KSW 39: A Recap of the Monumental Event

We are now two days removed from KSW 39: Colosseum, an event billed as the second largest of its kind ever in the world. As cliche as it may sound, it was a true rollercoaster of a night filled with action, knockouts, ‘freakshow’ fights, controversy and quality fights, all witnessed by the best part of 60,000 people gathered at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland.


The surprise of the evening came when Polish fan favourite Marcin Rozalski (7-4) won the heavyweight title when he landed a one-punch KO on Fernando Rodrigues Jr. (11-3), who face-planted onto the canvas. 38-year-old Rozalski entered this contest one a 1-2 run and being one of the biggest underdogs on the card. But just 16 seconds into this contest he clipped Rodrigues and proved that you shouldn’t rule anyone out in a fight.


The ‘freakshow’ aspect of some MMA cards is a sticky point with MMA fans. Some like the traditional aspect of the sport while some fans enjoy the added entertainment these fights bring. Popek Monster (3-2) vs. Robert Burneika (2-1) is the quintessential freakshow  fight. It pitted a rapper, who is covered in tattoos (even his eyeballs) and self scared, versus a monstrous bodybuilder.

The reason promotion make these sort of fights is that they generally provide entertainment and help sell tickets. You can’t argue with this business model.

This fight lasted all of 45 seconds. It was short, sweet and entertaining. It did its job perfectly and with Popek winning it builds him up for another big KSW fight in the near future.


On the other end of the spectrum we had the high class fights involving some of the best fighters around. It is this balance of entertaining plus quality is what makes KSW so successful.

The main event saw middleweight champ Mamed Khalidov (34-4) squeak out a decision win over welterweight champ Borys Mankowski (19-6) in a back and forth contest. Khalidov kept Mankowski at a distance with a variety of kicks to win the first round but Mankowski came out strong in the second round getting in close and landing some heavy shots. It was such a close fight that perhaps a last minute takedown from Khalidov probably won him the fight. Mankowski lost nothing in this fight, I would argue he rose to the occasion and gave Khalidov one of his toughest fights in years.

Tomasz Narkun (14-2) retained his light heavyweight title with another stoppage victory once again proving he is one of Europe’s top 205’ers. He secured his fifth straight first round stoppage victory with a triangle choke over Marcin Wojcek (10-5).

Kleber Koike Erbst (22-4) defeated Marcin Wrzosek (12-4) to win the featherweight title in a high quality scrap between two of the division’s leading fighters. Kicking off the night Ariane Lipski (9-3) put on an absolute clinic when she beat Diana Belbita (8-3) via submission in the first round.


Another of the nights quality fights – Norman Parke (23-6) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (13-0) – not only delivered in being entertaining but also provided controversy. In the second round Gamrot supposedly bit on Parke’s finger to which the referee recognised and called a timeout but did not deduct a point. It was a razor thin fight, one in which Gamrot got the nod, but had he been deducted the point then Norman Parke could now very well be the KSW lightweight champion.

A rematch perhaps?


40-year-old Mariusz Pudzianowski (11-5) put on one of his mot complete performances to date when defeated former strongman rival Tyberiusz Kowalczyk (3-1) in the main event of the evening. ‘Pudzian’ outclassed his opponent throwing some haymakers, thumping leg kicks and even a teep, on the mat he dominated and landed some vicious ground and pound until it became too much for Kowalczyk.


Warsaw’s own and KSW’s original champ Lukasz Jurkowski (16-10) came out of a seven year retirement for this event and faced MMA veteran Sokoudjou (18-17). It looked like it was all over for ‘Juras’ in the second round but the local hero fought through adversity to clinch the decision win.

Damian Janikowski (1-0) might have an Olympic medal in wrestling but it was his striking which won him the fight. In his MMA debut he TKO’d American Julio Gallegos (8-8) in the first round catching him with a knee then swarming him with punches.

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