KSW 50 event round-up and results

MMAHIGHLIGHTED 15.09.2019 18:08h Author:

Tomasz Narkun KSW 50

KSW showed their intent to expand on the brand throughout Europe by holding their anniversary show at Wembley Arena in London last night. With the announcement earlier in the evening that the next event will be held in Zagreb, Croatia, the Polish based powerhouse firmly has their sights set on conquering the European market. With Bellator venturing into Europe, KSW could prove a worthy competitor to Scott Coker’s promotion. However, rumblings of cross-promotion fights could mean that a KSW/Bellator collaboration may be the way forward to strengthen the prospect of conquering the European MMA scene.

At last night’s KSW 50 event, Phil De Fries retained his heavyweight title with a gruelling five round main event fight against Brazil’s Luis Henrique and, in doing so, extended his winning streak to six. In the co-main event, light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun scored an exciting first round submission win over Przemyslaw Mysiala, and Northern Ireland’s Norman Parke struck gold on the third attempt to became the interim lightweight champion with a decision win over ’The Polish Zombie’ Marcin Wrzosek.

Elsewhere on the card Roberto Soldic overcame a very tough Michal Pietrzak and South Africa’s P4P king Dricus Du Plessis and Polish sporting icon, Damian Janikowski both got back to winning ways.

Kicking off proceedings we saw the return of Irish media darling and MMA ambassador Catherine Costigan as she returned to action for the first time since beating Wendy McKenna by split decision at Cage Warriors 81 in March 2017. Known for her toughness and gritty style of fighting, Costigan is a natural atomweight but stepped up to strawweight for her KSW debut against another KSW debutant in Poland’s Aleksandra Rola.

In what was a cagey start to proceedings, both fighters were trying to find their range in a tentative opening with Rola the busier and landing more significant strikes than her Irish counterpart. Towards the end of the first, Rola finished strong and landed a big elbow which Costigan seemingly shrugged off by counterattacking with a knee to close out the first-round.

The second-round began with Rola continuing where she left off towards the end of the first. Grasping the head of Costigan, Rola landed a series of big knees before switching to strikes. The prolonged attack was enough for referee Leon Roberts as he jumped in to stop the fight at 0:50 of the second round.

In the next fight of the evening, South Africa’s P4P top ranked fighter Dricus du Plessis returned to action following last years defeat to Roberto Soldić at KSW 45. As the former KSW welterweight champion and current two-weight EFC champion, du Plessis arrived at this fight with a 100% finishing ratio, which includes 4 TKO/KO and 8 submission finishes.

Returning to the scene of his last defeat, du Plessis faced Joilton Santos. At just 26-years old, Santos had already amassed an incredible 30-7 record as a professional. An extremely well-round fighter, Santos took to the ring for his KSW debut on an impressive 17-1 run.

With both fighters looking light on their feet, the feeling out process began early on with Santos getting the first takedown three minutes into the fight. After gaining control on the ground, du Plessis struck with a knee when the fight returned to the feet. With another big takedown from Santos in the first, the Brazilian was saved by the bell as du Plessis looked to get the submission to maintain his 100% finishing rate.

In what was panning out to be an evenly matched fight, du Plessis began the second round with a big spinning kick that put Santos on the back foot. After the even start, du Plessis started to take control in the second landing some heavy elbows whilst looking for the guillotine.

Santos was unable to fend off a dominant showing by the South African with du Plessis got the win towards the end of the third round. Looking for the submission, du Plessis landed a series of unanswered strikes from a dangerous position on the ground before referee Marc Goddard had seen enough and drew a finish to the fight.

The third fight of the evening saw an intriguing match-up as the highly experienced Antoni Chmielewski entered the ring for his 50th professional fight against explosive Englishman, Jason Radcliffe.

As a veteran of the sport for sixteen years, Chmielewski was the winner of the KSW 2 and 3 tournaments in 2004 and 2005 respectively. In Jason Radcliffe, Chmielewski was facing a man with a ‘kill or be killed’ approach to fighting. Making his KSW debut, Radcliffe has previously completed on Cage Warriors, Bellator and UCMMA events.

