The nail in the coffin may have finally been struck for the career of Matt Lindland at KSW 16 on Saturday as Sengoku veteran Mamed Khalidov made quick work of the UFC veteran, choking him out via guillotine in the first round of action in the main event of the evening in Gdansk, Poland. Lindland's vaunted wrestling background was only a minor threat during the fight when he nearly reversed Khalidov's attempt to take him down shortly after the fight started. After a brief scramble, Lindland was able to regain his feet, but that only staved off the inevitable for a short time.
Khalidov quickly jumped guard and sunk in a guillotine choke immediately after Lindland reengaged, bearing down a tremendous amount of power on Lindland's windpipe. Lindland shuffled toward the turnbuckle, falling down the ground. He never had the chance to tap, losing consciousness, only to awaken as the referee stood over him trying to wake him up.
The victory extends Khalidov's streak to three, previously defeating James Irvin and Yuki Sasaki. The question becomes whether Khalidov will be sought out by Bellator Fighting Championships as a potential entry into a middleweight tournament late this year or if the UFC may be in line to obtain his services. It's apparent that Khalidov's only competition may sit in those two promotions at this point in his career. Unfortunately, it's up in the air whether he will make the transition stateside as it was revealed that Khalidov's faith may cause a problem in terms of scheduling fights for him.
In open-weight action, PRIDE veteran James Thompson snapped a three-fight losing streak by submitting five-time World's Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski. After an exciting, yet sloppy exchange on the feet in the opening round, Thompson miraculously willed his way through the damage that Pudzianowski had inflicted upon him in the opening minutes, eventually gaining an edge on the ground in the latter part of the round. Pudzianowski, at one point, nearly knocked out Thompson, signaled by Thompson dropping his hands to his waist as if he were out cold on his feet. Thompson survived the onslaught, and Pudzianowski's conditioning failed him, creating a huge shift of momentum by the end of the round.
The second round was much more lopsided as Thompson came out looking for a takedown immediately. Pudzianowski's exhaustion was visible in his stand-up early, barely able to lift his arms to defend against Thompson's pawing punches. Thompson eventually brought the fight to the ground where he battered Pudzianowski and sunk in a poorly administered arm triangle. Fortunately for Thompson, Pudzianowski tapped, likely due to his exhaustion more than the effectiveness of the choke.
2011 World MMA Scouting Report rankee Jan Blachowicz returned to the cage on Saturday evening following his loss to Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in March against Finnish fighter Toni Valtonen. After a close first round that saw Blachowicz edge Valtonen on the scorecards with dominant grappling, Blachowicz sunk in a rear naked choke in the second round after a brief scramble on the ground caused by Valtonen's desperate attempt for a takedown. Blachowicz fought off the attempt, bearing his weight down on Valtonen and gaining top control. From there, Blachowicz transitioned effortlessly to mount, causing Valtonen to turn over and give up his neck. The win is his tenth in eleven fights, keeping his name in the spotlight as one of the best light heavyweight talents in the region.
Michal Materla defeated James Zikic via unanimous decision in a middleweight tilt, imposing a superior grappling game to definitively win both rounds while also entertaining fans with a gutsy striking performance. Cengiz Dana spent most of his lightweight encounter with Artur Sowinski on the defensive, unable to wade through Sowinski's reach without being on the end of a flurry of damaging strikes. Sowinksi turned up the heat late in the second, threatening Dana with a rear naked choke in the closing minute of the fight and securing an unanimous decision.
Attila Vegh and Marcin Rozalski were victorious in the two opening heavyweight bouts of the evening. Vegh's striking eventually overcame the acrobatics of Aschugbabjan's kicking game, ending in a violent flurry of knees to the head. Aschugbabjan didn't lose consciousness however, instead claiming he was illegally poked in the eye by Vegh during the exchange. The referee didn't agree.
Shemetov was well on his way to stopping Rozalski in the first round of their heavyweight tilt until he injured his arm during an exchange on the feet. Shemetov appeared to have torn his bicep during the fight, causing the doctor to stop the fight and award the win to an undeserving Rozalski.
KSW 16 - Gdansk, Poland - Ergo Arena, Saturday, May 21
Mamed Khalidov def. Matt Lindland via submission (guillotine choke), R1.
James Thompson def. Mariusz Pudzianowski via submission (arm triangle), R2.
Jan Blachowicz def. Toni Valtonen via submission (rear naked choke), R2.
Michal Materla def. James Zikic via unanimous decision.
Artur Sowinksi def. Cengiz Dana via unanimous decision.
Attila Vegh def. Grigor Aschugbabjan via TKO (knee), R2.
Marcin Rozalski def. Sergey Shemetov via TKO (doctor's stoppage), R1.
For detailed accounts of each fight, check out the live play-by-play thread.