KSW 46 took place on Saturday, December 01, 2018 to a sold-out house of 15,000 in Gliwice, Poland. From beginning to end, this nine-fight card delivered. There was a mixture of highlight reel knockouts and hard-fought decisions. The event not only marked the end of KSW for 2018, but marked the end of a legendary career. A career the world of MMA will almost never see the likes of again.
Starting the Night Off With a Bang
Undefeated Polish striking prospect, Krystian Kaszubowski, took to the KSW cage for the second time as he took on another striker in Michal Michalski. Krystian actually took the fight to the ground early landing on top in side control. The fight quickly went back to the feet with Krystian landing a huge uppercut. Quick hand-speed was on display by Krystian swinging lefts and rights landing a devastating knockout blow that dropped Michalski and instantly ended the contest.
Huge Bantamweight Implications on the Line
In a huge matchup to determine a potential front-runner for the new bantamweight KSW title, 30 plus fight veteran Antun Racic battled with the young 25-year-old up and comer Sebastian Przybysz. Instantly it was noticeable the height and reach advantage was in the favor of Przybysz. The majority of the first round saw the two exchange a few strikes back and forth. Neither fighter wanted to make the first move and be on the receiving end of a counter attack. The veteran Racic attempted a few takedowns but the young Przybysz did well to defend. With about a minute to go, Racic was finally able to land a takedown. Przybysz did well defending from his back but Racic controlled enough to take the first round.
In the second round, Przybysz used the snap kick to try and keep the distance having the obvious reach/range advantage. Attempting to throw a kick, Przybysz slipped and Racic instantly jumped onto of him to take control on the ground. Przybysz still did his best to hang around with Racic on the ground, who is the better ground fighter. With about 10 seconds left, Przybysz did attempt an armbar but was not ever really locked in. Racic took the first two rounds but great heart displayed by the younger Przybysz.
Final Round of Three Round Showdown
The third round saw more of the ground with Racic resuming his control. Przybysz’s fight with Racic slipped from the strong showings in the first and second rounds. Racic stayed in control of Przybysz and drove and slid him all over the ring eventually backing him up to the cage. Strikes were strategically delivered by Racic landing on their mark. Przybysz never gave up, attempting a flying guillotine but Racic rode it out as the submission was never really put Racic in a dangerous situation. When the judgment came in, Racic was announced the winner by unanimous decision.
Former Champion Stepping up in Weight
Former featherweight champion Artur Sowinski stepped up in weight class to battle with the much taller Polish ground specialist, Kamil Szymuszowski. Losing three of his four previous bouts, Sowinski showed the mindset he needed a victory against the much taller and lengthier fighter in Szymuszowski. The first half of the initial round saw the two exchange strikes here and there. Around 2:45 to go in the first round, Sowinski got the better of the striking exchanges with a hard left-right combo. Both fighters picked their shots carefully going for precision over volume.
The second round began with the two exchanging leg kicks. Szymuszowski attempted a big kick but slipped. Sowinski pounced on him as he regained his stance, landing a few left-right hand strikes. It was obvious the size advantage was in the favor of Szymuszowski though Sowinski was winning the striking exchanges. Szymuszowski lands his biggest strike of the night with a big hook but Sowinski smiles it off and continues to implement his gameplan.
Intensity Increases for Final Round
The former champion Sowinski continued to win the striking exchanges as he had the previous two rounds. Szymuszowski definitely fought with more desperation in this round taking a bit more gambling shots. Sowinski displayed amazing footwork and head movement to stay on top of the striking engagements between the two. With less than a minute to go Szymuszowski attempted a takedown but Sowinski stuffed it and actually twisted Szymuszowski around and landed a takedown of his own with less than 10 seconds to go to seal up his unanimous decision victory.
Two Top Ranked Lightweights Battle to the End
The next bout of the evening saw former lightweight title challenger, Grzegorz Szulakowski in a three-round battle with the submission machine, Marian Ziolkowski. As always, you expect anything when Szulakowski enters the KSW cage. After about two minutes of mild striking exchanges and some well-placed leg kicks by Ziolkowski, Szulakowski threw a couple heavy strikes toward the head and a spinning back fist that almost connected. Szulakowski did land a takedown with about one minute left and tried for a heel hook with just seconds left on the clock. Szulakowski’s last victory was a first-round heel hook at KSW 41 when he submitted Kamil Szymuszowski.
The second and third rounds saw more of Ziolkowski executing well-placed leg kicks to the calf and ankle of Szulakowski. Most of the last two rounds were spent on the ground with Ziolkowski on top showing his superior ground game. He dropped a few heavy shots and elbows which were well placed and thrown in intervals. Aside from most of the last two rounds occurring on the mat, Ziolkowski landed a huge right hand about 30 seconds into the third frame that rattled Szulakowski. At the end of the bout, the judges awarded Szulakowski the hard-fought unanimous decision.
The Clash of Two Young Featherweights
The last fight of the prelims saw the 25-year-old Polish rising star Roman Szymanski battle with the 24-year-old Brazilian grinder Daniel Torres. The first round was pretty slow paced as neither fighter wanted to slip into the game plan of the other. Torres began to let loose with his hands landing some good left-right combos. Szymanski caught Torres after a wild swing and drove Torres down to the mat. Szymanski controlled the ground for the rest of the round.
The heat was turned up in the second round. Szymanski started the round with all the confidence but Torres hung in their gained confidence as the round went along locking in a very tight guillotine choke with less than ten seconds to go. The third round continued the upbeat pace with the fighters exchanging some strikes. Szymanski continued his plan of trying to get the matchup to the ground landing a takedown. He went for an Americana which was locked in very tight. Torres was somehow able to break free. Torres showed amazing resiliency with his submission defense, but no offense will not win you the round in the judges’ eyes. When decision time came, Szymanski was announced the winner via decision.
