OKTAGON 51 Co-Main Event Breakdown

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With it getting close to New Year’s Eve, one would surmise that there is not anything going on this weekend in MMA. This would be incorrect. Although the last weekend before 2023 gets sent to the history books is light inside the cage, it won’t be short on excitement.

This year’s world tour of competitive violence takes the sport to Prague in the Czech Republic for a final stop. OKTAGON holds its last event in 2023, OKTAGON 51, from the O2 Arena.

Stateside, live coverage of OKTAGON 51 begins at 12 pm ET/ 9 am PT on DAZN. Barring any late cancellations or postponements ahead of Friday, the final version of OKTAGON 51 will feature a 10-fight card, topped off by a doubleheader of marquee fights.

OKTAGON Interim Middleweight Championship At Stake in OKTAGON 51 Co-Main Event

It all begins with the OKTAGON 51 co-main event of the evening. The promotion will crown a new interim champion at 185 lbs. this weekend. Vlasto Cepo (12-2 MMA, 4-1 OKTAGON) takes on Piotr Wawrzyniak (11-5 MMA, OKTAGON promotional debut.)

Its winner will become the fourth different man to hold the 185-lb. strap in OKTAGON promotional history since the belt was introduced in December of 2020 and will await a fight with permanent champion Patrik Kincl (27-10, 1 NC MMA, 3-0 OKTAGON) at a later date.

Kincl was initially scheduled to fight Cepo for the permanent title on Friday before he withdrew because of an injury. As with all MMA championship fights, this one is advertised to have a maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round.

OKTAGON 51 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into the OKTAGON 51 co-main event on Friday, Vlasto Cepo stands as the taller man at 6-foot-1, compared to the 5-foot-11 frame of Piotr Wawrzyniak. The latter owns a 70.9-inch reach, with no such information accessible for the former at press time.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the oddsmakers have installed Vlasto Cepo as a -225 favorite on the money line, while Piotr Wawrzyniak counters as a +163 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening over the weekend, please wager responsibly.

Vlasto Cepo Still Honing His Craft Ahead of OKTAGON 51 Co-Main Event

Vlasto Cepo enters Friday’s co-main event, having posted a record of 4-1 in his last five MMA fights. At present, he’s on a four-fight winning streak.

Last time out, he scored a first-round knockout (right hook and punches) of Ion Taburceanu (6-2 MMA, 0-1 OKTAGON) on April 29 during OKTAGON 42.

If not for his loyalty to OKTAGON MMA, Vlasto Cepo might have ended 2023 with a UFC contract. Earlier this year, Cepo was considered for a spot on Dana White’s Contender Series. Still, he decided to stick with his current promotion, which came up during an interview with Kaocko. 

“I’m going to get better on my journey, which is going to be a long one,” Cepo said, translated to English. “I’m only 28 years old, and I still have everything to do in MMA. It’s better for me to take one step at a time rather than rushing around, which is why I turned down an offer from the UFC.”

Although he’s waiting to join the sport’s top promotion, his OKTAGON MMA resume speaks for itself. Another stoppage victory in the OKTAGON 51 co-main event on Friday could result in a telephone call from Dana White after the first of the year.

Piotr Wawrzyniak Seeks to Impress During OKTAGON Promotional Debut

In the other corner, Piotr Wawrzyniak has gone 4-1 himself over his last five fights. Much like Vlasto Cepo, he’s also on a four-fight winning streak heading into the OKTAGON 51 co-main event.

Most recently, Wawrzyniak stopped Adrian Bleszynski (11-6-1 MMA) during Babilon MMA 35 on April 21. This win was his fourth straight victory under the Babilon promotional banner since joining the company in May of 2022 and his second against Bleszynski.

Perhaps most impressive about Piotr Wawrzyniak’s current run of form is that he’s won three out of the four fights in his streak by knockout. An old adage comes to mind when thinking about Wawrzyniak’s assignment on Friday in the OKTAGON 51 co-main event: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Will he deliver another spectacular performance here and make good on his first impression with the OKTAGON brass? 

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

This is going to be a good, old-fashioned scrap on Friday in the OKTAGON 51 co-main event. Both guys can bring the pain when the situation calls for it.

Cepo Has Vicious Punches

If you get the chance to look at the videotape of Vlasto Cepo’s past fights, by all means, get out the popcorn. He’s an explosive fighter, a joy to watch, and a guy who can close the show with one shot right on the money. Ion Taburceanu found this out the hard way earlier this year.

During the second round of a scheduled three, upon breaking away from a Taburceanu clinch, Cepo began wildly throwing punches, knocking his opponent down with a fierce right hook. He wasted no time after that, unleashing a burst of ground and pound shots until the referee finally intervened.

Look for Vlasto Cepo to come out swinging in the OKTAGON 51 co-main event.

Piotr Wawrzyniak’s Ground Game Could Tell the Story

In the other corner, Piotr Wawrzyniak is going to utilize his judo prowess to his advantage here, as he did back in 2021 during Babilon MMA 26 vs. Tymoteusz Lopaczyk. Throughout the fight, Wawrzyniak regularly knocked or took him down, advancing on a few submission attempts in the process.

While he didn’t get Lopaczyk to tap out, his control on the mat was more than enough to earn him a decision win after three rounds.

Piotr Wawrzyniak is a man who could live on the ground in an MMA fight if need be. 

Final Thoughts

OKTAGON is serving up a cracking affair for the co-main event this Friday. Whoever wins this contest will have another highlight to add to his resume.

Prediction: Vlasto Cepo by Unanimous Decision.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

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