Polish organization KSW returns this weekend with a card that has gotten a little less fanfare online than some recent events, but nonetheless has substance throughout. While KSW 43: Soldic vs. Du Plessis has the usual formula of notable names, upcoming prospects and fun international fighters, they’re doing away with the circus element almost entirely.
It’s a much more well-balanced card, indicative of where KSW is and what kind of future they plan on having for their more talented fighters.
At the top is one of the most exciting welterweight match-ups in any organization right now. Croatia’s Roberto Soldić (13-2), a.k.a. ‘Robocop,’ defends his welterweight title against South African sensation Dricus Du Plessis (11-1). Soldić won the belt after defeating KSW mainstay and proven veteran Borys Mankowski last December. After bouncing around Europe at the start of his career, he’s currently on a seven fight win streak going back to 2016. He’s a heavy hitter with a style that relies a lot on his athleticism, strength and durability, as well as some killer head kicks.
Du Plessis presents a different set of challenges to what he’s used to, however. As dual champion at welterweight and middleweight for South Africa’s EFC, he’s never won a fight by decision. While also a very athletic fighter, he’s much more technical and has a more developed ground game. The most interesting wrinkle in this fight is the fact that Mankowski was originally to defend his title against Du Plessis at KSW 41, but Du Plessis was forced out of that bout due to a hand injury. Soldić stepped in as his replacement, earning the belt for his trouble, and leading to this.
Olympic powerhouse wrestler Damian Janikowski (2-0) takes yet another big leap forward in his MMA career as he challenges former EFC and BAMMA middleweight champion Yannick Bahati (8-3). Janikowski has otherworldly athleticism and is taking nicely to the striking game in his budding MMA career – with wins against Julio Gallegos (then 8-6) and Antoni Chmielewski (then 32-16). For someone that’s taken to MMA later in life, he’s got a comfortable foundation and has adapted well to the sport. This time, he’s up against the hardest hitter he’s faced thus far. Much like Du Plessis above, Bahati has never won by decision (fun fact: he lost his EFC middleweight title to Du Plessis last August and held both EFC and BAMMA belts at the same time), and really knows how to pour it on when he smells blood.
KSW’s heavyweight title will also be on the line, as Michał Andryszak (20-6) faces former UFC, Bellator and M-1 fighter Phil De Fries (14-6). De Fries recently defeated “The Colossus“ James Thompson back at Bellator 191 in December. It’s fine if you don’t remember that fight, and it’s better if you have chosen to forget. Andryszak is on a six-fight win streak and is yet another fighter on this card that has never won by decision.
Former UFC fighter and former KSW title challenger Norman Parke (23-6-1 draw) takes on Łukasz Chlewicki (17-7-1 draw) in a fun featherweight tilt. Additionally, former KSW featherweight champion Artur Sowiński will look to bounce back from his recent attempt at reclaiming gold against Kleber Koike Erbst at KSW 41. It’ll be a tall order, as he faces rising French sensation Salahdine Parnasse, who remains with an almost perfect record at 10-0 with 1 draw. Sowiński’s got a very complete game, but Parnasse is a striking threat with excellent use of range and very accurate strikes, and also a submission threat.
Finally, Kamil Selwa (10-6) will try to bounce back from his KSW debut loss against hard-nosed Croatian wrestler Antun Račić (20-8-1 draw). Račić will hope to improve on his current two-fight win streak.
The entirety of the card is as follows:
Roberto Soldic vs Dricus Du Plessis - Welterweight
Damian Janikowski Yannick Bahati - Middleweight
Michal Andryszak vs Phil De Fries - Heavyweight
Michal Michalski vs David Zawada - Welterweight
Artur Sowinski vs Salahdine Parnasse - Featherweight
Lukasz Chlewicki vs Norman Parke - Lightweight
Kamil Selwa vs Antun Racic - Bantamweight
Maciej Kazieczko vs Maciej Kalicinski - Lightweight