This year saw leading European promotion KSW hold six shows during one calendar year — more than they had ever staged in the past. KSW 52 was the final installment of their 2019 schedule and took place in Gliwice, Poland. Building up to fight night, the show garnered much fan interest due to the return of Polish MMA legend, Mamed Khalidov, after his brief retirement in the same arena last year. The promotion’s production and live experience was at its renowned best with pyro, flames and lights all adding to the already lively atmosphere. It was a great event where established stars cemented their divisional standings and plenty of up-and-coming talent produced impressive finishes to elevate their own stock.
It was a bout that was touted as the promotion biggest of the year but the meeting between Scott Askham and Mamed Khalidov didn’t play out as many were expecting. Both men usually like to duke it out on the feet but the KSW middleweight champion used his wrestling to control the Polish MMA icon throughout. Khalidov appeared to be too accepting of staying in poor positions and didn’t show enough urgency to gain separation. He threatened the odd submission but nothing that came anywhere close to troubling the Englishman who didn’t do very much damage of his own. Askham picked up the win on all three judges’ scorecards and will look to defend his title next year with both Dricus Du Plessis and Cezary Kesik lurking. It remains to be seen if Khalidov will continue to compete or whether he calls time on his MMA career for good.
In the evening’s co-main event, two of Poland’s greatest sporting heroes clashed in a meeting between Olympic medalists at a catchweight of 202lbs. Damian Janikowski, who is a natural middleweight, moved up to challenge the much bigger man in weightlifter turned mixed martial artist, Szymon Kolecki. Both men exchanged on the feet early with Janikowski having the most success before implementing the wrestling game he is most well known for. In the second round, Janikowski appeared to be fatigued from controlling his larger opponent and reverted to some of his bad habits seen previously. He began to wing punches wildly on the feet and got caught by a Kolecki punch and never recovered. Marc Goddard waved off the contest with Janikowski stumbling around the cage to avoid any more damage being received. That victory moved Kolecki to 2-0 in KSW and he can look forward to more high-profile spots in the future while Janikowski needs to go back to the drawing board to work on his weaknesses.
The sole title fight of the night saw French hot prospect, Salahdine Parnasse, defend his interim featherweight belt for the first time against European MMA veteran, Ivan Buchinger, by unanimous decision. Parnasse’s speed and accurate strikes were on display throughout as he showed maturity beyond his years to dominate his opponent. The 22-year-old’s left hand was his most effective weapon during the bout and he fired it off effortlessly after he slipped the incoming punches from Buchinger. He also got the best of the grappling exchanges and displayed solid takedown defence once again while stunning his adversary on numerous occasions. It was another impressive display by Parnasse to keep hold of his title and if the promotion can get back on the same page with undisputed champion, Mateusz Gamrot, a mouth-watering contest could be in store next year.
In a pair of other notable bouts, Shamil Musaev made himself known as a legit lightweight title contender as he defeated former number one contender, Grzegorz Szulakowski, with a highlight-reel spinning backfist in the first round. Karolina Owczarz and Aleksandra Rola finally met inside the cage after numerous delays to their previously scheduled contests in order to settle their grudge. The ending came in the second frame when Rola was unsuccessful with a takedown attempt which enabled Owczarz to work for an armbar. Rola defended but rolled into a triangle choke and was forced to tap. Owczarz moved to 3-0 in her professional MMA career and continues to be the poster girl for the KSW flyweight division.
The night got off to an immediate bang when the first four bouts ended with four first round knockouts. Fan-favourite, Artur Sowinski, picked up a much needed victory when he landed a high kick which was the beginning of the end for Vinicius Bohrer and Michal Michalski defeated Albert Odzimkowski in a back and forth contest. Maciej Kazieczko delivered a brutal knockout finish when he connected with an overhand right followed by an uppercut to overcome Michael Dubois and Michal Wlodarek had a statement victory in his first fight since 2016 by stopping Srdjan Marovic.
Complete KSW 52 Results:-
Scott Askham defeated Mamed Khalidov by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Szymon Kolecki defeated Damian Janikowski by TKO (punches) at 3:03 of round two.
Salahdine Parnasse defeated Ivan Buchinger by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-44) to retain the interim featherweight title.
Shamil Musaev defeated Grzegorz Szulakowski by TKO (spinning backfist and punches) at 1:17 of round one.
Karolina Owczarz defeated Aleksandra Rola by submission (triangle choke) at 4:35 of round two.
Artur Sowinski defeated Vinicius Bohrer by TKO (high kick and punches) at 0:52 of round one.
Michal Michalski defeated Albert Odzimkowski by TKO (punches) at 4:31 of round one.
Maciej Kazieczko defeated Michael Dubois by knockout (punches) at 0:24 of round one.
Michal Wlodarek defeated Srdjan Marovic by knockout (punches) at 0:34 of round one.