OKTAGON MMA make the trip to Slovakia next week for the next outing in their glorious history for the absolutely explosive OKTAGON 42 card.
Recently, OKTAGON have had a huge influx of UK talent to their exceptional roster. And the violent festivities in Slovakia will host 5 of these phenomenal athletes.
Amongst them will be Fightzone London’s Stuart Austin, and he has made big plans for the new home of his skill-set starting on April 29th against John Winter.
I took a trip down to Fightzone London recently, to speak with Stuart as he prepares for his upcoming debut.
Stuart ‘He-Man’ Austin is an English professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Heavyweight division, representing Fightzone London. Stuart has competed for Ultimate Impact Cagefighting, the United Kingdom regional’s, Cage Warriors Wales, Ultimate Cage Championships, Bellator MMA, BAMMA, European Fighting Challenge, EFC Worldwide, UCMMA, S-70, Contenders LTD, ELITE MMA Championship, PFL and makes his debut for OKTAGON MMA on April 29th.
I’d like to start things off by thanking you for taking the time to speak with me today Stuart, and also to congratulate your upcoming inclusion to the OKTAGON MMA 42 card mate.
“Thank you very much, I’m excited to be on the card myself and it’s nice to speak with you as well Aaron.”
Likewise mate, it’s been great watching you and your team train.
Image by Avk Creatiff
I can see training and coaching your team has been going exceptionally well in the build up to your debut with the Czech Republic giant’s?
“Yeah, it’s been going really good. The team is growing week by week, not only visibly and mentally but because of Rowan we’ve had more people that have wanted to join. We’re starting to build momentum, so it’s getting really good.”
Image by AvK Creatiff
Quite the mix up of amateurs and professionals on the mats today, including Sydney Omar Dacres, a very gifted amateur, great to see different gyms collaborations in regards to preparations.
“Yeah, in the last few weeks Sydney asked if he could come and train with us. He’s from Diesel and 10th Planet London, and asked as well as some of his team, he’s got loads of potential. It’s really good to have young up-and-coming amateurs with us, especially him and his different body shape that can be hard to get hold of sometimes. He’s 6’7, it’s always nice to have someone of a different body shape in the gym, especially ones with Heavyweight’s, it’s hard to find big tall guys So having one that has such big potential is gonna be fun. He’s slotted right into the team, he’s improving really well, it’s a new gym for him and it can take time to work into new systems but he’s been coached really well and doesn’t really have any major errors, more like adjustments. He’s improved night and day over the past 2-3 weeks, a lot of the things he needs to learn are more strategic and tactical. I’m excited for what he’s gonna do this year with us.”
Absolutely, I believe he will go far in the fight game.
Looking ahead, no doubt there were a few organisations that were looking for your signature. What was the deciding factor that made you sign on the dotted line with OKTAGON MMA?
“Honestly with OKTAGON, I see it as a big growing market, they’re planning to come to the UK this year and they’ve invested a lot in British fighters. I spoke to other organisations, their offers were good but signed a 3 fight deal with OKTAGON. I saw it as a beautiful opportunity, because if I win these 3 fights as well and get the belt it would be great for the UK. We’ve already spoken about extending the contract and potentially being the big star from the UK for them and helping build their Heavyweight division, to make it a real force to be reckoned with and known around the world. And obviously as well, it is one of the big up-and-coming European promotions. KSW and Cage Warriors are standouts and the bigger known ones but OKTAGON is one that’s rapidly rising, so it’s good to be a part of that. I see it being a big thing in the future and it’s gonna be a big fight for me, I’m gonna be fighting in front of nearly 10 thousand people at the Arena. More and more people are watching it, more eyes are on it and there’s more to come from it, financially and opportunity-wise afterwards.”
They’ve definitely made a splash on the English circuit, picking up some big names such as yourself, Dan Vinni, Shem Rock and Alex Lohore. Alex has done well with them, currently approaching the quarter finals of their Tipsport Gamechanger welterweight tournament.
“Yeah, definitely. The Tipsport Gamechanger is a huge tournament, I think the 1st prize is 300 thousand Euros which is crazy. The overall for the tournament is a million that’s divided between the winners from the participants’ divisions, which is insane money. It’s very rare outside of the US to see anything like that, even in the US not many people are getting that. I see a big fat stack of money, obviously not as much in my fights just yet. the financial backing behind it, once the betting companies get on board and the booze companies, I’ve heard weed is gonna be legalised in the Czech Republic soon, so there’s money coming into the sport from different factions. That money is getting invested into fighters, invested into big shows and it’s one of the most exciting shows in MMA at the moment, so I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
I’ve watched many of your bouts over the years and I highly believe you’ll be huge for them, hopefully we see you on the UK card.
