KSW 49 was the European promotion’s third event of the year so far and it was arguably the best yet. Fans leaving Ergo Arena saw a bit of everything: thrilling back and forth contests, highlight reel finishes and dominant performances. The theatrics and high quality production were on display once again which is one of the things that makes KSW stand out from its competitors. The bout order was given a last minute shake up due to concerns about trouble with opposing Polish football teams fans so the original main event and co-main were switched on the night.
In the evening’s main event, Roberto Soldic demonstrated once again why many consider him the hardest hitting welterweight in the world, regardless of promotion. Coming in, both men had knocked their opponent out in all of their KSW wins so many were expecting one of the competitors to be left unconscious in the middle of the cage. After a very brief feeling out process, Soldic landed a massive left hand that was timed perfectly to meet Kaszubowski coming in which sealed a successful title defence from the Bosnian. His victory was the cherry on the cake for UFD Gym who went undefeated at 4-0 on the night so they are most certainly a camp on the rise. No clear contenders have been established in the KSW welterweight division so the promotion could well have to look elsewhere to try and find someone who could challenge Soldic who is quickly becoming one of the best talents outside of the major American promotions.
The rematch between Scott Askham and Michal Materla for the vacant KSW middleweight title was highly anticipated and the fight majorly delivered in what was an absolute thriller. The action was back and forth throughout with both men looking dangerous and only being a few strikes away from ending the contest. Askham hurt Materla early with an almost identical body kick to the one that put the Polish star away in their first clash. However, this time Materla fired back with his own punches that stunned Askham which the former KSW champion capitalised on by throwing the Brit and landing in side control. From there, Askham established rubber guard and was always looking to land blows from his back.
Both men landed some solid strikes at the start of the second before Materla landed another takedown. When Askham got back to his feet, he was dropped from a big Materla punch that looked as though it could have brought the contest to an end. Materla was visibly exhausted in the third frame and Askham landed some very good combinations to leave his opponent staggering around the cage. A knee directly to the chin was the fight ending blow from the Englishman which sent the travelling ‘Askham Army’ wild. It was a contest fitting of a tournament final and Aleksandar Ilic could well be Askham’s first title defence later this year.
In a clash of Polish heavyweights, Damian Grabowski pulled off the upset of the night as he defeated former KSW champion, Karol Bedorf, by a second round TKO. Early on in the first round, Grabowski dropped Bedorf with a leg kick and looked to land heavy shots on the ground. Bedorf, who has had serious knee injuries in the past, was then dropped by another leg kick in the final few moments of the opening frame. In the second, Grabowski came out swinging before being taken down by his adversary. Bedorf progressed into mount and things weren’t looking good for the UFC veteran until Grabowski reversed position and took mount himself. From there, he landed a number of vicious elbows which he followed up with punches before the contest was waved off. Bedorf now appears to be at a major crossroads in his career while Grabowski has thrown his name into the hat to get the next shot at Phil De Fries’ belt.
Next up, Norman Parke made a quick turnaround as he defeated former KSW featherweight champion, Artur Sowinski, by unanimous decision at a 163 lbs catchweight in his journey back down to lightweight. In the first round, Sowinski fended off some early takedown attempts from Parke but eventually succumbed to the ‘TUF Smashes’ winner’s pressure as he ended up on his back. Parke then worked from the full guard up until the first horn. The rest of the fight followed a similar pattern as the Northern Irishman’s grappling proved to be the difference. Parke didn’t do much damage but controlled position enough to earn the victory and he now hopes to compete for a lightweight title later this year.
In the evening’s other notable action, Erko Jun improved to 3-0 with three knockouts as it only took him 36 seconds to finish Akop Szostak. He fired off a big right hand that dropped his opponent and then followed up with a series of unanswered punches until the referee had seen enough. This result meant that Jun added another mainstream Polish star to his record and will have no doubt gained more fans in the process. Thiago Silva and Martin Zawada had an absolute war in their fight which saw the German take a unanimous decision victory. Zawada dropped Silva twice in the first two rounds before Silva gained momentum in the final stanza as he pushed forward aggressively, landing a number of hard body shots on his opponent.
Furthermore, UFC veteran, Luis Henrique, made a successful KSW debut as he defeated Michal Andryszak by technical submission. The referee, Leon Roberts, appeared to mistakenly think that the Polish heavyweight went limp when in reality he never lost consciousness. Anton Racic moved to 3-0 in KSW as he defeated Pawel Politylo by split decision in their rematch. If the promotion introduce a bantamweight title later this year, Racic has to be at the front of the line to compete for it.
KSW will return for their landmark 50th show on September 14th from Wembley Arena with heavyweight champion, Phil De Fries, light heavyweight title holder, Tomasz Narkun and middleweight standout, Damian Janikowski, all featuring. More bouts will be announced over the coming weeks.
Full KSW 49 results:-
Roberto Soldic defeated Krystian Kaszubowski by KO at 1:25 of round one to retain the KSW welterweight title
Scott Askham defeated Michal Materla by KO at 1:23 of round three to claim the vacant KSW middleweight title
Damian Grabowski defeated Karol Bedorf by TKO at 3:56 of round two
Norman Parke defeated Artur Sowinski by unanimous decision
Erko Jun defeated Akop Szostak by TKO at 0:36 of round one
Martin Zawada defeated Thiago Silva by unanimous decision
Antun Racic defeated Pawel Politylo by split decision
Luis Henrique defeated Michal Andryszak by technical submission at 4:52 of round one
Leszek Krakowski defeated Michael Dubois via majority decision