bout, it became apparent that a vast majority of both teams felt it was very much a “grappler vs. striker” contest, with the matchup favoring McHugh if he could get the bout to the floor, while Herczeg would have the edge if he could keep the bout on the feet.

Eleven seconds into the first round, McHugh shot in for his first takedown attempt. During the entry, Herczeg managed to catch the Team England man’s neck, lock in a guillotine and immediately dropped to the mat in order to try and get the perfect angle to finish the choke.

McHugh remained calm as the two scrambled for position, with Herczeg keeping a tight hold of the guillotine. Herczeg got the best of the scramble and managed to find his perfect angle before throwing his leg over McHugh’s back and really cinching in the choke.

Just 34 seconds into round one it was all over. McHugh was rendered unconscious by the choke and Herczeg picked up a surprisingly quick and dominant victory. With that, the series is now tied at 1-1 going into the third week.

Outside of the cage, the ever-developing storyline between Team Ireland’s Denis Frimpong and Hascen Neri Gelezi continued to heat up. After seemingly shaking hands and agreeing they would face each other next, Frimpong was left aghast when Team England coach Brad Pickett announced McHugh vs. Herczeg. This led to Frimpong immediately confronting Gelezi, leading to a back-and-forth between the pair. The two then went forehead to forehead after Team England’s training session, with Frimpong calling out the shape of his English counterpart and calling him a quitter.

Away from the fighting and training, this week’s team challenge saw the competitors have to pull on their creative skills, designing a wall mural that represented the theme of “love.” Having a former fine art student within their ranks, Team England left the initial concept to McHugh whilst team Ireland went for a more collective approach.

The four coaches turned judges and each had one vote to decide the winning team. Although not knowing which team had produced which piece of “art,” the coaches all sided with their respective teams, leaving it to world-renowned Slovakian graffiti artist, DAOR to cast the deciding vote – which went to Team England.

Following their victory in last week’s challenge, Team England were treated to a flying experience, with their pilots being no other than Oktagon owners, Ondrej Novotny and Pavol Neruda.

Going into week three, the Irish appear to be continuing with their mind games and, judging by the trailer, appear to leave a “memorial” for McHugh following his loss. But thanks to their team challenge victory, Team England have the pick for the fight, so could we eventually see Frimpong and Gelezi meet in the cage? 

By Jake Smith