Pictured above: Rostem Akman and his team following a successful pro debut – Photo courtesy of MMAViking.com.
IMMAF.org recently caught up with former two-time European Open champion and World bronze medalist Rostem Akman, following his imposing professional MMA debut in Stockholm last month.
The man known as ‘Kurdimus Prime’ bowed out on top from IMMAF’s international amateur platform and last represented Sweden’s national amateur MMA team last year when he retained the European Open crown by dominating the middleweight bracket of the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. Akman first clinched the title at the 2015 EO in the UK and also picked up bronze at the 2016 World Championships in Las Vegas, USA.
At Superior Challenge 15 Akman completed his pro debut on home soil, bulldozing through Norwegian opponent Ole Magnor to force a TKO stoppage in the second round.
During his 4 year amateur run Akman built an 11-2 record within IMMAF championship tournaments, in addition to numerous national triumphs. As a developing amateur competitor Akman forged an identity and style, and now, as a result, intelligence and perspective are already in full effect as he ventures into new territory as a professional.
Akman’s understanding for progression remains intact with an honest self-assessment of how his journey to the top will be completed one step at a time.
“My performance was solid,” Akman told IMMAF.org when assessing his professional debut. “I did not feel threatened at any time. I did some stuff that was not that good but for my first pro fight, it was good. I will only get sharper each fight. I feel I need a little more pro experience before fighting top guys, but I handled the pressure excellently, it was my hometown, it was aired live and on national TV. I was cool as a cucumber.”
Having collected his amateur accolades as a 185lb middleweight champion, Akman has his sights now set on welterweight dominance at the pro level and enjoys the benefit of being able to safely cut the additional weight without physical strain.
“It was a catch-weight of 79kg (his pro debut), but it was really no problem (to cut the weight). I’m not shredded at 84kg (185lbs) at all. Just eating healthy food and a small weight cut, then I was home. I wanted to fight at welterweight but my opponent wanted a catch-weight, so we agreed on that.”
As an amateur Akman perfect his style in the cage with a well-crafted takedown based offence, a signature feature among the Swedish national team. Akman’s clubbing strikes on the feet were enough to make opponents think twice before engaging and his heavy top control on the ground went unrivaled as he preserved his condition heading into the next round of the tournament unblemished.
Now a professional, he fights without the pressure of additional bouts throughout the course of a five day tournament and hints at a sense of freedom, if not a personal responsibility, to entertain his audience with each competitive effort. With 3 TKO’s and 2 submissions in IMMAF championships, predominantly secured from his forceful presence on the ground, Akman intends to maintain the assertive and tactful approach that has served him so well, but also expresses excitement for building upon these strong foundations to become a fully rounded fight finisher.
“I will get better at what I do. I want to finish my fights, especially as a pro because it is important to have an exciting fighting style to make a living from MMA. I will start knocking people down now. Also, people usually don’t have good wrestling and my wrestling is very good, so I feel like why stand and bang when I know I can take them down and finish them on the ground, but when I do face people with good wrestling, my stand up will shine.”
Akman lived up to his reputation as a top international amateur standout and confirmed himself as of Sweden’s must-see up and comers. The now 1-0 professional feels encouraged by the embrace that he has felt from fans.
“I think there is something more than my amateur achievements that has brought exposure in the media. Somehow, people want to see me fight, I don’t know if it’s my personality or my fighting style, maybe both, but because of my amateur achievements I don’t have trouble finding fights. So it has of course helped me as a professional now, it’s made things easier.”
Akman confirmed that does not have a multi-fight contract with the top Swedish promoter and looks forward to reviewing multiple offers currently on the table, with his eye on a September showdown.
“I’ll fight wherever I get fights, I don’t have a contract with Superior and I have got a lot of offers to fight in good promotions, so hopefully in September. Now I’m focusing on evolving.”
By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran