When I think of MMA and Poland I think of KSW and crazily entertaining MMA contests. KSW is the biggest MMA promotion in the country and arguably even Europe. Two fighters that immediately spring to mind when thinking of the KSW promotion are Mariusz Pudzianowski and Mamed Khalidov.
Thinking of the UFC’s first foray into Eastern Europe got me thinking of the potential of crazy fights the promotion could do (but wont) if they adopted the KSW style of matchmaking. In saying that, the match-up between Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzago a month ago would be preposterous. Regardless, lets get crazy here and have some fun with our imaginations.
5. Mariusz Pudzianowski (8-3, 1 NC) vs. Konstantin Erokhin (9-2)
‘Pudzian’ is a former multiple time worlds strongest man and has become infamous in the world of ‘spectacle MMA’ through his fights with the likes of Butterbean, Tim Sylvia, James Thompson and Bob Sapp. The 37-year-old is 5-1 since 2012 and holds wins over former UFC heavyweights Oli Thompson and Sean McCorkle in that time.
Erokhin recently made his UFC debut at UFC on FOX 14 but lost a decision to Viktor Pesta, his first loss since his professional debut back in early 2012. The Russian holds wins over notable opponents such as Dave Huckaba, Sokoudjou and Brett Rogers. A fight between these two will never happen and is one of the most less likely from the list but a UFC card in Poland would be INSANE with Pudzianowski on it.
4. Tomasz Drwal (24-4-1) vs. Nikita Krylov (18-4)
Drwal is 4-0 since his UFC release back in 2010. He enjoyed mixed success in the promotion going 3-3 but having won his last four fight coupled with his finishing rate of 86% (including 14 in the first round) it is hard to ignore that it could be time for the 33-year-old to make a return.
I can think of no one better than Nikita Krylov to welcome him back to the promotion. The youngster has been part of one of the most entertaining runs in recent UFC memory going 3-2 and although all the results haven’t went his way all of his fights have provided some notable moments including 1st round KO’s, headkicks, unorthodox submissions and a 4 first round finishes, in fact only one fight of his 22 professional outings has went past the 1st round.
3. Michal Materla (21-4) vs. Tim Boetsch (18-8)
The Polish submission machine and current KSW champ has enjoyed a long and successful run in KSW going 12-2 in the promotion. I believe the UFC would be silly not to snap this guy up. Has an impressive 71% finishing rate (with 12 submissions) and has been involved with some wars.
Another guy who has been in wars is the ever durable Tim Boetsch. Fresh off his ‘Fight of the Night’ performance at UFC 183 last weekend he could be the ideal opponent for Materla to face. The American is incredibly tough and hard to finish and is no stranger to stopping his opponents with hammering punches or grinding them into submission.
2. Karol Bedorf (11-2) vs. Todd Duffee (9-2)
Bedorf has got to be signed by the UFC for this card. The 31-year-old has won his past five fights, including wins over Oli Thompson and Rolles Gracie, and has shown that he is a machine at heavyweight.
Todd Duffee needs no introduction. This 29-year-old made an emphatic return to MMA after a career threatening illness to steam-role his opponent Anthony Hamilton in just 33 seconds of the opening round. A match-up between these two screams fireworks!
1. Mamed Khalidov (30-4-2) vs. Gegard Mousasi (36-5-2)
Khalidov is one of the best fighters in the world not signed to the UFC. It is rumoured that he has rejected a number of contract offers by the promotion to join them which all adds to his appeal. His resumé is littered with victims such as Manhoef, Sakurai, Lindland, Irvin and many more. It would be a shame if he never fights in the UFC.
With some like Khalidov there has got to be an equal opponent that welcomes him into the UFC and while my first choice would be Vitor Belfort I want to be somewhat realistic here and say Gegard Mousasi. The 29-year-old has been everywhere and fought everyone and I think that this new challenge would fit in perfectly with his storied career.