In what was a lively fight of contrasting styles, the predominantly Polish crowd were less than impressed when it was announced that Radcliffe had taken the unanimous decision victory with all three judges scoring the fight 29-28 in favour of the Englishman.

With his wild attacks, Chmielewski is a fighter always looking to engage and things were no different tonight. Sometimes looking sloppy in his attempts to mix it up with Radcliffe, Chmielewski started to assert pressure in the first landing some big kicks and continuing with his gung-ho striking style.

The first round finished with Radcliffe exerting his own spell of pressure. Landing with a big shot, Chmielewski seemed unsteady on his feet. Fortunately for the Polish fighter, the bell was his saviour.

Continuing in much the same vein as the first-round, the crowd cheered in anticipation every time Chmielewski came charging forward with his next onslaught in the second and third rounds. However, Radcliffe’s calm manor and ability to quickly read the danger signs of any oncoming assault was enough to see him finish the fight relatively unscathed.

The decibel levels inside the SSE Arena raised a considerable amount when Polish sporting icon Damian Janikowski made his way into the ring. The Greco Roman wrestling bronze medallist at the 2012 Olympics in London made his MMA debut in front of 58,000 people at KSW 39 back in 2017. Coming into this fight on a two-fight losing streak, Janikowski had every intention of getting tonight’s fight done in quick time.

His opponent this evening is Tony Giles. A UK combat sports veteran with a background in K1, Giles made his MMA debut in 2009 and is competing tonight following a KO/TKO victory over Aaron Jones at WCMMA 34 in October 2018.

Twenty seconds into the fight and Janikowski had effectively finished the fight when he took Giles to the ground. With his wrestling background, Janikowski dominated Giles and with just 1:24 on the clock, the referee called the fight in what seemed to be controversial circumstance.

With no visible tap from Giles, the official verdict was a verbal submission which Giles strongly refuted when talking to the media after the fight. Whether the fight would’ve lasted much longer is debatable but Janikowski returned to winning ways much to the delight of those in attendance.

The first title fight of the evening saw an evenly matched five-round battle between Norman Parke and Marcin Wrzosek. With the interim lightweight title on the line, Parke was determined to make it third time lucky in attempting to gain a KSW title.

After two previous attempts not coming to fruition against Mateusz Gamrot, Parke came into this one on a 6-1 (1NC) streak since leaving the UFC in 2016. Facing a late replacement in Marcin ‘The Polish Zombie’ Wrzosek, Parke dug deep to finally take KSW gold and set up what surely has to be his next fight, a unification trilogy bout against the current lightweight champion Mateusz Gamrot.

In what was a tentative start to the fight, with both Parke and The Polish Zombie trying to find their respective ranges, it was Parke who struck with the first real threat in the fight with a big takedown attempt late in the first. The second round played out a similar pattern and it wasn’t really until the third that things started to heat up a little. With five-rounds a real prospect in this one, the takedown defence and grappling from both fighters was of an extremely high level throughout.

Trying and achieving a takedown was proving nigh on impossible for both as the fight drew to close. Wrzosek did manage a takedown late in the fifth but it proved futile in what was an enthralling tactical five-round encounter.

KO specialist and regarded as one of the top prospects in the MMA world, Roberto Soldić faced an 80kg catchweight bout with Michal Pietrzak after original opponent Patrik Kincl had to withdraw late on from what would have been Soldić’s second defence of the welterweight title since regaining the belt from Dricus du Plessis.

With fourteen of his fifteen stoppages coming by way of KO/TKO, Soldić faced a durable replacement in Pietrzak. Making his KSW debut, Pietrzak is one of Poland’s top grapplers and comes into what is his toughest fight to date against the feared Soldić on a three-fight winning streak.

