This fight card is already awesome! #KSW45??
— KSW (@KSW_MMA) July 30, 2018
Dricus Du Plessis vs. Roberto Soldic II
In a welterweight title rematch, South African finishing-machine Dricus “Stillknocks” Du Plessis will look to shock the world by finishing former champion Roberto “Robocop” Soldic yet again.
24-year-old Du Plessis (12-1) is a winner of eight-straight. He signed with KSW as an EFC two-weight champion late last year, making his debut in a welterweight title fight against 23-year-old striking sensation Roberto Soldic.
Du Plessis picked up the third knockout win of his career against a man known for his striking. As the well-rounded grappler “Stillknocks” finished Soldic with punches early in round two.
Soldic (13-3) entered the KSW ranks in a similar situation to Du Plessis. The Croatian joined the promotion whilst tearing it up on the European scene, winning six-straight all via knockout. This includes a Superior FC title win.
Du Plessis was supposed to challenge champion Borys Mankowski in his debut at KSW 41 in December last year. But, due to a hand injury, he could not make the fight. In his place on short-notice stepped in a relatively unknown Roberto Soldic.
Soldic stunned the world and all of Poland by starching the reigning king, finishing him by corner stoppage after a round three beatdown.
Mamed Khalidov Vacates
The biggest legend in the history of Polish MMA, Mamed Khalidov (34-5-2) is vacating his middleweight crown. The reason behind this; Khalidov is getting up there in age and can’t fight as frequently. Because of that, he doesn’t want to hold back such a stacked division.
Oh, and he is targetting light heavyweight gold and a rematch against the first man to defeat him in nearly a decade; Tomasz Narkun. The two fought in a title vs. title fight back in March. After two strong rounds for Khalidov, Narkun picked up the shocking submission win over in round three.
“I can’t fight as often as I did when I was young and I don’t want to block the most stacked division in KSW,” Khalidov said in a statement to MMA Fighting. “The tournament shall crown the new KSW middleweight champion while I am interested in only one fight right now, I am focused on trying to get a rematch with KSW light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun.”
From 2005 to 2017, Khalidov went an insane 30-1-2 inside KSW and other Polish-based promotions. Along the way, he picked up wins over veterans Luke Barnatt, Maiquel Falcao, Kendall Grove, Rodney Wallace, Jesse Taylor, James Irvin, Matt Lindland, Igor Pokrajac, Tor Troeng, and Jorge Santiago.
His resume includes other spectacular names, however. As Khalidov has also taken out the likes of Borys Mankowski, Melvin Manhoef, Ryuta Sakurai, Brett Cooper, and fellow KSW legend Michal Materla.
Middleweight Tournament to Crown New Champion
With Mamed Khalidov’s three-year title reign coming to an abrupt end, KSW has done their best to make the most of this situation. Knowing they have a stacked middleweight division in front of them, the promotion will hold a four-man middleweight tournament.
“When Mamed decided to relinquish the belt, setting up the four-man tournament was the most exciting way to crown the new champion,” KSW co-owner Maciej Kawulski said in a statement to MMA Fighting. “The tournament consists of renowned stars like former KSW champion Michal Materla, the UK’s number one middleweight Scott Askham as well as young wolves like Olympic medalist Damian Janikowski and former light heavyweight contender Marcin Wojcik. This field guarantees a series of thrilling high-level fights.”
Damian Janikowski vs. Michal Materla
Olympic medalist wrestler Damian Janikowski (3-0) has impressed greatly since signing with KSW to make his mixed martial arts debut. In his first 11 months as a pro, Janikowski absolutely starched all three of his opponents.
After a stellar debut against Julio Gallegos, the promotion threw Janikowski to the wolves by giving him a 50-fight veteran in just his second fight. The Polish wrestling standout dominated Antoni Chmielewski en route to a second-round TKO win. Most recently, Janikowski knocked out former EFC and BAMMA title-holder Yannick Bahati in just 18-seconds.
Opposite him will be one of the greatest fighters Poland has ever seen. Former middleweight champion; Michal Materla.
Since losing his title to Khalidov in one of the most hyped fights in KSW history, Michal Materla (26-6) has gone 4-1 inside the KSW cage. This includes KO wins over UFC-veterans Rousimar Palhares and Paulo Thiago.
After a quick 69-second upset loss to Scott Askham earlier this year, Materla rebounded by finishing Martin Zawada back in June.
Scott Askham vs. Marcin Wojcik
The lone non-Pole in the tournament, England’s Scott Askham (16-4) is looking to keep the momentum going heading into KSW 45. And he will undoubtedly be the crowd favorite considering the tournament begins right in his backyard.
Since being released from the UFC in 2017, Askham has gone on to win two straight. This includes a win over Luke Barnatt in an ACB headliner, as well as a shocking KSW debut earlier this year when he took out Michal Materla early with nasty liver kicks.
Marcin Wojcik (11-5) has gone 9-1 in his last ten, with the sole loss coming against light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun whilst fighting up a division. He is, without question, the dark horse of this tournament. And alongside him is three big names in which defeating would do massive things for his career.
KSW 45 is slated to go down on October 6, live from the SSE Arena, Wembley in London, England. The event will – fittingly – be dubbed “KSW 45: The Return to Wembley.”