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OKTAGON 53: Tough finishes, three Czech losses out of five games and refereeing mistakes. A look at the tournament’s highlights

After a stop in Newcastle, the Octagon showed up in Oberhausen, Germany for the second time in its history. We saw one title fight and several Czech fighters were in action. What did the OKTAGON 53 gala look like?



After a stop in Newcastle, the Oktagon showed up in Oberhausen, Germany for the second time in its history. We saw one title fight, and several Czech fighters were also in action. What did the OKTAGON 53 gala look like?

OKTAGON 53 Prelims

Debutant fights in favour of the Germans

Right at the start of the OKTAGON 53 gala two debutants fought. Sami Zarabi (3-1) and Jakub Batfalsky (3-0) entered their first duel in the organization. The Czech talent has experience from RFA, he was looking forward to the first league in MMA, so he got it. He went into the fight as the favorite. But he didn’t confirm the role.

The first round was still fairly even, but the German was tougher, more accurate. He controlled the fight on the ground. In the second and third round he was even more dominant, it was clear that Batfalski was running out of breath and it didn’t look like a great finish from the Czech youngster.

Unfortunately, he lost on points. At the age of 21 he has his first ever loss. But he has nothing to be ashamed of. He tried hard the whole fight and never once looked discouraged. Definitely an interesting prospect for the future. Of course, that goes for Zarabi, who gave a very good performance.

The Oktagon also offered a duel of debutants in the second match of the gala. This time, the German Emir-Can Al and the Slovak Tomas Votava made their first ever professional starts. The home fighter was the favourite and lived up to his role. He dominated from the beginning, hitting hard punches.

It seemed to be only a matter of time before the match was over. Votava had no easy position. And indeed the finish came. Al delivered the knockout at 1:49. First, he got the Slovakian’s chin down with a precision shot, where he went on to get his first win. But the last punches were very unnecessary and the referee was blamed by fans on social media.

The continuation of the Czech bad luck

The reputation of Czechoslovak MMA could have been repaired in the third fight by Jan Fajk (4-0). The undefeated Czech came in as the favorite against German Oktagon Challenge participant Endrit Brajshori (2-1). It was supposed to be a nowadays little-seen duel of two styles.

Brajshori is more or less an orthodox stand-up fighter, while Fajk is mostly an orthodox groundskeeper. The duel looked like this. The fighter with Kosovar roots had prepared himself well for this one, showing excellent defense against takedowns in the bout, and once the duel was in the stance, he clearly had the upper hand.

The Czech was content to just tie up and pull on the canvas. He didn’t deliver any ground control, and the takedowns didn’t work. In the second round, moreover, Brajshori was able to set up a guillotine right out of the gate and forced Faik to tap out. Excellent performance, first surprise.

Later Jaroslav Pokorný (16-10) went to represent the Czech colours and faced a tough challenge. Gjoni Palokaj (7-3), who was perceived as a slight favourite, fought for Germany. The duel was very even, delivered a lot of wrestling, pulling on the net, we didn’t see too many exchanges in the stance.

But it didn’t hurt the attractiveness of the duel. The constant action made up for the beauty of the stand-up exchanges. Pokorny still got the first round for himself, two judges saw him win. But then Palokaj began to have the upper hand, dominating the second and third rounds.

In the third, however, he dominated only at the very end. He was able to hit Jubox, inflicting damage and although the Czech had a slight advantage for most of the round, the German took it for himself thanks to a crushing finish and deservedly won on points 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Malach turned the Czech’s reputation around

Jan Malach(15-14) was the fourth Czech to make an appearance at OKTAGON 53. Three of his compatriots before him had to bite defeat and he wanted to break the Czech jinx. However, he was not in an easy situation. Shortly before the match his opponent got injured and a replacement had to be found.

That was done. At the last moment the undefeated Luka Milidragovic (3-0) accepted the duel. He, according to his own words, got the offer when he was at the party. Nevertheless, he believed that he was in no danger from the King of the North and that he would go for the win.

Things looked promising for the Croatian in the first round. He was more dangerous in his stance, he kicked hard, and he tested the Czech fighter’s ribs in particular. Moreover, he dominated on the ground as well. It was expected that it was through the ground that his way to victory would lead.

But in the second round Malach took the initiative in all aspects and went for the victory. He broke Milidragovic with hard punches and won by TKO.

Main card OKTAGON 53

Seasoned Croatian punishes rude German

One more day before the gala evening, a duel that may not have interested so many people. But after Friday’s press conference, that changed dramatically. Cihad Akipa (6-1) and Ivica Truscek (42-39) actually got into it verbally, and there was even a scuffle during the staredown, during which one of the organization’s bosses took a bombshell.

