Birmingham's Akonne Wanliss Eyes European MMA Glory in OKTAGON Tournament

In a remarkable journey, Birmingham's own Akonne Wanliss has secured a coveted spot as the sole UK fighter in OKTAGON MMA's 2024 'Tipsport Gamechanger' tournament. With Wanliss poised to compete against 16 skilled lightweights for the prestigious title and the largest prize in European MMA history, his transition from stage to cage epitomises resilience and ambition in the pursuit of MMA greatness.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-02-13

Wade McElwain

6 minutes read

The Tipsport Gamechanger 2

Birmingham's own Akonne Wanliss is set to step into the spotlight once again, this time in the esteemed arena of European MMA. Wanliss, known for his dynamic presence both in and out of the cage, has secured a coveted spot in the highly anticipated OKTAGON MMA's 2024 'Tipsport Gamechanger' tournament, offering the largest prize pot in European MMA history.


In the upcoming 2024 'Tipsport Gamechanger' tournament, 16 skilled lightweights are set to vie for the prestigious title and the largest prize in European MMA. Notably, the sole representative from the UK announced in the event's line-up is the renegade fighter, Wanliss. The tournament's quarterfinals are slated to kick off in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on March 2nd, 2024, hosted at the renowned Ostravar Arena.


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From Stage Performer to MMA Star

The journey to this moment has been nothing short of remarkable for Wanliss, who transitioned from a career as a stage performer to become a rising star in the MMA world. Renowned as the self-proclaimed 'pound-for-pound best stripper in the World,' Wanliss has swiftly made his mark on the European MMA scene, capturing attention with his electrifying performances.

Debut and Setbacks

Having debuted in OKTAGON MMA in July 2023 with a stunning first-round knockout victory against Giorgi Gogotchuri, the ‘Jedi’ has since showcased his prowess on multiple occasions. Despite a setback in his second bout due to a no contest decision following an accidental low-blow, Wanliss has remained undeterred in his pursuit of excellence.


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Beyond the Cage

Additionally, Wanliss also assumed the role of co-coach on the reality TV show, OKTAGON Challenge: England vs Ireland, further cementing his presence in the MMA sphere. Now, he stands on the brink of potentially solidifying his status as one of the most formidable fighters on the UK scene as he gears up for the 'Tipsport Gamechanger' tournament.

Wanliss’s Mindset Ahead of the Tournament

Reflecting on his upcoming challenge, the Jamaican-born fighters expressed a blend of gratitude and determination: “I’m feeling really grateful to be honest, the pride hasn’t set in yet because I know there is a lot of work to do. Camp is going absolutely amazing, but having this tournament in my head as something to work towards has really helped me over the Christmas break - I’ve kept breaking records with my strength and conditioning and I’ve been working so hard for 15 weeks before the fight, that shows how ready I am.”

Readiness to Unleash the Force

With his sights set on the tournament, Wanliss exuded confidence: "There’s been no days off, it’s come to fruition at exactly the right time, the consistency is good and no injuries so I’m ready to unleash the force." His determination to make an impact is palpable as he eagerly anticipates stepping back into the cage.


Looking ahead, he highlighted the challenges that lie ahead but remained steadfast in his pursuit of success: “I feel like ever since Manchester, I’ve been desperate to get back in there and fight. I’m so happy I am going to be in the Tipsport Gamechanger because people have to fight me, no one is going to slow me down by ducking or not taking fights, they have to feel the Force. I’m going to have at least four fights here, no one can say no to fighting me and I can become a millionaire, what more could I ask for?"

Ambitions and Goals

Furthermore, in assessing the competition, Wanliss identifies key adversaries while maintaining his focus on his ultimate goals: "[Ronald] Paradeiser is the man to beat in this tournament, even though I can’t take his belt in this format. I saw Makwan’s [Amirkhani] last fight in the UFC; if that is the sort of performance, he is going to bring to this, then I am really not that worried about him at all. In 12 months’, time, I want to be a millionaire, recognised as the pound-for-pound number one, and officially crowned the best lightweight in Europe - those are my goals!”


In Wanliss's journey from the stage to the cage, his unwavering determination and undeniable talent have propelled him to the forefront of European MMA. As he prepares to embark on the 'Tipsport Gamechanger' tournament, his ambitions are clear: to dominate the competition, secure his place as a millionaire, and etch his name in the annals of MMA greatness.

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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.