KSW 49 took place Saturday, May 18, 2019, from the ERGO Arena in Gdansk, Poland. The event was seen worldwide on KSWtv and on the DAZN app in the United States. The nine card bout was filled with fireworks from beginning to end, with five bouts ending with spectacular finishes. For a quick results listing, click here, but keep reading here for all the details.
The card was stacked with the best talent KSW had to offer, highlighted by the finals of the middleweight tournament. A rematch was set between American Top Team standout Scott Askham and Polish legend Michal Materla. Both fighters won their respective semifinal bouts at KSW 45 to earn a spot in the finals after legend Mamed Khalidov vacated the title. The main event featured another title match with welterweight champion Roberto Soldic defending his title against the undefeated highly revered Polish prospect, Krystian Kaszubowski.
Close Lightweight Battle to Begin the Night
The French Tiger Muay Thai fighter, Michael Dubois, made his KSW debut as he battled 13-1 Polish lightweight Leszek Krakowski. This was going to be a very tough test for Dubois with Krakowski’s only loss coming to former champion Kleber Koike Erbst at KSW 36. Both fighters started out strong, with Leszek landing a huge suplex after dropping Dubois for a split second. The first half of the round saw Leszek in control keeping pressed Dubois on the cage. After breaking apart, Leszek landed a huge shot that nearly dropped Dubois. With about one minute to go, Dubois shot in for a single leg but was stopped by Leszek, who took control of Dubois’ back. It was an action packed first round that looked to go in the favor of Leszek.
In the second round, Dubois was able to get some top control time but Leszek performed a beautiful sweep to gain the top control. Leszek maintained control in north/south before Dubois was able to slide to the cage and eventually work himself to his feet. Most of this round was contested on the ground and was a very close round.
The third round was more of the second, with the bout really beginning on the mat. Leszek was very close to locking in an arm triangle about one minute in, but Dubois was able to break free and maintain side control. About half way through the round, Dubois locked in a D’Arce choke which was the closest he came to ending the bout to that point. The bout ended with lots of ground action and Dubois ending up closing out the bout in control. Overall, it was an action packed fight that really could have went either way. Leszek Krakowski defeated Michael Dubois via majority decision.
Highlight Heavyweight Submission Finish
The next bout of the evening saw former UFC veteran Luis Henrique make his KSW debut against the heavy-handed Polish striker, Michal Andryszak. Henrique looked comfortable the first half of the bout with some solid striking. It was obvious that Andryszak had the size advantage, though. Henrique attempted a couple of takedowns, but the size disadvantage made it obvious as to why the takedowns were unsuccessful. The round ended with Andryszak laying his size on Henrique against the cage throwing knees.
Henrique kept the pressure on Andryszak early in the second round, attempting many times to get the fight to the mat. Finally about two minutes in, both fighters went to the ground with Henrique in control. With about 1:40 left to go, Henrique landed a huge slam on Andryszak. The second round saw Henrique look much more comfortable and look great on the ground. With about 45 seconds to go, Henrique had Andryszak’s back eventually locking in a guillotine choke to secure the win. Luis Henrique defeated Michal Andryszak via R2 submission (guillotine choke.)
The Closest of Bantamweights Skill-Wise
The next bout saw to of the Europe’s best bantamweights go to battle as Antun Racic took on Pawel Politylo. Racic was riding a three fight undefeated streak into this bout, while Politylo entered with a 1-1 KSW record. His lone loss was a split decision loss to Racic at KSW 40: Dublin.
Round one started as a scrappy affair. An eye poke stopped the action a bit but the two got right back at it afterwards. Politylo landed a takedown with about 2:10 to go in the round and looked really solid throughout the round. The first round had a great level of action and it looked to be Politylo’s round. Round two continued with the action. Politylo looked in control early but Racic attempted a submission. Politylo broke free and really laid it on Racic. Both guys remained very active with each having their moments. The round ended with fighters jockeying for position on the cage. Round two was very closely contended but it looked to be Racic’s round with the more dynamic striking.
The final round looked like it would be the deciding factor in determining who would win this rematch. The first half of round three was a slug-fest, with neither fighter really making headway to clearly take the round. Racic started to land a few combos but was taken down with about 1:45 left. Racic brought the fight back to the standing position and Politylo looked drained. With one minute left, Politylo started to swing for the fences, sensing the round was possibly in Racic’s favor. The bout ended with both fighters in the center of the cage. Antun Racic defeated Pawel Politylo via split decision.
Brazilian Striker Makes his KSW Return
Longtime UFC veteran and former ACB fighter Thiago Silva made his return to KSW as he battled longtime German fighter Martin Zawada. “I’m very happy to be back in KSW. I’m looking forward to doing a great fight,” Silva told MMA Sucka prior to the fight. “Martin is a great athlete but I believe in myself more and I will do whatever is needed to win.” The 30 pro fight veteran Silva was victorious in his first KSW appearance, defeating James McSweeney at KSW 45 in October 2018 via unanimous decision.
Silva came out the first couple minutes or so really focused on low kicks to take away the power base of Zawada. With about two minutes left, Zawada started to land the body shots. Zawada dropped Silva with about 70 seconds left to go in the round but somehow Silva was able to get back to his feet and eat several more shots. Silva was visibly wobbly as the round came to an end with Zawada dropping him again to end the round.
Round two saw Zawada continue his amazing striking display. Silva wasn’t really able to get anything going in the first half of the round. Both guys were throwing heavy strikes but both slowed down greatly, with Zawada dropping Silva again with about 2:20 left in the round. Silva looked out on his feet while Zawada looked to be totally out of air. After the doctor looked at Silva’s left eye and cleared him to continue, both fighters continued throwing heavy shots looking for that one that would end the night. Silva landed a nice combo before attempting a take-down before the bell that was unsuccessful.