After cutting Pietrzak early in the first, many thought that this would be another short night’s work for Soldić but Pietrzak dug deep to take the welterweight champion the full three-rounds for what was the first time in the Croatian’s KSW career. There was always the sense that Soldić was winding up to unleash hell on Pietrzak but whenever he did, the Polish fighter bit down on his mouth guard to survive the attacks.

It came as no real surprise when the unanimous decision was announced in favour of the Croatian champion. The real surprise was the fact that Soldić was taken the distance for the first time since losing by split decision against Yaroslav Amosov at Teck-Krep FC – Prime Selection 8 in June 2016

KSW legend and light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun returned to action in his natural division after a failed attempt at taking the heavyweight crown from tonight’s headliner, Phil De Fries. Widely regarded as one of the best light heavyweights in the world, Narkun faced the experienced Przemysław Mysiala in what was his fourth title defence since taking the belt from Goran Reljic at KSW 32 in October 2015

Undefeated since 2013, Przemysław Mysiala is a Bellator and BAMMA veteran having also competed on TUF 28 at heavyweight. Based in London, Mysiala was in for a tough night at the office as a dominant Narkun submitted him by way of guillotine at 4:03 of the first round.

Backed by an army of fans, Narkun started the fight with menacing intent before unleashing all sorts of pain on Mysiala. Connecting with a big shot that sent Mysiala crashing to the canvas, Narkun bounced on Mysiala to set up and sink in the guillotine to retain the light heavyweight title.

With one title defended, we moved onto the main event for another fighter hoping to defend his KSW title. Heavyweight champion Phil De Fries was on a five-fight win streak prior to this evening’s third defence of the heavyweight crown since taking the vacant title after beating Michał Andryszak at KSW 43 in April last year.

Originally scheduled to defend his title against Damian Grabowski, De Fries took to the ring tonight against Brazilian UFC veteran, Luis Henrique. Competing in the UFC between 2015 and 2018, Henrique made his debut in the Octagon against another debutant in the shape of a certain Francis Ngannou. As many have found out, Henrique was on the wrong end of a KO defeat against the now ranked number two UFC heavyweight in the world.

Unfortunately, tonight’s main event was lacking in any real action in the opening three rounds in a fight that was understandable very heavy on the grappling. Due to the explosive nature and devastating power of a heavyweight, both fighters were very cautious and rightly so. This didn’t bode well though for those in attendance as many fans streamed out of the SSE Arena before the main event had drawn to a conclusion.

With jeers and boo’s ringing out, De Fries and Luis Henrique continued to play out the tentative finale to the KSW anniversary event. When the fight was out of the clinch, Luis Henrique looked a dangerous customer but ultimately it was the champion De Fries who came out on top as he took control in the latter stages of the split decision victory to retain his heavyweight title.

KSW 50 – Official Results
Saturday 14th September 2019
SSE Arena, Wembley, London

Main Event
KSW Heavyweight Title
Champion Phil De Fries (18-6) beat Luis Henrique (12-6)
by split decision (49-46, 49-46, 47-48)

Co-Main Event
KSW Light Heavyweight Title
Champion Tomasz Narkun (17-3) beat Przemyslaw Mysiala (23-10-1)
by submission (guillotine) at 4:03 of round 1

80kg Catchweight
Roberto Soldic (17-3) beat Michal Pietrzak (8-4)
by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Interim KSW Lightweight Title
Norman Parke (28-6-1) beat Marcin Wrzosek (14-6)
by split decision (49-46, 49-46, 47-48)

Damian Janikowski (4-2) beat Tony Giles (6-2)
by submission (strikes) at 1:24 of round 1

90kg Catchweight
Jason Radcliffe (16-7) beat Antoni Chmieleski (32-18)
by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Dricus Du Plessis (13-2) beat Joilton Santos (30-8)
by TKO (strikes) at 3:04 of round 3

Aleksandra Rola (3-0) beat Catherine Costigan (6-3)
by TKO (strikes) at 0:50 of round 2

KSW 51 takes place on Saturday 9th November from Arena Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia with Mariusz Pudzianowski taking on Erko Jun in the main event.