It is really exciting both when there is a nicely hyped European card to watch and when the MMA calender is relatively uncluttered. This weekend we had just Bellator 59 to look out for from the major US promotions, so there was a little bit of room to concentrate on Polish promotion KSW. What's more, since the fights were happening in nearby Poland, here in the UK we could watch MMA without havng to either stay up crazy late or download later and run the risk of hearing the results before we see the fights.
The card featured the novelty of a former strongman, some famous veterans in James Thompson and Thierry Sokoudjou and some interesting prospects, not to mention some seriously odd decisions. Also, I am pretty sure a few of the fights went to decision after just 2 rounds. I watched all the fights all the way through and, while it is quite confusing following proceedings with Polish commentary, I am pretty sure I can can count all the way up to 3 without getting confused. Can anyone let me know if I am going crazy or are some of the KSW fighters a bit lazy?
|Picture from Sherdog|
Mamed Khalidov vs Jesse Taylor
|Picture from mantofight.com
Jesse Taylor is a noted wrestler and after Khalidov shot a jumping knee almost straight from the bell, the American caught his leg and took him down. He surely immediately regretted it though as the Chechen showed a very active guard and looked very dangerous from the bottom. He through his legs up for an arm bar and managed to briefly end up in a mounted triangle. Eventually he initiated a scramble and grabbed a leg to lock in a knee bar. Taylor tapped within seconds and looked in a lot of pain afterwards.
There is not much else to say. The fight was quick, but Khalidov looked seriously good against a solid opponent. He was absolutely unfazed at finding himself on the bottom and transitioned bbetween submission attempts with consumate ease. I really hope we see him make the move to a larger organisation soon so he can be tested against top opposition.
Mariusz Pudzianowski vs James "Colossus" Thompson II
|Picture from Sherdog|
I watched the first incarnation of this fight as much to see the former World Strongest Man's transition into MMA as to watch James Thompson. Funnily enough, in a promotional video for the fight, Pudzianowski said that he is very confident he has a speed advantage over the Brit. While, I'll admit Thompson is not the quickest guy in MMA, the strong man is hardly Demetrious Johnson either. I was actually quite surprised by the Pole's ability, particularly standing up and wrestling, but he showed his inexperience with a distinct lack of knowledge and composure on the ground.
At KSW 17 Thompson was continuing his recent habit of breaking in novelty fighters, having also fought Kimbo Slice on American on American pay per view. It makes perfect sense for him to take these fights that bring big pay outs while he is in a decidedly rough patch, with 8 of his 14 career losses having come in his last 10 fights.
Round 1 saw Thompson take the Pole down almost immediately and land neatly in side control. He swiftly moved to the mounted crucifix but Pudzianowski showed good wrist control to limit the damage. After being pretty much bullied around on the floor without taking too much damage he was able to get back to his feet. On the feet Pudzianowski managed to land a few leg kicks but other than that both men landed very little of significance.
Round 2 was action packed. Bother fighters came out of the blocks with all guns blazing before Pudzianowski attempted a guillotine. He ended up on the ground with Thompson in his half guard and then mounting him and landing some serious ground and pound. Thompson took his back, got both hooks in but was unable to sink in the choke. After a bit of a scramble and Thompson ending up on top again, the referee stood them up from half guard. The round ended with a scrappy bit of boxing and clinching with Thompson attempting to throw the big Pole but taking himself down in the process, before managing to sweep before the bell.
Now, I wrote that while watching the fight and I have re-read it just to check that the fight I watched has been pretty accurately represented on the screen. I am pretty sure that Thompson won that fight. It was not exactly pretty but he certainly dominated almost every second of the fight. Anyway, the judges chose Pudzianowski in the most controversial decision that I have seen for some time. Shocking. After Marius gave his interview, The Colossus stole the ring announcer's mike and made his feelings absolutely clear saying among other things; "F*cking joke" and "KSW is going down the f*cking toilet". This was the second decision of the night that seemed to heavily favour a Polish fighter when they seemed to have lost to an Englishman, as James Zikic also seemed hard done by in his earlier fight.
