OKTAGON featherweight Niko Samsonidse is looking forward to the boxing challenge presented by Losene Keita at OKTAGON 50.
The 28-year-old faces Keita for the vacant featherweight title in his home country of Germany following two consecutive wins.
The Belgian, on the other hand, is coming off of his first pro loss against Mate Sanikidze – albeit via injury.
Samsonidse praised his opponent ahead of their anticipated clash.
He said: “Man, I have all the respect for him – I know him [from] before.
“He’s a really good explosive fighter, good boxing and that’s a good challenge. That’s the challenge I want. That’s the challenge, I think, which is one of the most interesting matchups right now in OKTAGON or, let’s say, even in Europe.
“Yeah, that’s what excites me, to be honest. I’m trying and I will be putting on a hell of a performance that night.”
Samsonidse Claims Matchup is Not Striker Versus Grappler, Happy to Box With Keita
On the face of things, this looks like the classic MMA matchup of striker against grappler.
‘One Love’ has 60% of his professional wins coming by way of submission, including four rear naked chokes, a heel hook, and most recently a triangle choke.
Meanwhile, Keita, on the other hand, is the striker in this fight. Seven of ‘Black Panther’s’ 11 wins have been by way of knockout or technical knockout.
But, the German doesn’t believe this is quite the striker versus grappler matchup that it seems.
He said: “I wouldn’t say it’s, like, a boxer against a grappler because we are both well-rounded and I feel comfortable in boxing as well – I can stand with him. I won’t say he’s not a grappler, he also can grapple.
“I think, like, since MMA evolved so fast, we are both, like, really complete fighters in the different areas. For sure there’s always different, let’s say, backgrounds we have where we might have an advantage.
“But, I feel like I don’t need to hide my boxing and move directly to the ground. That’s not my mentality going into this fight.”
Niko Samsonidse Full Exclusive Interview
You can watch the full interview with Niko Samsonidse below:
Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.