Contender Series alum Matej Penaz returns to action this weekend, with the middleweight paired up opposite Ole Magnor at Oktagon 50.
It’s the first fight of 2023 for Penaz (7-1), following a difficult elbow injury that kept him on the sidelines longer than expected.
“I was in the preparation, and I had an injury of my right elbow. My elbow got dislocated completely. It was in wrestling sparring,” Pena explained to Cageside Press in a recent interview. He added that it was quite a long recovery, though he originally thought he’d be back in about four months. “But there were some complications with the rehab, and it was still hurting. The movement was not completely right. It was like ten months, but now I feel good. The elbow is in the right place, and everything is working.”
Penaz, who trained alongside Volkan Oezdemir and Khamzat Chimaev as part of his camp at All Stars Gym in Sweden, is excited to be fighting at home in the Czech Republic. “I’m not from Ostrava, from the city, but normally the Czech people are very good fans, and they’re noisy sometimes. So hopefully it’ll be huge.”
Against Magnor, who sports an 8-7 record, Penaz sees a fighter who’s more complete than his record suggests.
“I think he’s quite a good fighter. He doesn’t have a very good record, but it’s normal. he was fighting very good guys, he was fighting Khamzat at the start of his career. He’s experienced a lot,” noted Penaz. “I think he will try to take me down and grapple me, because in the standup I think I will be faster and better. I believe that he will just try to take me down and submit me, or something like that, or just hold me on the ground. But I’m prepared for it. I think he’s a good fighter, he’s like a complete fighter, if he gets tired, he can grapple. But I think he’s more comfortable on the ground, so I think he will try it.”
Watch our full interview with Oktagon 50’s Metaj Penaz above.