KSW kick off their 2019 schedule on Saturday 23rd March and if this year’s offering is just as good as last year’s, MMA fans are in for a lot of fun! The promotion, which is best known for their stunning production and for having a range of fights that appeal to different audiences, returns to Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland for a night filled with intriguing bouts. In previous events, fans have been treated to The Circus of Pain, The Colosseum and The Game but on Saturday, it is the turn of The X-Warriors to take centre stage. The card features 3 different Olympic medalists, a clash between champions of two different weight divisions and a fight that is being billed as ‘the strongest fight in MMA history.’
The evening is headlined by a battle for the KSW heavyweight title as reigning champion, Phil De Fries (16-6), defends his belt against KSW light heavyweight champion, Tomasz Narkun (16-2). De Fries has turned his career around since joining the promotion and has finished two of Poland’s best heavyweights in Michal Andryszak and Karol Bedorf on his route to the belt. He has finished 12 of his 16 professional wins by submission so will be looking to take his opponent to the mat so he can implement his dangerous top game. The Englishman believes that Narkun likes to pull guard but thinks that when having a far bigger man than he is used to on top of him, Narkun will get very tired until the stoppage comes.
Compared to his last two fights, this time around the roles have been completely reserved for Tomasz Narkun. When facing off against and eventually retiring Polish MMA legend, Mamed Khalidov, Narkun was the larger man looking to push aside his smaller foe. However, on Saturday night, he will be the one looking to topple the bigger opponent and become only the second fighter in KSW history to hold two different titles simultaneously. The Polish fighter also has 12 submission victories so every transition on the mat during this one will be fascinating to watch play out. Furthermore, the 29 year old believes that due to his size and the pace he will be able to set, De Fries will tire quicker and then become easy pickings. Will Phil De Fries’ size be the determining factor in this fight or will the speed and agility of Tomasz Narkun be too much for the heavyweight champion to keep up with? It will be extremely interesting to see how this one plays out.
In the co main event, ‘the strongest fight in MMA history’ goes down as former World’s Strongest Man, Mariusz Pudzianowski (12-6), takes on 2008 Olympic Weightlifting gold medalist, Szymon Kolecki (6-1). Pudzianowski has made no secret of the fact that he may not have many more outings in the sport left, so fans should appreciate every occasion when the popular fighter steps inside the cage. In his last fight, which was a number one contender fight for a shot at the heavyweight title, he came up short after being submitted by Karol Bedorf soon after the fight hit the ground.
Szymon Kolecki is making his KSW debut and will be looking to make an immediate impact in the promotion by taking out the mainstream star. He made his professional MMA debut in March 2017 and began with six straight wins, all of which came by knockout in the first round. However, that streak was broken in his last fight when he dropped a unanimous decision to Michal Bobrowski. Pudzianowski is a big step up compared to other opponents Kolecki has faced so he will need to be on the top of his game to compete with the strongman. Polish MMA pioneer, Miroslaw Okninski, has trained both men and has claimed that Mariusz will be surprised by how hard Kolecki hits and stated that he believes Pudzianowski quits when things don’t go his way. With the amount of power and mass being thrown around in this one, the cage had best be reinforced come fight night!
Another key bout sees former KSW welterweight champion, Borys Mankowski (19-7), take on Northern Ireland’s Norman Parke (25-6-1 1NC) who is stepping up in weight to compete at 170 lbs. Mankowski has faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines after his comeback attempts have all been thwarted due to injury. His original opponent for this card was due to be Dricus Du Plessis but he fell out with his own injury worries a few weeks ago. ‘The Tasmanian Devil’ has moved to Thailand as part of this camp in the hope of reinventing himself to recapture the form that saw him take the title and consequently had him touted as the next big star in the promotion.
After having a fight outside of the organisation and briefly signing with Bellator, Parke returns to KSW hoping to make his second run even more impactful than the first. The tough 32 year old hasn’t been stopped in a fight since March 2010, which is testament to how tough he is inside the cage. Parke has history with Mankowski’s close friend, Mateusz Gamrot, which adds more spice to this contest as it was Mankowski who he had an altercation with after Parke’s second fight against Gamrot. With a victory, Mankowski can put himself right back into the welterweight title picture, whereas Parke could look to set up a lucrative trilogy match up with Gamrot if he impresses here.
KSW made headlines last month when they announced that they had signed the Japanese Olympic gold medalist judoka, Satoshi Ishii (19-8-1). The promotion didn’t waste any time getting him booked and he certainly hasn’t been given a gimme for his debut. He is taking on former KSW heavyweight champion, Fernando Rodrigues (12-4), who has big power in his hands proven by finishing 8 of his 12 professional victories by knockout. Ishii will be looking to take this fight to the floor and look to establish grappling superiority to catapult himself straight into title contention. He is riding a four fight winning streak, all of which have been finishes inside the first round, and owns a win over Phil De Fries in 2014 which has a ready made storyline for a potential clash down the road. Rodrigues rebounded from two back to back first round KO losses when he defeated James McSweeney outside of the promotion last May.
Other notable bouts on the card see Damian Janikowski (3-1) looking to bounce straight back from the first loss of his career at the hands of Polish hero, Michal Materla, as he takes on Serbian newcomer, Aleksandar Ilic (10-2). Fan favourite, Marcin ‘The Polish Zombie’ Wrzosek (13-5) brings his all action style back to the cage when he faces Krzysztof Klaczek (12-5) and Karolina Owczarz (1-0) returns to compete in Lodz when she squares off against Marta Chojnoska (1-1) who hasn’t competed in MMA since 2013.
KSW 47 can be purchased at kswtv.com and starts streaming at 6pm GMT on Saturday night. WHOA TV will be in attendance at Atlas Arena so stay tuned for fight night coverage all weekend long.
The full KSW 47 card includes:
Heavyweight Title – Phil De Fries (16-6 1NC) v Tomasz Narkun (16-2)
Heavyweight – Mariusz Pudzianowski (12-6 1NC) v Szymon Kolecki (6-1)
Welterweight – Borys Mankowski (19-7-1) v Norman Parke (25-6-1 1NC)
Heavyweight – Fernando Rodrigues (12-4) v Satoshi Ishii (19-8-1)
Middleweight – Damian Janikowski (3-1) v Aleksandar Ilic (10-2)
Featherweight – Marcin Wrzosek (13-5) v Krzysztof Klaczek (12-5)
Women’s Flyweight – Karolina Owczarz (1-0) v Marta Chojnoska (1-1)
Lightweight – Maciej Kazieczko (4-1) v Bartlomiej Kopera (9-4)
Bantamweight – Dawid Gralka (6-2) v Pawel Politylo (2-1)