KSW has always had a knack for doing things big. Like, really big. And for this event, they’re going about it in a different way.
While this isn’t the biggest main event in terms of size and girth, they’ve got two of their biggest stars ever squaring off. Middleweight legend Mamed Khalidov, an extraordinary talent that has built and maintained a magnificent legacy in KSW, meets former strongman and brutal heavyweight Mariusz Pudzianowski at the top of the card.
It should be noted that Khalidov (35-8, 2 draws) had retired from the sport, only to return and recapture the middleweight strap from Scott Askham in 2020. He then suffered a massive loss at the hands of Roberto Soldić, and is now looking to have another bonkers bout in a weight class that isn’t his own against an aging yet still hungry Mariusz Pudzianowski. Pudzian (17-7) is now riding a five-fight win streak, all of them finishes. And a lot of those finishes might not be pretty, but they’re getting the job done and not leaving any doubts. The muscle man turned MMA fighter is actually doing pretty great with what’s being handed, and exceeding expectations.
Khalidov is just cut from another cloth. Despite his recent stumbles, he’s been looking amazing when he shines. Maybe age has slowed him down more than it has Pudzianowski, and it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with Pudzian’s size and strength with all the forward pressure. But he’s a grizzled veteran with some great fight IQ and a lot of tricks up his sleeve with a vicious ground game.
It’s not a title bout, but a hell of an attraction fight that really has a “why not?“ feel to it. Worth checking out, at least in my book.
There’s two excellent title fights on the card, though. Let’s not forget them.
First up is a great bantamweight showdown between Sebastian Przybysz (10-2) and Jakub Wikłacz (13-3, 1 draw). Sebastian is on a six-fight win streak (four of those being some great finishes) and will be making his third title defense in this outing, which we should expect big things from.
This is a rematch from a bout in 2020 where Sebastian crushed Jakub with body shots. It’s even more impressive in retrospect when you look at how well he’s rebounded with three straight wins. His submission acumen is to be respected as well, and it’s an excellent title fight between two red-hot talents.
Light heavyweight gold is also on the line, as Ibragim Chuzhigaev (16-5) makes his first title defense against Ivan Erslan (12-1). Chuzhigaev had a fight of the night performance in capturing the belt from Tomasz Narkun with a grueling decision victory. He’s got great hands, dynamite takedowns and good ground control, which will suit him well as he’ll be tested by Erslan. How, exactly? Erslan’s got a habit of running a wild pace and landing with big power.
Featherweights Daniel Rutkowski (14-3) and Lom-Ali Eskijew (20-5) get to duke it out in what should be another banger and potential fight of the night. Not only that, but the winner could be in the title conversation as well.
Also on the card will be a rematch between wonderful prospects Yann Liasse (8-1, 1 no contest) and Adrian Gralak (5-0, 1 no contest), as their last bout ended due to an unintentional foul to Gralak. Hopefully things end in a more definitive manner as they run it back.
In case you were wondering, the KSW trailers are still as dope as ever.
You can check out the weigh-ins here, cued to the moment they begin:
Full card is as follows:
Mamed Khalidov (93.3 kg/206 lb) vs. Mariusz Pudzianowski (117.5 kg/259 lb) - Heavyweight
Sebastian Przybysz (61.1 kg/135 lb) vs. Jakub Wiklacz (61.1 kg/135 lb) - KSW bantamweight title
Ibragim Chuzhigaev (93 kg/205 lb) vs. Ivan Erslan (92.8 kg/205 lb) - KSW Light heavyweight title
Daniel Rutkowski (66.2 kg/146 lb) vs. Lom-Ali Eskiev (66.3 kg/146 lb) - Featherweight
Andrzej Grzebyk (79.1 kg/174 lb) vs. Oton Jasse (79.6 kg/175 lb) - 80kg/176lb catchweight
Patryk Kaczmarczyk (66.3 kg/146 lb) vs. Pascal Hintzen (66 kg/145 lb) - Featherweight
Bohdan Gnidko (93.4 kg/206 lb) vs. Madalin Pirvulescu (92.5 kg/204 lb) - Light heavyweight
Michal Domin (66.3 kg/146 lb) vs. Patryk Likus (65.5 kg/144 lb) - Featherweight
Yann Liasse (70.7 kg/156 lb) vs. Adrian Gralak (70.5 kg/155 lb) - Lightweight
Shamad Erzanukaev (61.6 kg/136 lb) vs. Carl McNally (61.5 kg/136 lb) - Bantamweight
Wiktoria Czyżewska (61 kg/134 lb) vs. Oleksandra Karasova (60.9 kg/134 lb) - Bantamweight
KSW 77: Mamed vs Pudzian takes place this Saturday, starting at 1:00pm EST for those of us stateside. This event will be streaming internationally, live from KSW’s web player.