“Yeah, that is the plan. But my main priority is the 29th against John Winter, assuming that goes to plan and I win that fight I’m looking to call for the title. There’s a few guys in the division that are floating around the top of the division amd have had more fights with OKTAGON than and are familiar with the crowd, but honestly I think I’m already top of the tree without having any fights at OKTAGON. My experience, the people I’ve competed against, you know, I’ve beaten some of them, lost against some of them but I’ve been operating at a level some of these guys haven’t. I think the ball is in my court, to go and look impressive here, I wanna fight for the belt. I saw Lazar Todev’s fight victory recently, he’s on a 6 fight win streak now, so he’s a potential title fight for me, there’s several really good Heavyweights. There’s so many names that I think will be exciting fights for me so after this there’s a bunch of options. I’d like to win this fight, fight for the title, possibly out in Czech or Germany. From there the British card, I wanna be in the Main-Event, defending my belt as their number one at the top.”
I’ll be definitely looking forward to your future announcements man.
The fans will soon get to witness you out there, you bring a vast skill-set to the roster, which as you said, is full of huge opportunities in the division as the promotion grows to be one of the MMA powerhouses. For the new audience of your talents, what can they come to expect when you take your 1st walk In Slovakia?
“Honestly, as a Heavyweight I’m a little unusual, because I can do anything. I’m a good striker, I have really good wrestling, that’s my background and ground and pound, I’ve also got submissions against some of the best guys in the world, so I’m pretty well-rounded. In terms of this fight, my priority is to get the win, John is a good striker and has good Jits. I think he’ll be looking to take me down, put me on my back because I don’t think he’s gonna be comfortable striking with me. I would like an impressive finish in this fight, whether it’s KO or a submission I don’t mind, but I think. Get my boxing going and if its there, take him down and ground and pound him.”
Not as experienced as you many will know, but a great challenge. I believe he was supposed to fight in England at Fightstar Championship last year.
“Yeah, he’s a young up-and-comer. To me this is important, because if he beats me he takes my shine, he’s got everything to win and nothing to lose. He’s been offered 2 of my teammates/students Louie Sutherland and Mario Pinto in the past, for whatever reason those fights didn’t happen, he’s turned down the young calf’s and he wants the bull. He’s gonna have to see if he can take the bull by the horns, I honestly think I’m on a completely different level compared to anyone he’s competed against. I think he will find that out, 15 seconds into that fight he will realise it was not a good fight for him.”
A statement that makes the DAZN”s subscription worth every penny.
As previously stated, OKTAGON MMA has skyrocketed in recent years, and have brought their name into the mix as one of the biggest organisations within combat sports, recent cards have been proof of this and April 29th will be no exception.
Other than your inclusion on the night, are there any confirmed fighter’s or bouts in particular that you’re looking forward to witnessing?
“Generally on fight nights, I only worry about myself hahaha, I’m quite selfish. There’s 5 British fighters on the card for this one and it’s quite exciting, as we’re going into enemy territory and I think we’re gonna have a lot of success on that night. They’re pushing Shem Rock a lot so it will be exciting to see what he’s gonna do, because he’s been making waves and getting a lot of finishes recently. This is gonna be big for him as his 1st big step up in competition, so this will be a fun fight to watch. But as of fighter’s in general for OKTAGON, Karlos Vémola fought recently and looked tremendous, he’s such a monster. I trained with him back in the day, he’s an absolute beast and a top guy, I always like to watch Karlos. He’s from a generation slightly before me and he’s done a lot in the sport, he’s kinds the king of OKTAGON. The British fighters are coming, were gonna be putting these boys on there heels, I’m gonna be king of Slovakia this time, Czech Republic next time and put the crown on my head as well.”
I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the announcements for the UK card and hope to see you included. I’ll definitely be grabbing some tickets for that one, buzzing they’ll be coming to the UK.
It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today Stuart, I wish you all the best for the remainder of your preparations and I look forward to catching you out there mate.
“Thank you, it’s been good speaking with you too. I’m trying to actually do a bit more media, I’m getting old and a bit too lazy to be doing this sort of stuff hahahaha. All the young, excitable guys are posting all over social media and doing all these things, it is fun to do it sometimes though so it’s been a pleasure speaking with you.”
Likewise mate, I look forward to future visits.
Last but not least, do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance and anybody you’d like to give a shout-out to?
“To the fans, I’m gonna be the champ so you might as well watch me from the start to tell people you knew who I was before i was the champ. So watch the fight and expect a finish, most of my fights end in a finish. I tend to kill or be killed so I bring a lot of aggression, I’m full of pressure in my fights. I just wanna thank Fightzone London where I train and coach, Marcus Paul at Titan who is my MMA and grappling coach, Rowan Katzew from Fight City Gym who’s my striking and obviously thanks to all my training partners as well.
Catch Stuart and many more phenomenal warriors take centre stage at the incredibly stacked OKTAGON MMA 42 card on April 29th, at what’s set to be a sold out Zimny Stadion Ondreja Nepelu in Bratislava. Slovakia.
Feature image by AvK Creatiff