We are about a month away from KSW returning to the cage for KSW 51: Croatia which is set for November 09, 2019 inside the Arena Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia. The card is coming together nicely with six bouts announced thus far including the inaugural bantamweight title match. The main event will feature rising heavyweight star, Ekro Jun (3-0), taking on five time world’s strongest man and KSW veteran Mariusz Pudzianowski (12-7.)
Big Night of Fights at KSW 51
Damian Stasiak vs Antun Racic (Inaugural Bantamweight Title)
As previously discussed, which you can read here, KSW will crown their first bantamweight champion as Damian Stasiak takes on Antun Racic. Racic (23-8-1) will look to use his experience and the home town crowd to get the advantage on Stasiak (11-6.) Though not quite as experienced as Racic, Stasiak has performed six times on the UFC stage. Eight of Stasiak’s victories have come by way of submission compared to the tough, hard nosed decision machine in Racic. Racic has a way of grinding his opponents and taking control of the pace. Will Stasiak fall into that plan or will he be able to pull out another submission? Here is a preview of the six bouts announced thus far.
Main Event- Erko Jun vs Mariusz Pudzianowski
Erko Jun entered the world of MMA under a microscope. Many were curious to see if he could transition from the world of bodybuilding and modeling into combat sports. Thus far, Jun is undefeated with all three of his victories coming by way of KO/TKO. Jun’s previous three opponents combined have as many wins as his opponent for KSW 51, Mariusz “Pudz” Pudzianowski. Jun has shown improvements and is training at one of the top gyms in the world, UFD Gym Dusseldorf. Pudz does have a couple victories via decision under his belt but the majority of his 12 victories have come by KO/TKO (seven). This will be Jun’s first true test to see if he is ready for that step up in competition for the top tier of KSW heavyweights.
Co Main Event- Borys Mankowski vs Vaso Bakocevic
One of the most successful KSW champions of all-time, former welterweight champion Borys Mankowski (19-8-1) looks to steal the show as he battles a hardened veteran of nearly 60 professional bouts, Vaso Bakocevic (39-18-1). Mankowski won the welterweight title from the company’s first champion, Aslambek Saidov at KSW 27: Cage Time in May 2014 and went on to defend the title four times before moving to the middleweight division. On a three fight skid, Mankowski will look to give it one last run at the gold, turning 30 about three weeks before his bout with Vaso. The Montenegrin striker and submission specialist known as the “Psychopath,” Vaso has finished 31 of his 39 professional bouts. At 30 years old and with a wealth of experience, a win in his KSW debut here could truly catapult him up the rankings quickly.
Darwin Rodriguez vs Ivan Erslan
Two of Europe’s top light heavyweights will meet in a showdown to potentially crown the new number one contender for Tomasz Narkun’s KSW title. Riding a six fight victorious knockout streak, Darwin Rodriguez (9-4) will look to make an emphatic statement in his company debut has he battles another company newcomer in the undefeated Croatian striker, Ivan Erslan (7-0.) Rodriguez, the AFL light heavyweight champion, is a dangerous striker who is always ready to earn his spot on the highlight reels. Erslan is no slouch himself to the striking game, earning a first round knockout in his last outing in May 2019. Erslan will absolutely be the crowd favorite, training at American Top Team Zagreb. Look for this fight to steal fight of the night.
Cezary Kesik vs Aleksandar Ilic
Serbian middleweight striker Aleksandar Ilic (12-2) will take on Cezary Kesik (9-0) who will look to continue his undefeated streak. Ilic is coming off of a memorable knockout of Damian Janikowski back at KSW 47 in March 2019. The huge knockout shot Ilic up the charts. A win over the undefeated Polish knockout artist would thrust him into a potential middleweight title shot in 2020. Kesik made good on his KSW debut back at KSW 48 in April 2019 winning via first round knockout. This will make for a hard-hitting contest with seven of Kesik’s nine victories coming by way of KO/TKO. Look for this contest to stay on the feet and to see a very high level of striking.
Krystof Klaczek vs Filip Pejic
Both of the featherweights being showcased in this battle can really become the future of this division. The 27 year old Filip Pejic (14-2-2) suffered his last defeat to Damian Stasiak. Staskiak will be competing on this same card for the inaugural bantamweight title. Prior to that, Pejic has not loss since June 2012. Pejic has one three of his last four via KO/TKO including his KSW debut at KSW 48 in April 2019. He defeated Filip Wolanski via second round TKO. This KSW 51 card is full of dangerous strikers and Pejic absolutely falls into that category.
Krystof Klaczek (12-6) will look to rebound after his decision loss to The Polish Zombie back at KSW 47 in March 2019. The former Cage Warriors and BAMMA veteran is a solid fighter who is well versed in all aspects of mixed martial arts. This will be a solid matchup between two veterans who can control the bout regardless of where the action goes.