The reason was that the Croat had retweeted an Instagram comment in which someone was picking on the German’s family. A heated battle was expected and we saw it. The fighters didn’t even high five each other when they entered the cage. They got right down to business.

Trušček had the upper hand from the start, taking Akipa into the deep waters of wrestling. It was more or less a one-sided affair. Not that attractive, but perfectly tactical. At least on the Croatian’s part.

In the second round, Akipa managed to land a great roundkick early on, only for Trušček to land one good left right on the chin, then take the fight to the ground, where he put his opponent to sleep with a successful guillotine. It should be noted that the referee did not handle the situation and intervened too late.

Trušček even had to point out to the referee that Akipa was already out. After the fight both fighters sorted everything out, the Croat apologized, the German applauded him at the end. That’s exactly how it should be.

It’s no surprise then that the referee was once again criticized on social media.

The Oktagon made a spectacular comeback

Hojat Khajevand (7-3) is still a bit of an underrated fighter throughout the organization, but as the promoters themselves admit, several middleweight stars didn’t want to fight him. However, returnee David Zawada (18-9), a veteran of the UFC or PFL, has accepted a fight with him.

Oberhausen thus watched an interesting battle. In the first round, it was Khajevand, who was perceived as the underdog, who had a fairly clear advantage. Great wrestling, good offensive stand-up. It looked like Zawada was in for a very tough fight.

And indeed it was. The second round was more evenly matched, played entirely in the stand-up, but would that have helped David significantly? He kicked well, but boxing combinations were better handled by Hojat, who also won the second five minutes with the judges for himself.

So the third round had a clear plot. If Zawada wanted to win, he had to stop the fight. And he went into it accordingly. First he took Khajevand apart in the standup, then he took him to the ground and dominated. In the last minute, however, his opponent was able to get out of his unfavorable position and appeared to survive.

However, Khajevand made one mistake, which Zawada punished. He grabbed a heelhook and Hojat verbally gave up, the referee stopped the fight and the big turnaround was on. After the important win, David challenged Matej Peñáz, who will be the replacement for the title fight Kincl vs Wawrzyniak in a month.

Miroslav Brož won a close points victory

The last Czech representative on the card Miroslav Brož (16-3) took on Tom Crosby (8-3). He entered the fight as a big favourite, his opponent was very much in doubt. If only because of all the opponents he has beaten.

The three-round battle came down to points. Inquisitor won on a split decision, but he didn’t feel like a winner himself. And what was there to see? Tough stand-up shootouts, indestructible chins, but also a bit of wrestling or good ground control by Crosby.

Both fighters earned the applause of the whole hall for a great fight. Well deserved. And Brož called for one last big fight.

Islam Dulatov made a crazy takedown

While Ioannis Palaiologos (20-12-1) has already earned his respect in the organization by defeating Christian Jungwirth, for example, Islam Dulatov (9-1) had a big debut in front of him.

But it can’t be said that he has succeeded. Dulatov confirmed that he is not a star in Germany for nothing. He dominated from the start. He came close to finishing in the first minute, but Palaiologos saved a shot to the groin.

As the battle resumed, it became more and more hell for the Greek. Islam was destroying him standing and on the ground. Handing out hard shots, Palaiologos had his work cut out for him to survive at least the rest of the first round. But he didn’t last.

With a few seconds left, the fight was stopped and Dulatov proved he was a welterweight to be reckoned with.

Dalisda the most successful fighter in the history of the Oktagon

In the main event, champion Katharina Dalisda (10-3) and challenger Eva Dourthe (8-5) faced off for the title. It was a rematch. They had their first fight together before they entered the Oktagon, and the German won on points.

After that, however, she began her tenure in the Czechoslovakian organization. The Frenchwoman claimed her title shot with a win over Chiara Penco, who for a change had beaten Dalisda under the Bellator banner in the past.

In an interview with Ruik gave before the tournament, Katharina Dalisda was very confident. She promised a third round finish and with it, therefore, a successful title defence. She wanted to confirm her words.

Dalisda really dominated the first two rounds. She had the upper hand in all aspects. However, in the third round it seemed that Dourthe was beginning to find a recipe to trouble and maybe even defeat the German. Her kicks in particular played a big role, and the champion didn’t like them.

In the fourth round, Dourthe again did more than solid and immediately leveled the match according to two judges. The last round went to the score 38-38, 38-38 and 39-37 in Dalisda’s favour. The German handled that tactically perfectly.

For the first time ever she managed to get the Frenchwoman to the ground where she was able to control the duel and won it for herself with absolute ease. This means a victory, a successful defence and a place in history as the most successful female fighter in the history of the organisation.

Source: Oktagon MMA, Instagram