OKTAGON 58: Liverpool's Shem Rock Pulls No Punches Ahead of Showdown with Former Czech Police Officer

Liverpool's Shem Rock, fuelled by rivalry, vows to conquer Prague's arena at OKTAGON 58 against Czech's Jaroslav Pokorny.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-06-06

Naim Rosinski

5 minutes read

Liverpudlian MMA sensation Shem Rock (10-1-1) is on the brink of a monumental showdown as he prepares to step into the octagon against Jaroslav Pokorny (16-11) at OKTAGON 58, set to unfold at Prague’s esteemed Eden Stadium.

Rock trains at Liverpool's Next Generation gym and regularly spars with UFC's Paddy 'The Baddy' Pimblett.

A Rivalry Fuelled with Fire

The anticipation for this showdown has been brewing since their initial bout at OKTAGON 48 in Manchester took a dramatic turn during the official weigh-in. A heated exchange led to Rock delivering a fateful kick to Pokorny, inflicting a rib injury that forced the Czech fighter to withdraw from the match. 

Now, five months removed from their first heated encounter, the stage is set for a long-awaited scrap, with both fighters eager to settle the score in front of one of Europe’s largest MMA crowds to date.

Shem Rock's Perspective

Reflecting on his upcoming bout against Pokorny, a former police officer, Rock passionately voices his sentiment. 

“Oh, this isn't just for me, this is for all the boys on the council estates, all the lads in behind the door in jail. I'm getting paid to go and f*** up a police officer,” he told

“You couldn't give me a better dream fight, but this is the fight I would ask for in any scenario. So, the fact that I'm getting to do it legally and I'm paid to do it that made up."

Fighting in Pokorny's Hometown

The 30-year-old also embraces the challenge of facing Pokorny in his own backyard of Prague: “I'm even better getting to fight in his backyard and all the crowd on his side, getting booed to death, walking out face, I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity.” 

This statement underscores Rock's fearless attitude and his willingness to confront adversity head-on, even amidst a hostile crowd.


Image credit: OKTAGON MMA

Embracing the Role of the Villain

Unfazed by the prospect of upsetting the home crowd, Rock asserts his comfort in the role of the villain.

“Throughout my career, I've always kind of been the away guy fighting the hometown boy. I've always been a bad guy. I've been brought to lose. I shock the world. So, it's been a natural progression that it keeps happening, but at a bigger and bigger and bigger stage.”

Revelling in Being the 'Bad Guy'

Rock also surprisingly revealed his preference for being the antagonist in the arena: “I've had it before, but now it's just on a bigger scale and it did take me to come home and have a fight where I'm the homeboy and everyone was cheering to me to realise, nah, that other side is way better. Let me be the bad guy. I enjoy it. I don't know what it is. It's just a different fire in your belly now." 

With tensions running high and emotions fuelled by past encounters, the stage is set for an explosive showdown between these two formidable fighters at OKTAGON 58. As anticipation mounts and the world watches, Shem Rock prepares to make his mark once again, ready to embrace the role of the villain and conquer the octagon in Prague.

Stay tuned to to keep up to date with the thrilling MMA action and fierce competition as it happens live from the arena floor.

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.