KSW 49 Preview

KSW returns to the Ergo Arena on the Gdańsk/Sopot border for KSW 49 on Saturday, May 18th, live on KSWTV.com and the FITE.tv app. The last time KSW were in town, the event was headlined by heavyweights Karol Bedorf and Mariusz Pudzianowski, with Bedorf picking up a submission win. Irish veterans Chris Fields and Paul Redmond were both also involved on that card. This time, the arena will play host to 2 title fights on Saturday in front of a 15,000+ sold out crowd.

The main event is the final of the middleweight tournament. England’s Scott Askham (17-4) is aiming to do the double over Polish legend Michał Materla (27-6). In their previous fight, Askham smashed Materla with a body kick and ended the fight, much like he did to Marcin Wojic in the semi final. Materla, a 33 fight veteran, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that any body shots he takes is at the after party. He won his semi final contest by KO against Polish Olympic legend Damian Janikowski. Askham is the favourite in this bout and is hoping to become the second English KSW champion after heavyweight champion, Sunderland’s Phil De Fries.

The co-main event sees Croatia’s Robocop Roberto Soldić (15-3) defend his Welterweight belt against undefeated up and comer Krystian Kaszubowski (7-0). Soldić is in spectacular form at the moment after disposing of former champion Dricus Du Plessis and Vinicius Bohrer by KO.  Kaszubowski is looking to upset the bookmakers by getting a shock win. He hasn’t needed the judges so far in his KSW career and will want to keep it out of their hands again this time around. A win for Soldić may mean a headline spot in KSW’s proposed expansion into the Balkan region.

Next on the card is former heavyweight champions Karol Bedorf (15-4) up against former UFC fighter Damian Grabowski (21-5). Incredibly this is Grabowski’s first KSW fight in his 26 fight career. He’s facing a formidable finisher in Bedorf who can fight on the feet or on the deck. Grabowski is on a one fight win streak following going 0-3 in the UFC.

The next fight is a battle of the fitness heavyweights. Akop Szostak (3-2) will be aiming to stay away from the powerful Erko Jun’s (2-0) heavy punches. The Bosnian Jun hasn’t seen a decision in his professional career and trains with top pros like Soldić in Dusseldorf. Akop will be looking to show his own power before Jun lands one of his own.

Dublin based Paweł Polityło (4-1) is looking to notch his second KSW win in a row in Gdańsk. I spoke to Paweł after his last fight and he came out unscathed. He faces an MMA veteran in Antun Račić (22-8-1) – another UFD GYM Dusseldorf fighter . This fight is a rematch from KSW 40 in Dublin. Team Fantom’s Paweł told me in Łódź that he’d love this rematch as he took the original on very short notice and he didn’t agree with the split decision. Win or lose, Polityło has one of the best walkouts in the sports.

Multi-fight UFC veteran Thiago Silva (21-9) returns to the KSW cage to face German Martin Zawada (28-5-1), yet another one the UFD GYM Dusseldorf fighters at KSW 49. Silva will need to be more active than he was in London as Zawada is all action. This one should be a heavy hitting 3 round war.

Next up is of huge interest to the Irish fans. “Stormin” Norman Parke (26-6-1) returns to KSW after beating the “Tasmanian Devil” Borys Mańkowski last time out at KSW 47. Next up for the Bushmills man is a fight against tough KSW legend and one time KSW lightweight champion Artur Sowiński (19-10). If Norman gets the win here, he’s aiming to for a third fight with Mateusz “Gamer” Gamrot for the lightweight title, which he feels is rightfully his.

Another former KSW heavyweight champion is in action in Michał Andryszak (20-7) faces off against UFC veteran Luis Henrique (11-5). Andryszak hasn’t fought since losing his title to Phil De Fries. Henrique has been in there with some of the best heavyweights in the world, including Francis N’Gannou. This will be a heavy hitting fight that you won’t want to miss.

The final fight on the card is between Leszek Krakowski (13-1) and Michael Dubois (10-6). Krakowski has recorded multiple wins over European prospects thus far and is hoping to add the Frenchman to his list. Dubois has never seen the distance so you should expect fireworks in this opening bout.

KSW is live from the Ergo Arena in Gdańsk and on KSWTV.com for €10.

Seán Denny is a Dublin man who writes mostly on the European scene, with a keen interest in the Irish, UK and Polish scenes in particular. Follow me on Twitter at @DennyRants.

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