It feels like it’s been quite a long while since the last KSW event. At least more than it’s really been. With more international fighters joining the fray, the Polish organization has continued to put on wild spectacles and finding great prospects, and this event is no exception.
Seeing as dual titles appear to be all the rage in our current landscape, the main event isn’t an exception here. Light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun (16-2) will be moving up to heavyweight to take on current champion, former UFC and Bellator fighter Phil De Fries. De Fries has found a renewed energy as of late, and managed to win the then-vacant title against Michal Andryszak and went on to follow that up with a submission win over Karl Bedorf.
But Narkun is on a warpath with seven straight wins, including a submission over Marcin Wojcik that led to a stunner of an upset against Mamed Khalidov. Then came a rematch against Khalidov, in which both had their moments but Narkun edged out a decision win. Beating one of the best fighters to come out of Europe twice in a row should definitely give him the confidence necessary for a fight like this, but De Fries is no pushover.
Co-main event is the people’s main event here, as Polish strongman Mariusz Pudzianowski (12-6) takes on Olympic weightlifter Szymon Kolecki (6-2). Clearly, neither man is going to be deadlifting the other or lifting Altas Stones to gain points, they’re strong as hell and aim to brutalize each other. Pudzian has carved out a respectable fighting career, showing real improvement and dedication in his craft. Kolecki has finished each of his wins by strikes, and this certainly has the air of a fun circus fight.
Former UFC fighter Norman Parke (25-6, 1 draw) moves up to welterweight to take on legit threat Borys Mańkowski (19-7). Parke had previously shoved Mańkowski after a fight against Borys’ teammate, and somehow we’ve ended up here. Not a complaint, of course. Parke’s still reliable with his boxing, Judo and top control game. Mańkowski’s got good striking and an underrated submission game to go with it.
Satoshi Ishii is back at it again, already 2-0 in 2019. He finished off 2018 with two straight submission wins via leg scissor choke, and he made that look easy. Here he’s facing Fernando Rodrigues Jr., who snapped a two-fight losing skid by earning a decision win against James McSweeney. Rodrigues is a hard one to pin down, as he’s got a titanic muscular frame, but an erratic style. This should be another odd pairing that ends up delivering some serious fun.
Olympian Damian Janikowski (3-1) continues to demonstrate he’s the best pure athlete to be in a major European organization and keeps that shine despite his recent loss to Michał Materla back in October. This time, he’s up against Croatian Aleksandar Ilić (10-2), who trains out of AKA Thailand and is on a four-fight win streak.
KSW mainstay and former Ultimate Fighter contestant Marcin Wrozsek (13-5) faces fellow Pole Krzysztof Klaczek (12-5). Karolina Owczarz (1-0) showed herself to be more than just a striker in her MMA debut, and hopes to rack up a second win against kickboxer Marta Chojnowska (1-1), who returns to MMA after a loss to Karolina Kowakiewicz in 2013.
As usual, KSW’s put in the work with the trailers for their fights, and they’re great. Here’s a few of them:
Full card is as follows:
Phil De Fries vs Tomasz Narkun - KSW heavyweight championship fight
Mariusz Pudzianowski vs Szymon Kolecki - Heavyweight
Norman Parke vs Borys Mańkowski - Welterweight
Satoshi Ishii vs Fernando Rodrigues Jr. - Heavyweight
Damian Janikowski vs Aleksandar Ilić - Middleweight
Marcin Wrzosek vs Krzysztof Klaczek - Featherweight
Karolina Owczarz vs Marta Chojnowska - Flyweight
Paweł Polityło vs David Gralka - Bantamweight
Bartołomej Kopera vs Maciej Kazieczko - Lightweight