Having made their way out to Ireland and the UK earlier this year, KSW once again raises anchor and heads to Zagreb for their first event in Croatia.
As a “Balkans Vs The World” event, there’s a Croatian in almost every fight. As a new hotbed of surging talent, local fans will have legitimate talents to root for with some evolving fighters aiming to dazzle the home crowd.
Mariusz Pudzianowski (12-7) continues to be the centerpiece of the musculeweight contingent for KSW, mostly fighting against fellow sculpted Chunguses (Chungii?). Good thing for him is that there’s never a shortage of brolic cohorts for him to fight, meaning we get some fun freakshow fights for events like this. Pudz walks into this one with back ot back losses to Szymon Kołecki and powerhouse Karol Bedorf. He’ll now have a major experience advantage over fitness Model Erko Jun (3-0).
Jun’s shown he’s more than just a pretty face, and has a head full of confidence heading into this bout.
Bantamweight is currently without a king, but aggressive wrestler Antun Racic 23-8, (1 draw) hopes to bring his experience, athleticism, and time at Firas Zahabi’s Tristar Gym to capture the vacant belt. With a firm belief that he’s finally at his peak, he’s looking to apply the same kind of pressure that led him to his current four-fight win streak. The man standing in his way is former UFC fighter Damian Stasiak (11-6), who just snapped a three fight skid with an arm triangle win over Nikolay Kondratuk at a Rocky Warriors Cartel event in April.
Former KSW welterweight champion Borys Mankowski (19-8, 1 draw) has had a rough go of it as of late, with three consecutive defeats. But look closely and they’re not bad losses at all. Mamed Khalidov, current champ Roberto Soldić and a resurgent Norman Parke is a good run of fighters to lose to. His obstacle to end up in the win column again is Serbian “Psychopath“ Vaso Bakočević (39-18, 1 draw). That’s a busy record, and he hasn’t won a fight by decision since 2017. That’s thirteen wins over two years, and a loss to Bellator’s Andrey Koreshkov in July of 2018.
Cezary Kęsik made an impression in his KSW debut, solidifying his position as a hot prospect. His opponent Aleksandar Ilić is hungry for this fight, with a five-fight win streak that included the absolute obliteration of freak superathlete Damian Janikowski.
British strongman Oli Thompson (20-11) bounced back from his last loss with a submission win this past September, and he’s got some gumption to show upon this card as a late replacement against RIZIN and PFL vet Ante Delija. Brazilian 24-year-old Daniel Torres (8-4) makes his third KSW appearance, this time against Croatian UFC vet Filip Pejić (14-2, 2 draws). Pejić seems to have found a winning formula again with a grinding finish over Fabiano Silva and a brutal ground knockout against Filip Wolański.
Here’s the individual trailer Mariusz Pudzianowski vs Erko Jun:
Here’s Cezary Kęsik and Aleksandar Ilić:
Finally, Daniel Torres vs Filip Pejić.
You can watch the weigh-ins from the KSW official YouTube channel.
This being in Croatia, you just know that Cro Cop had to make an appearance.
Mariusz Pudzianowski (118.3 kg/261 lb) vs. Erko Jun (104.1 kg/230 lb) - Heavyweight
Borys Mańkowski (73.0 kg/161 lb) vs. Vaso Bakočević (72.9 kg/161 lb) - 161 lb catchweight
Aleksandar Ilić (84.2 kg/186 lb) vs. Cezary Kęsik (84.2 kg/186 lb) - Middleweight
Antun Račić (61.2 kg/135 lb) vs. Damian Stasiak (60.8 kg/134 lb) - Inaugural bantamweight title fight
Darwin Rodriguez vs. Ivan Erslan - Light heavyweight
Roman Szymański (70.7 kg/156 lb) vs. Miloš Janičić* (72 kg/159 lb)** - Lightweight
Filip Pejić (66.3 kg/146 lb) vs. Daniel Torres (66.1 kg/146 lb) - Featherweight
Ante Delija (108.1 kg/238 lb) vs. Oli Thompson (107 kg/236 lb) - Heavyweight
Sebastian Przybysz (61.6 kg/136 lb) vs. Lemmy Krušič (61.5kg/136 lb)- Bantamweight
Krystian Kaszubowski (77.6 kg/171 lb) vs. Aleksandar Rakas (76.7 kg/169 lb) - Welterweight
**Janičić will be fined 40% of his purse for missing weight.