Shem Rock plans on slaying some demons from his past when he takes on Czech police officer Jaroslav Pokorny at Oktagon 48 in Manchester.
Lightweight contender Rock, who spent years on the run from the police for a crime he didn’t commit, is now looking to make a run to championship glory in Oktagon MMA, and faces a battle with an officer of the law once again. This time, however, he plans to be on the one doing the chasing.
“Manchester’s AO Arena is going to be full of scousers on November 4, the place is going to be rocking,” he told Oktagon MMA.
“It’s going to be a hometown fight for me because whether you’re from Liverpool, Manchester or London, there’s no way that you’re supporting some police officer from the Czech Republic over me.”
Rock explained how he has had a turbulent relationship with the authorities, and how he sees this fight as a way to help gain a degree of payback against an institution that plagued the early years of his adult life.
“I was on the run for ten years and I could not come home and see my family. I’ve been through it all with the police,” he explained.
“Until I got a not guilty verdict, I had not won a single battle with them and this fight will be my next one. This is redemption. It’s just like Mean Machine and I’m coming like Vinny Jones.”
Rock has brought his larger-than-life personality to Czech-Slovak promotion Oktagon MMA and has made an immediate impact. Now highlighted as one of the promotion’s new stars, Rock knows that all eyes will be on him when he takes on Pokorny on November 4, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The pressure will be on me and that’s what I want,” he said.
“I want the pressure. I want the nerves. I want to be the main event – I want this to be ‘The Shem Show.’ I want to go out there and finish this guy in the first round.”
Rock is determined to deliver a huge performance as he faces Pokorny on home soil. And, as he assessed his opponent’s game, Rock suggested that he has all bases covered ahead of the matchup.
“I just look at his skillset and think ‘What’s his A game?’ I do it better. ‘What’s his B game?’ I do it better. He might try and chin me in the opening exchanges but he’s too short and too small. I’m too big and I’m too strong. My striking is too good. I’m a better wrestler. I’ve got much better jiu-jitsu. I’m just going to run through him.”
Rock was also fulsome in his praise of Oktagon as a promotion, with the organization making huge strides over the last 12 months to earn a nomination for Promotion of the Year in Fighters Only’s World MMA Awards.
“If I was a fan I would go and watch this before I’d go and watch UFC, this is a no-brainer,” he said.
“Oktagon MMA is great at telling the fighters’ stories. How many shows do you watch and you don’t know who either fighter is? You don’t get that with Oktagon MMA. You’ll always know the guy’s background and story and that grows on you.
“They are going to start picking all the top lads up in the UK and – no disrespect to any other promotion out there – but the fighters are getting paid. Some of these other shows are big, but you’re still not getting paid. If you’re on one of those shows, and you ain’t getting paid, I’d be looking to jump ship.
“Oktagon MMA are coming in and selling out 22,000 seater stadiums, so you’re going to have more eyes on you than you’ve ever had in your career. And now you’re getting paid. It’s a no-brainer. The grass is greener over here.”