Jan Blachnoqicz vs Thierry Sokoudjou
Sokoudjou is a scary looking bloke with a pretty strong CV. He has fought and beat Little Nog, Ricardo Arona and Kazuhiro Nakamura, fighting in Pride, UFC and WEC. More recently he has been fighting all over, including stopping up and coming Polish light heavy weight Jan Blachnoqicz (notable win over Christian M'Pumbu), having leg kicked him so much he could not continue in what had been an entertaining war. The two met again at KSW 17 for Sokoudjou's KSW Light Heavy Weight Title.
Round 1 saw the fight go to the ground early as the Pole pulled guard. He managed to keep the Cameroonian fighter in his guard and the referee was forced to stand them up. In between dangerous looking Sokoudjou flurries, Blachnoqicz was able to earn a couple of take downs that probably won him the round.
At the opening of Round 2 the Pole appeared to rock the African Assassin with a very solid jab, before getting tied up. He then took Sokoudjou down with a double leg but was unable to make any progress and they were stood up. Blachnoqicz then proceeded to dominate the standup, although Sokoudjou did manage to land a couple of very solid leg strikes, despite the Pole's attempts to check them.
In Round 3 the Polish fighter seemed quite tired and was taken down after around a minute. He showed an active guard and, with Sokoudjou unable to make any progress they were stood up. Blachnoqicz managed to knock down the African with another great jab before acheiving a mounted crucifix and then a mount and back mount. He was unable to finish though, winning the fight by unanimous decision.
Sokoudjou is not the bombastic powerful fighter he was in his hey-day but he is certainly no push over. Jan Blachnoqicz will take some real momentum from this win, cementing his place as one of the top Light Heavyweights in Europe at the moment.
Aslambek Saidov vs Rafal Moks
In the opening bout, Aslambek Saidov edged out fellow Pole Rafal Moks by decision, with Saidov dominating on the feet and spending most of the time on top when on the ground, without Moks being able to make anything happen from the bottom.
James Zikic vs Antoni Chmielewski
English journeyman James Zikic squared off against Polish Judo player, Antoni Chmielewski in one of a few rematches to happen on the card, with Zikic having lost the previous fight. In this fight back and forth fight, the most interesting thing was when the ref stopped the fight to rub the fighters down with a towel, bizarre. The Pole won a controversial split decision in a fight where he may have spent more time in top position, but where he ate a lot more shots and took more damage in the stand up.
Maciej Jewtuszco vs Artur Sowinski
Next, former WEC and UFC lightweight Maciej Jewtuszco took on Artur Sowinski. To be honest, I neither know nor can find out anything about Sowinski, but the ring announcer did describe him as the future of the lightweight division and he came out to some pretty cool music. After 10 or 20 seconds of missing with some of the widest windmill punches I have ever seen, Sowinski threw a massive uppercut right onto the chin of the more recognisable Jewtuszco, knocking him out cold.
Matt Horwich vs Michal Materla
Matt Horwich vs Michal Materla featured yet more cool walk out music, the UFC's fighters could really learn a thing or two. The American praised KSW because it pays more than the more famous organisations. I suppose that for a journeyman professional it pays to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
Round 1 saw Horwich surprisingly spend most of his time on top of the Ju Jitsu specialist Materla, mostly on the back landing blows and attempting to slide in a choke. In round 2, Materla took the Horwich down and spent 2 minutes on top before the referee stood them up. Horwich took it back to the ground but soon ended up on his back again. After an explosive start, round 3 went to the ground with Materla ending up on top again. In a fight relatively uneventful fight, Materla ground out a decision win.
|Picture from Oestroleka.pl|
This was a fun card with some interesting fights. Despite Khalidov's great submission win, I suspect the main talking point will be the shocking judges decision that robbed James Thompson. Is there anyone out there brave enough to suggest Pudzianowski won that fight?
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