Welterweight Champion Steps in to Compete
Very few champions have the heart of KSW welterweight champion, Roberto “Robocop” Soldic to compete. Soldic stepped in on a few weeks notice, not even to headline the top of the card or defend his title, just so he can compete on KSW’s biggest card of the year. Soldic was not given an easy customer as he was given the very tough and seasoned Brazilian ground specialist, Vinicius Bohrer. As expected, Soldic came out of the gate with his top-tier striking. Bohrer weathered a few storms but could never get the upper hand on one of the top welterweights in the world. Each time Bohrer was dropped, Soldic remain composed and made the grappler rise back to his feet.
With about 30 seconds in the first round, Soldic delivers a walk-off left-hand knockout that would make Mark Hunt proud. The end was in sight early on, but Bohrer hung around for as long as possible. “I keep learning and fighting is in my blood,” Soldic told MMA Sucka after his amazing performance. The chance to compete as often as possible is what drives Soldic to remain as active as possible.
Featherweight Title Eliminator
20 year old undefeated French sensation Salahdine Parnasse took on arguably his toughest task to date as he took on “The Polish Zombie” Marcin Wrzosek. The winner of this matchup has to sit atop the challenger’s list for the featherweight title which was crowned in the co-main event of the evening.
In the first, it was evident Parnasse was the quicker striker. Zombie landed a very good straight punch that led Parnasse to go for a takedown, which he landed successfully. Parnasse looked impressive on the ground which we have not seen from him yet in KSW. Zombie spent the first two minutes or so of the second round trying takedowns. Parnasse displayed amazing takedown defense. There was a lot more grinding and cage-work in the second round. With less than one minute left, Parnasse delivered a couple hard strikes that dropped the Zombie. With 30 seconds left Parnasse locked in a body lock but the rear naked choke never really presented itself.
Final Round of Huge Matchup
The Polish Zombie is known for his non-stop grinding and brutal battles. Parnasse has kept up with the pace of the Zombie but his striking was much more on point compared to the Zombie. The one lackadaisical kick thrown by Parnasse led to an easy Zombie takedown in the middle of the cage. Parnasse showed is amazing explosive power and speed to pop up from the ground off of his hip. With a few seconds left in the battle, Zombie attempted a rolling cartwheel-type kick leading Parnasse to shrug his shoulders as the bell rang. When the judges handed in their cards it was announced Parnasse took the decision and possibly set himself up as the number one contender for the featherweight crown.
Co-Main Event to Crown Featherweight Champion
The co-main event of the evening featured former featherweight champion Kleber Koike Erbst. Erbst was actually stripped of the title for missing weight but was given this opportunity to regain the title he never truly lost. He was given no easy task as he took on the current KSW lightweight champion, Mateusz Gamrot. Gamrot’s shot gives him the opportunity to become the first double champion in KSW history and remain undefeated.
The first round started out with both fighters testing their range. Gamrot landed a couple kicks in the first three minutes but it almost looked like Erbst fell to the ground easily in an attempt to try and leer Gamrot to his world. He also has very good MMA based Jiu-Jitsu but Erbst is one of the very best in the world on the ground. Gamrot did well, landing kicks in the first round. Neither fighter did anything significant to take the round.
In the second round, Erbst picked up the tempo throwing and landing strikes, not typical of a normal Erbst style. About halfway through the round, Gamrot decided to take the matchup to the mat. When you have two ground specialists, it’s almost expected to see a standup battle and that’s what we had in the second round. The third round was almost a mirror of the second but a bit more ground game. Erbst was more than willing to take it to the mat while Gamrot was a bit more reserved but not afraid to go to the mat. In this round though, Erbst sustained a big cut with massive swelling under his left eye.
Gamrot continued to look impressive landing some impressive shots in top control in the fourth round. He did a very good job of mixing up the time on the ground versus the time on the feet with someone as skilled as Erbst. Since the major cut to Erbst’s face, his pace slowed and it seemed as if he was not sure what else to do to defeat Gamrot. The round ended with Gamrot displaying great boxing skills. Gamrot continued to execute his flawless gameplan throughout the fifth round. When the decision was read, Gamrot was crowned the first double champion in KSW history. An iconic image from the whole event was Erbst handing Gamrot the featherweight title. Hard fought war between two top of the line, very classy fighters.
The Legend Seeks Revenge
The main event of the evening saw KSW and MMA legend Mamed Khalidov look to seek revenge against light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun after losing their March 2018 battle. Above all this matchup had a feeling of a “passing of the torch” to it. Khalidov has long been the heart and soul of KSW. Narkun has amazing skill and fanfare to be the next generation of face for KSW.
Narkun began the round with leg kicks which began to redden Khalidov’s lead leg. You could tell Khalidov was picking his shots, waiting for an opening. About halfway through the round, Khalidov landed a heavy left hand that dropped Narkun. The first half of the second round saw neither fighter really make any big moves. With about two minutes left Narkun took an eye poke that called for a stop to the action. The doctor examined Narkun’s eye and advised he was good to keep fighting. Narkun looked to be more in control the last few minutes of the second round, putting Khalidov on his wheels a few times.
The highlight of the third round had Narkun landing controlled shots from a dominant position. Khalidov was able to somehow totally change position and end up in the dominant position raining down his own shots. The two exchanged control a few times in the last minute. With his late push, it looked like Khalidov did enough to take the decision. When the cards were read, it was announced Narkun was the victor, defeating the legendary Khalidov twice in his career. After the bout Khalidov announced his retirement from competition. It was the end of an era and the start of a new era led by Narkun.