Following his antics all series, Denis “The Menace” Frimpong had to back it up in the cage on this week’s episode of Oktagon Challenge: England vs. Ireland. And he did just that, as he delivered the knockout of the series so far.
As coined by presenter and Oktagon commentator Bryan Lacey as the “People’s main event,” viewers were eventually treated to the long-awaited matchup between Frimpong and Hascen “Morning Breakfast” Neri Gelezi. From the very first episode, the two have been going back and forth, with their simmering rivalry culminating in the final bout of the quarter-final round.
It was evident that, as the visibly shorter man, Gelezi wanted to eradicate any reach advantage Frimpong may have by closing the distance and getting the fight up against the cage. He secured a takedown one minute into the bout but, keeping active on the bottom, Team Ireland’s Frimpong made the most of his disadvantageous position and eventually worked his way back to his feet with half the round still to go.
The rest of the opening round saw the two landing clean, with ‘The Menace’ continuing his antics in the cage – trying to infuriate his Team England counterpart. In a tightly contested first round Team England coach Brad Pickett believed his man had done enough to take the round.
Frimpong opened the second round keeping the fight at range and when Neri Gelezi inevitably looked for the takedown, the 28-year-old was more than ready and countered with some cage control of his own, landing shoulder strikes and leaving a cut above left eye of “Morning Breakfast.”
As they separated following a small battle against the fence, Frimpong fired off a four-punch combination followed by a head kick that sent a bloodied Gelezi crashing to the mat. With that, Frimpong secured his spot in the semi-final.
Fighting can provide the highest of highs but also, the lowest of lows, and that certainly applied to Team England’s George Staines.
After delivering the stand-out performance of the series, Staines appeared to have sustained a minor bleed on the brain. This makes it highly unlikely he will be able to progress in the series, but fans will be left waiting until next week’s episode to get official confirmation of his future in the competition.
The challenge segment of the episode saw the teams take to the rapids in a kayaking event. It was a flat-out time trial race from Point A to Point B. For the first time in the series, we saw the coaches take part in the challenge, with Akonne Wanliss joining Team England fighters, Jake, Beau, and Hacier, while Paddy Holohan joined Team Ireland charges Dennis, Armand, and Aaron.
In another series first, Ireland took their maiden challenge victory by beating Team England by just under three seconds.
Back at the house, the Irish continued with their practical jokes. This week, that involved lighting a bunch of pop caps outside of the bedroom of Beau Gavin and Gelezi, followed by firing water balloons at Hacan for a solid duration of the night.
Going into the semi-finals, Team England and Team Ireland stand at two wins apiece. As explained at the start of each episode, if the quarter-finals finish with the score standing at 2-2, then all four of those winners will progress, but we are yet to see the result of Staines’ scan and therefore don’t yet know whether he will be able to continue in the competition.
By Jake Smith