The battle for Vemola and the interim welterweight title. Pavol Langer and Alexander Poppeck have the biggest fight of their careers so far. Especially in the case of the Slovakian fighter it is a big surprise. What is their story and how do they perceive this opportunity?
After a tough loss, Vemola is looking for a challenger
Karlos Vémola has not had an easy few months. A serious injury, a long layoff by his standards and on top of that a tough loss to rival Patrik Kincl. In addition, he is constantly dragged by the tabloids because of various cases concerning his personal life.
It is his health that continues to limit him. But he wants to recover from the loss as soon as possible and is looking for new and further motivation to continue. He needs to recover his appetite. He has already rejected dropping down to middleweight, however, he is still the welterweight champion and is now just waiting for an opponent.
The rematch with Attila Vegh should take place before the end of this year, but before that he will have to defend his title at least. The challenger’s title will be up for grabs on June 17 in Oberhausen.
For a long time Rafael Xavier wanted to fight Vémolá, but he was defeated and the Slovakian can rejoice instead. Pavol Langer will fight for the title, a man many people probably wouldn’t have expected. His opponent will be the dangerous Alexander Poppeck.
Langer has sensationally claimed a title shot
Bland, quiet, but dangerous. He doesn’t do trash talk, he doesn’t wrestle extremely often, but he’ll take any challenge, he won’t shy away from anything. He’s proof that you can go far without the hype around you. Even if few people expected it.
He started his professional career in 2013, in his first fight he was defeated by Makhmud Muradov. He’s been in the Octagon since the beginning of the organization. He was defeated by Michal Kotalik in the first Oktagon tournament.
Until recently, he had two straight defeats in the Octagon, when he was stepped on by Jorick Montagnac and Daniel Shkvor, fighters who were much more talked about in the context of the title fight. Pavol Langer was never actually mentioned in the title discussions.
However, after two losses he made up for it by winning the East PRO Fight, then he was supposed to have a duel with Milos Petrasek in February in Munich, but the Czech fighter got injured. Instead, he accepted a fight with Rafael Xavier, one of the biggest stars of the welterweight division.
As mentioned, he beat Xavier on points in a three-round split decision. He improved his record to 11-9, 4-3 in the Octagon, and sensationally claimed the title. Even though he was the underdog according to the fans and the bookmakers’ odds.
Huge opportunity to prove something, Langer says
Promoter Ondrej Novotny used the comparison to Cinderella when announcing that Pavol Langer will fight for the interim title. After all, this is a fairytale story and the humble attitude of the Slovak fighter fits it.
“The opportunity to have a title fight is a huge chance for me and a chance to prove something. When people talk about this fight as a battle for Vemola, it’s just an extra motivation,” Langer expressed to Ruik.
And how does he actually perceive Karlos? “He is one of the most prominent figures on the domestic scene. Whether it be through his career in England, later joining the UFC and then being on the domestic scene. The fight with Patrik Kinclo showed that there’s a guy for every guy. I have a lot of respect for the way Patrik was able to prepare,” says the Slovakian fighter.
But now his primary focus is on his fight with Alexander Poppeck: “ I’m not going to distract my concentration with something I don’t have firmly in my hands.”
Of course, with a title fight, even if it’s only an “interim” one, comes pressure. “I especially feel the pressure I put on myself. It’s not an opportunity you just get, so the preparation is special.”
The duel will take place on German soil in Oberhausen, where his opponent will have a home environment. “Personally, I don’t mind. In fact, I might even be happier for it. I’m comfortable with the role of the underdog. I don’t perceive the crowd during the match to such an extent that it affects my performance,” Langer said.
The seasoned Poppeck has destroyed his opponents so far
Alexander Poppeck is a slightly different type of personality and a different type of fighter compared to his opponent. He is definitely not subtle, definitely not quiet. But they do have one thing in common. They’re dangerous.
The German fighter boasts a record of 16-4. In his career, he has succumbed to the likes of current UFC welterweight champion Jamahal Hill on Dana White’s Contender Series, UFC fighter Dusko Todorovic, Bellator veteran and current PFL fighter Taylor Johnson, and former PFL star Rob Wilkinson.
The Viking, who is nicknamed Ironside after a character from the Vikings series, has yet to lose in the Octagon. He had his first fight there in September 2020 when he defeated Csaba Hocz. After that, however, he tried wrestling elsewhere, winning a title in the German USC organization, for example.
But he came back in 2022 and finished Nermin Haydarpasic, and in February he took a bloodbath in the cage when he absolutely destroyed Martin Zawada in a three-round battle. Of his 16 wins, 10 of them came by KO/TKO.
So compared to Langer, Poppeck has a much more varied resume and isn’t afraid to voice his ambitions out loud. But he’s not expecting anything easy. Langer will have the upper hand through physical parameters and should be more dangerous on the ground as well.
The title fight means everything to me, Poppeck admits
Alexander Poppeck already knows what it’s like to fight for a title. However, this time it will be different. “This opportunity means everything to me. I see the Octagon as the biggest organization in Europe,” he expressed to Ruik.
“Twelve years of hard work have brought me here. I will reward myself on this great journey by winning a title. I don’t feel any more pressure compared to other fights. As always, I am going to win the fight. I think having the crowd behind me will give me an edge. It will push me to perform better,” he added.
And what does he think of Karlos Vemola? “He’s a pure wrestler with zero striking. I’m not interested in him at the moment. My main focus is on the fight on June 17. After that I will start figuring out how to beat Vemola,” Poppeck concluded the topic.
Source:: Ruik, Oktagon MMA, Tapology
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