Oktagon 58 One of 2024’s Best Shows

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In a word: Awesome. That’s the summation of Saturday’s Oktagon 58. If you weren’t logged onto DAZN to watch the event inside the United States, here are a pair of questions:

Just where were you this weekend and what were you doing? Unless you had a prior engagement preventing you from watching the show, such as leaving town for an anticipated vacation or attending a friend’s wedding, you missed a cracking affair. If, by chance, you happened to miss the MMA event as it happened live on DAZN as it happened, the card is archived for on-demand streaming as we speak.

On a day where the UFC headed to Louisville for another Fight Night card, Oktagon 58 had more or less the entire afternoon to itself as far as combat sports were concerned, with the only other competition being Glory Kickboxing’s one-night tournament in Rotterdam at light heavyweight.

Weather Holds Up For Good Night of Fights

As someone who’s only been watching Oktagon cards for about six months now, the notion that Oktagon 58 was going to be an outdoor stadium show was worrisome. Holding outdoor cards in the spring and summer months carries with it an inherent risk: Inclement weather.

Rain has been known to cause havoc to summer MMA events in the past. Back in 2017, the inaugural showcase event from the PFL after its rebrand from the World Series of Fighting was held at the Daytona International Speedway with the cage positioned at the race track’s infield.

What was supposed to happen after a NASCAR race ended up being rain delay (later rain out) entertainment as the on-track activity was postponed to the next day due to the unfavorable forecast. Heavy downpours caused the cage mat to become slick that night but the card was held to completion. Luckily, great weather was the order of the evening from Stadion Eden in Prague on Saturday.

Pageantry, Remembrance, and Halftime Concert

Aside from the 10-fight card, Oktagon pulled out even more stops this weekend, holding a preshow ceremony complete with a dance troupe and a performance of the Czech Republic’s national anthem by Matej Plsek just before the show began proper, as well as a flyover after the anthem.  Ahead of the singing of the anthem, Oktagon held a moment of silent reflection in memory of soldiers who perished while serving the Czech Republic in combat.

Atypical for an MMA event, the card also featured a halftime show led by hip-hop group PSH held between the undercard and main card. Usually, an MMA promotion wouldn’t use the intermission between the prelims and main card for anything.

Oktagon had a halftime show. They treated this event as though it were a Super Bowl and it paid off quite handsomely.

The Show Itself

As far as the action in the cage was concerned, this was an amazing night of fights. Out of the 10 bouts that took place over the weekend, six ended by stoppage, including all four fights that comprised the main card.

Add to it the fact that Stadion Eden was a sell-out for Oktagon 58 and this was an event that will be remembered for a long time to come. Fighters in MMA feed off of the energy that the supporters give them from the stands. Whether the venue the crowd piles into is a traditional indoor arena or an outdoor stadium, their collective roar gave the competitors some added motivation on Saturday night.

In the main event of the evening, you had an anticipated rematch at light heavyweight between Karlos Vemola (37-8 MMA, 12-3 Oktagon) and challenger Attila Vegh (33-10-2 MMA, 4-2 Oktagon). Vemola stopped Vegh with a second-round submission (rear-naked choke) to defend the strap. Ahead of Oktagon 58, the champ had been discussing his retirement from the sport.

During his post-fight interview, Vemola would not directly commit to retiring from MMA. Whether or not he returns to MMA is unknown, but like Dustin Poirier, he’s got time to decide.

Oktagon Founding Hall of Fame

During Saturday’s main card, Oktagon announced that it would be starting its own hall of fame. Subsequent to this news, its first two inductees were also named.

Petr Machacek, an instructor at the Hanuman Gym in Prague and former light heavyweight competitor Ilja Skondric, now a coach at OFA Kajot Gym in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia,  have been enshrined to the hall. In any sport, it’s great to see the greats get their plaudit when it’s due.

Kudos to Oktagon for founding a hall of fame and congratulations to these men on their inductions. It’s well-deserved.

Final Thoughts

While it may only be less than halfway through the month of June as of this writing, Oktagon 58 could very well be the best card of the entire year by the time we rip off the December page of the 2024 calendar. The bar has been clearly raised for the Oct. 12 Oktagon 61 in Frankfurt at Deutche Bank Park.

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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.