KSW 64 Preview

One of the world’s premier organisations hits our screens on Saturday night. KSW makes a return to an arena setting in Łódź‘s Atlas Arena. Up to 14,000 fans are expected to enjoy the festivities in Poland’s third largest city, marking the first full capacity show since December 2019. To celebrate, KSW 64 will feature one of the strongest cards they’ve ever put on. Big names, big stars and big prospects fill the card.

The final fight of the night is for the KSW Bantamweight Championship. Sebastian Przybysz (8-2) defends the crown he won at KSW 59 against Antun Račić. Training out of the Mighty Bulls in Gdynia, Przybysz has developed into one of the best 135ers in the world. He’s a cardio machine and has honed a fast paced striking style. His combinations are a joy to watch and he has power. He’ll be tested in his ground game against challenger Bruno Santos (10-2), a submission specialist. Brazil’s Santos is taking a second swing for the title after coming up short against Antun Račić at KSW 57. Przybysz is a nifty grappler so the Brazilian will have his work cut out. This is a high level battle.

Fans want to see big fights and fights don’t get bigger than Mariusz Pudzianowski (15-7) and Serigne Ousmane Dia (2-0), better known as Bombardier. Pudzianowski, 265lbs of pure muscle, is a five time World’s Strongest Man. Since switching to MMA, he has turned himself into a legitimate martial artist. He has great timing in his takedowns and is very good at keeping people down and finishing it. He’s going to try and keep this one standing, using his strikes to stay on the outside and try to tire his opponent out. Bombardier is a Lutte Sénégalaise avec frappe competitor. That is wrestling with strikes, made famous by fellow crossover star Reug Reug. The “King of the Arenas” weighs in at a massive 333lbs. His game is simple, take you down and smash you unconscious. There has been very little anyone has been able to do to stop him so far. The pair were originally meant to square off at KSW 59, however Bombardier pulled out at the eleventh hour due to appendicitis. There is a stand in on call in this one should a similar disaster occur. This is one of the most fascinating matchups you will ever see.

Daniel Rutkowski (12-2) is a recent KSW mega signing. He held both the FEN and Babilon MMA Featherweight titles simultaneously prior to inking a deal with KSW. Both his defeats came at the start of his career all the way back in 2015, winning 12 of 13 since with one no contest. The man from Radom is a beautiful boxer who has the same high output in the last second as the first. Irish fans may know him from beating Dylan Logan at a Clan Wars show. Croatia’s Filip Pejić (15-5-2) is the head of the welcoming party. His nickname “Nitro” perfectly describes his style. He is explosive and powerful. He starts fast and won’t stop coming until you put him down. Legs and fists will be flying all over the shop in this one.

Two future Polish MMA stars duke it out early in their MMA careers. Patryk Kaczmarczyk (7-0) is a confident 23 year old. He talks the talk and walks the walk. His well rounded style saw him win a title at Armia Fight Night. He’s a good striker and a good grappler. He had a very entertaining debut against Michał Sobiech at KSW 60, a fight where he put so much into it that he had to do his post fight interview lying down. Robert Ruchała (5-0) has won both his KSW bouts to date with armbars. The 23 year old is a grappling savant who sets plenty of traps along the way. When he sees an opening, he gets submissions quickly. This is a high level matchup for such young pros and I doubt this will be the only time they’ll face each other. The next time may be at the very top, such is the potential on show.

Shamil Musaev (15-0) has been a wrecking ball since joining the KSW roster. He is a dominant grappler and also a Wushu Sanda specialist. He is one of the biggest duel threats you’ll come across. If he takes you down, invariably he keeps you down and uses heavy ground and pound. He has a taste for the sublime on the feet, best example being his spectacular spinning back fist KO of Grzegorz Szulakowski at KSW 52. Michał Pietrzak (10-4) is the man charged with stopping The Silent Assassin’s win streak. He fights out of Ankos MMA with some of Poland’s top talents. He’s a big powerful guy with a wrestling background. When standing, he carries instant knock power. Explosivity is his main threat in this one.

It’s a homecoming celebration for the “KO Show” in Łódź. Karolina Owczarz (4-1) has sacrificed a lot in pursuit of KSW gold. She has been training in WCA Warsaw, two hours east of her hometown, where she spends most of her days training. When not in the gym, she can usually be found climbing up mountains with her teammates. She came into MMA from a broadcasting career, a point opponents like to bring up, referring to her as a celebrity fighter. Owczarz is nothing of the sort. She was an accomplished amateur boxer and her wrestling has been improving a lot since hitting the yellow mats of the WCA gym. She trains with high level fighters. Another Łódź native will be standing in the blue corner. Sylwia Juśkiewicz (9-6) comes into this with a significant experience advantage. She is a strong Shidokan karate and kickboxing fighter. She trades shots blow for blow. She will have big support in the audience with children from a local orphanage cheering “Mała” on. Juśkiewicz grew up in that same orphanage and used her training to get to where she is today. Her story is a truly inspirational tale.

Two middleweight prospects do battle in the third fight of the evening. Cezary Kęsik (12-1) is a wrecking machine, as referenced by his nickname “The Lublin Tank”. He is a very strong striker with a vicious streak. Any hint of weakness usually ends the fight. He batters his opponents with elbows and punches until the lights go out. Marcin Krakowiak (11-3) is a demolisher in the grappling exchanges. He’ll have the local’s backing due to training out of Octopus Łódź. He is a very strong wrestler with a mean guillotine and rear naked choke. His kickboxing game is also very nice and he uses the grappling threat to look for knockouts on the feet. This is a big fight in the division and the winner can expect a huge fight next.

Few fighters can boast the exciting fights that Albert Odzimkowski (11-5) puts on event after event. He takes plenty of risks to reap the rewards. As a result, sometimes the house wins. He’s a true all rounder, dynamic on the feet and slippery on the deck, with both a judo and a boxing background. He’s another of the WCA fighters on the card. England‘s Jason Radcliffe (16-8) will be looking to make this fight of the night. He’s another gambler willing to put it all on the line for the finish. He will be looking to use his Muay Thai to catch Odzimkowski flush. Odds are we don’t need the judges in this one.

Federation newcomers Adam Tomasik (5-0) and Oumar Sy (4-0) open the show. These guys are big light heavyweights who like to put on a show. Neither man has seen past the second round as professionals. Tomasik is the more experienced of the two, having started out in 2017. He’s a heavy hitting striker with a submission game. Sy is a kickboxer who has also found joy recently on the mat. Biggest test for both men to date. Light Heavyweight is one of the thinner divisions in KSW so victory means the road to the title isn’t that long.

KSW 64 is live on Saturday night from 19:00 Dublin time. The PPV can be bought at KSWTV.com and costs €9.

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.