KSW 58 Preview

KSW kicks off their year this Saturday evening with KSW 58 in Łódź, Poland. We don’t usually see the Polish behemoths until March, however they aim to put on more shows in the first half of the year than usual amid the current live audience restrictions.

French Phenom Salahdine Parnasse (14-0-1) headlines the show, defending his KSW Featherweight title. The man from Aubervilliers has recently signed a new deal and has hinted at future plans in the lightweight division. First he must face Brazilian challenger Daniel “Mr. Fight of the Night” Torres (11-4). Torres, based in Austria, is a KSW veteran who has been involved in several exciting fights since joining the organisation. He’s very quick and a handful on the feet, which was evident in his title eliminator against Max Coga. Parnasse is truly one of the hottest prospects in Europe, with some of the best striking we’ve seen on the continent. He’s cool, calm and collected. We’re set for a striking battle in this one.

Olympic weightlifting gold and silver medalist Szymon Kołecki (8-1) is back in action against a returning Martin Zawada (29-15-1). We haven’t seen Zawada since May 2019 where he defeated legend Thiago Silva. Martin’s brother Dawid recently lost a split decision against Ramazan Emeev on UFC Fight Island. The big question here is if Kołecki can deal with the huge experience differential. Zawada will likely keep it on the feet but can get it done on the ground too. Kołecki has pure explosive power and doesn’t hang around before using it. All 8 of his wins came within the distance, with 7 of them coming in the first round. They’ll need to make sure the cage is bolted down for this fight.

If you’re talking about exciting fighters in the KSW roster, Michał Michalski (8-4) is up near the top of that list. He’s 2-2 in the promotion, all ending before going to the judges and has won the last two on the bounce. He will take on Croatia’s Aleksandar Rakas (16-7). Rakas is on a 4 fight win streak and isn’t afraid of a bit of fun either. This has the potential to be the fight of the night.

Shamil Musaev (14-0) has been one of the hottest prospects in KSW’s lightweight division and now takes a step up to welterweight to fight Titan FC and Bellator veteran Uroš Jurišič (11-0). Slovenia’s Jurišič is a well rounded finisher, holding high profile victories on the European scene against Walter Gahadza by choke and Vaso Bakočević by knockout. Russia’s Musaev is a very strong grappler who uses the threat to open up his clinical striking. He scored a spectacular spinning back fist knockout against Grzegorz Szulakowski in his last fight. The winner here will likely have eyes on Roberto Soldić‘s title (should he choose to remain at 170 after a recent win at 185 vs Michał Materla).

This next fight won’t last the distance. This will be two lads throwing bombs with bad intentions. Former heavyweight champion Michał Andryszak (21-9) welcomes former UFC and Glory fighter Guto Inocente (8-5) to KSW. The breakdown for this is quite simple. Both men will be throwing head kicks and power punches as soon as the ref says go. We’re here for a good time, not a long time.

SBG Ireland’s Paweł Polityło (5-2) is back in action and is looking to score Ireland’s first MMA victory of 2021. The Polish Eagle has been making use of the recent cold weather to do some training in the Wicklow Mountains, including doing a polar plunge. Polityło has been Dublin based for a number of years and still has close links to Fantom MMA in the city centre. He will be up against KSW debutant Dawid Martynik (4-1). Czech Republic’s Martynik is fresh off an impressive rear naked choke win at Babilon MMA 18 in November. I expect to see Polityło have the edge in all areas. He is physically strong, can dominate the grappling exchanges and he has an effective standup game.

Undefeated Robert Ruchała (4-0) goes up against Daniel Bažant (4-1) in a catchweight bout. Ruchała scored a first round buzzer beater armbar win in his debut at KSW 56. Bažant will fight in Poland for the first time after stints in Italy and his native Croatia. He has a strong kickboxing game and this is likely going to be a classic grappler vs striker match.

Former SBG Ireland fighter Francisco Barrio (7-2) is looking to bounce back after defeat in his debut at KSW 56 vs Mateusz Legierski. Barrio has an accomplished Greco Roman wrestling background, winning several Pan Am silver medals. He faces Łódź local Bartłomiej Kopera (9-6). Kopera is in desperate need of a victory in the promotion having gone 0-3 to date. He is a judo expert with a good range of submission techniques. He will need to get by Barrio’s wrestling to have any chance of using it.

KSW 58 kicks off at 19:00 Dublin time live on PPV. Access can be bought at KSWTV.com.

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.