After their wild battle last December, KSW middleweight champ Scott Askham (19-4) will be meeting Mamed Khalidov (34-7, 2 draws) once again in an immediate title rematch. If you haven’t been keeping tabs on Askham, you’re missing out. He’s been an absolute menace since his UFC release, remaining undefeated since then at 5-0.
It seems leaving the UFC led to him hitting his peak and really doing damage. His arsenal of kicks has been a major asset for him and his use of range has been very impressive. Khalidov also remains a rangy striker and a bear of a grappler that has devastating ground strikes and submissions, making him one of the most formidable fighters to never fight in a major U.S.-based organization.
Age may have caught up to Khalidov, but it’s going to have to do a lot more to put a dent in him. While he wasn’t on his A-game against Askham the first time around, he’s able to compensate for his speed deficit by doing more damage with his punches. Askham’s kicks and takedown difference should be the difference maker much like last time, but perhaps more infighting and pressuring against the cage can even the odds for the respected veteran.
Aleksandar Ilić (12-3) remains one of USD Dusseldorf’s most interesting middleweight prospects, doing damage on the Euro regional scene and turning a lot of heads by knocking out Olympian Damian Janikowski in his KSW debut. He’s got a major challenge ahead against former KSW middleweight champ Michał Materla (28-7). Materla has won most of his fights via finish, and is also coming off a win in EFM, earning him that middleweight title. Materla’s ground strikes are vicious, and his patient attacks leading to submissions have ruined opponents in a textbook manner.
Former UFC fighter Damian Stasiak (11-7) returns to KSW after having his debut spoiled by absolute tank Antun Rakić with a decision loss. He might be able to rebound here, but it’s going to be tough as he faces plucky prospect Patryk Surdyn (5-0). Surdyn’s got an aggressive streak, and might be able to overrun the veteran if he plays it right.
Andreas Gustafsson (6-0) is a name you should begin to get familiar with, because he’s an absolute savage. He takes it as well as he dishes it out, and has remained undefeated as a pro including a win over UFC and Shooto vet Amilcar Alves. But he’s up against the most freakish athlete KSW has seen in Damian Janikowski (4-3). His first few MMA fights looked like utter mismatches despite fighting more experienced opposition, but he’s hit a rough patch as of late with three of his last four fights being losses via strikes. His one win in that stretch was a wild one, though. Janikowski’s still got it, he’s just being tossed into the deep end and riding that out.
Finally, former Bellator fighter and Ultimate Fighter contestant Przemysław Mysiala (23-10, 1 draw) meets Croatia’s Stepjian Bekavac (19-10).
As usual, you can check out some of the wild trailers for individual fights, because pandemics don’t kill production value or vibes.
Askham vs Khalidov:
Materła vs Ilić:
Janikowski vs Gustafsson:
You can also check out the ceremonial weigh-ins here or watch below:
Scott Askham (185.0) vs Mamed Khalidov (185.0) - KSW Middleweight Title
Michał Materla (186.0) vs Aleksandar Ilić (186.0) - Middleweight
Damian Janikowski (186.0) vs Andreas Gustafsson (186.0) - Middleweight
Tomasz Romanowski (171.0) vs Ion Surdu (172.0*) - Welterweight
Damian Stasiak (136.0) vs Patryk Surdyn (136.0) - Bantamweight
Przemysław Mysiala (209.0) vs Stipe Bekavac (207.0) - 209lb Catchweight
Krystian Kaszubowski (171lb) vs Jakub Kamieniarz (171lb) - Welterweight
Sylwia Juśkiewicz (114lb) vs Karolina Wójcik (114lb) - Strawweight
KSW 55: Askham vs Khalidov takes place this Saturday, October 10th. The event begins at 2:00pm EST for those of us in the U.S. and will be available for purchase through KSW’s proprietary media channel as well as on FITE.tv.