The final round saw both fighters continue with the heavy shots, looking to keep their momentum going. Silva looked to have finally recovered from the first round that nearly saw him finished. Silva definitely controlled the aggression in the final frame but not enough to take the match-up. Martin Zawada defeated Thiago Silva via unanimous decision.
Streaking Northern Irishman Continues with Another Great Showing
“Stormin” Norman Parke returned to the KSW cage after a previous March 2019 win over Borys Mankowski (where Parke took a unanimous decision victory) to battle with Artur Sowinski. Sowinski began the first half of the round with knees and a few strikes finding their target, but Parke eventually landed the takedown he was looking for. The rest of the round saw Parke ride top pressure, taking the round.
Parke continued to show his dominant ground game to neutralize Sowinski. Parke is now 4-0 in his last four with all four wins coming by unanimous decision. He does pose an interesting challenger for current champion, Roberto Soldic, who has one of the best stand-up games in all of MMA. If Parke can control Soldic on the ground like he did Sowinski, it could make for an interesting matchup. Norman Parke defeated Artur Sowinski via unanimous decision.
KSW’s Up-and-Coming Popular Heavyweights Battle for Top Spot
The ever evolving game of Erko Jun was put to another test as the 2-0 bodybuilding and fitness model star continues to show the world he is serious about his MMA game. He was faced against another bodybuilding fitness model in that of Akop Szostak. A win here would give Jun three KSW victories, with his each of his first two wins coming via knockout.
The two threw a couple of strikes early, looking for their range. Then like we have seen in the past with Jun, he landed a heavy right hand that floored Szostak. After a few more heavy strikes, the bout was called and Jun continued to show he’s ready for the big names of KSW. Erko Jun defeated Akop Szostak via R1 KO.
UFC Veteran Looking to Rebound Against One of KSW’s Stars
UFC veteran Damian Grabowski looked to skyrocket to the top of the KSW heavyweight ranks on his debut as he took on former champion, Karol Bedorf. Grabowski did just that, knocking down Bedorf one minute into the bout with a heavy strike. Bedorf was able to recover and get back to his feet. About two minutes into the round and Bedorf landed a few strikes that busted open the newcomer. With one minute left, Grabowski was able to drop Bedorf again by kicking his foot. After the two rose and clinched on the fence, Grabowski landed some nice strikes leading into the end of the first round.
Grabowski started round two very quickly with a barrage of strikes. One minute in and Bedorf was able to land a takedown and finally take some control in this bout. Until about the 1:38 mark, Bedorf looked great but Grabowski was able to escape out the backdoor and took the top control on Bedorf. Grabowski rained down shots until the referee called the bout. Damian Grabowski defeated Karol Bedorf via R2 TKO (Ground-and-pound.)
Middleweight Title Co-Main Event Showdown
“I honestly thought it would be one fight sooner with how my debut went but Khalidov vacated so it went the tournament route,” Askham told MMA Sucka before the fight. “I am happy though. Another chance to showcase my skills to the fans and prepare to become a champion.” With the two having already battled earlier in 2018, what can we expect in the rematch? “My game-plan is the same. I am sure we both took things away from the last fight; I am sure he will have what he wants to do in his head but he will have me in his face from the bell,” Askham said.
“He says he’s done his homework, well maybe he should have done it the last time! I am prepared for five hard rounds if I need them but make no mistake about it I want to start fast and hard.” Askham has been on quite the run since leaving the UFC and it finally looks like he will earn a gold belt to take back to American Top Team.
Askham started out as expected with well placed strikes by way of both punches and body kicks. About 45 seconds into the bout, Materla landed a solid strike followed up by taking Askham to the ground. Though on the bottom for the first half of the round, Askham used the rubber guard to his advantage and landed several shots on Materla. The round ended just how most of it was spent, with Askham on the bottom, but Askham could have easily taken that round.
The Battles Begins
The first minute of round two saw Askham throw a couple great combos. As with the first round, Materla was able to land a takedown. After getting the fight back to the feet quickly, Askham showed himself as the better striker. With about 40 seconds left in the round, Materla landed a right hand that dropped Askham followed up with a few strikes behind it. The third round saw Materla attempt another takedown but this time it was unsuccessful. Askham put on a striking knee clinic, landing several on Materla. After landing a huge switch knee, Askham caught Materla with another knee as he was going down to end the bout. Scott Askham defeated Michal Materla via R3 TKO (knees) for Middleweight Title
After the win, Askham was excited to finally claim that major title that’s been eluding him. “Still feel on top of the world. A real championship fight. Happy to get the win,” Askham told MMA Sucka.
Main Event Welterweight Title Clash
The champion returned to his throne in the form of welterweight champion Roberto Soldic. After dropping the title at KSW 43 to Dricus Du Plessis, Soldic got his rematch six months later at KSW 45. Soldic dropped Du Plessis with a knockout of the year contender in the third round and became a two-time champion.
Words with the Champion, Roberto Soldic
“My plan is always the same, but if it’s not working, then I have plan B. Of course I can wrestle and I can use BJJ, so whatever the fight gives, i am not afraid to go anywhere,” Soldic told MMA Sucka. “I am ready for this fight and every opponent on this level is dangerous. I will do my best so possibly this will be Fight of the Night.” Soldic is all about finishing the fight, having not won by decision in nearly four years. His last two bouts have been knockout of the year contenders.
After the bell rang both fighters danced around the cage looking for the opportune time to strike. With one dynamic left hand strike, Soldic landed a bomb on Kaszubowski that floored him and led to an immediate stoppage of the bout. Every time Soldic’s steps in the cage its a knockout of the year candidate. Roberto Soldic defeated Krystian Kaszubowski via R1 KO.