By Frank Bonada
In OKTAGON MMA’s inaugural UK event, two former IMMAF champions claimed impressive wins, solidifying their positions as future contenders in the esteemed European promotion.
The English Mixed Martial Arts Association’s George Staines, a former IMMAF European Champion and World Championships silver medallist, made his resounding professional debut. Already heralded as one of the UK’s top current prospects, Staines delivered a standout performance that reverberated throughout the world of professional MMA, culminating in an impressive submission finish.
Following his silver medal-winning performance at the 2022 IMMAF World Championships, George Staines signed up for the OKTAGON Challenge Series, an MMA reality show in the same vein as The Ultimate Fighter. On the show, Staines defeated Irish prospects Armand Herczeg and Matthew Elliott, leading to a climactic showdown with Denis Frimpong at OKTAGON 48.
In the lead-up to their bout at the AO Arena, in Manchester, England, Frimpong relentlessly attempted to provoke Staines, but the IMMAF European champion maintained his composure, upholding the values and ethics synonymous with IMMAF.
In the bout itself, Staines put on a clinic. His wrestling neutralized the dangerous striking of Frimpong, and he comfortably won the first three rounds. It was much of the same in the fourth round, as Staines once again took Frimpong down once again. However, as Frimpong’s cardio began to fail him, Staines quickly capitalised, sinking in a guillotine choke that forced the tap.
This victory saw Staines crowned the OKTAGON Challenger Series Champion. With such an accolade to his name, so early into his career as a professional mixed martial artist, the ceiling appears incredibly high for the young Englishman.
Shoaib Yousaf, the 2016 IMMAF World Featherweight Champion from the United Kingdom, also found success at OKTAGON 48. Making his promotional debut, Yousaf took on short-notice opponent, Konmon Deh. Whilst Yousaf may not have claimed the highlight finish like his fellow alum, he put on a well-rounded display, claiming a unanimous decision victory.
Staines and Yousaf will both no doubt be at the forefront of OKTAGON MMA’s big push into the UK, with the Manchester crowd responding extremely well to their respective victories.
To watch the next generation of upcoming prospects, tune in to the 2023 IMMAF World Championships, which take place in Tirana, Albania, 20-25 November.
Image credit: OKTAGON MMA