KSW 87 Preview; Martínek v Stošić, Szymański v Brichta, McNally returns

KSW will make the short hop over the border for their second show in Czechia this Saturday night. KSW 87 goes down in Třinec, a short fifteen minute drive from the Polish border. The 5,400 capacity Werk Arena will host nine bouts under KSW mixed martial arts rules.

The main event features the likely next challenger for Phil de Fries’ heavyweight crown. Michal Martínek (10-4) is one of the biggest ticket sellers on the card and the Reinders MMA man is a veteran of Oktagon and ACA. The 33-year-old is a calm and composed striker who will pick off his opponents and if the opportunity presents itself, go for the knockout. His strength here is volume and elusiveness. Darko Stošić (18-6) is all about power and physicality. The Serbian is ex-UFC and started out as a judoka. Everything is big movements, huge single punches, massive slams and takedowns, aiming to end the fight with every action. Total lights out kind of power. This should be a battle of patience versus pure violence.

Roman Szymański (17-7) is a former two-time title challenger at lightweight and has been one of KSW’s biggest talents since debuting in 2016. The 30-year-old fights out of Ankos MMA, one of the country’s top gyms. The Poznań man is a very strong wrestler, which he mixes nicely with a solid kickboxing game. He’s durable, well rounded and very tough to beat. Leo Brichta (11-3) is cut from the same cloth. The Czech won his debut at Colosseum 2 against a very skilled opponent in Maciej Kazieczko. The Prague man came in from an impressive Oktagon stint and is also a very polished wrestler and has an undefeated pro kickboxing record. He started his career mainly finishing by submission, with his striking threat growing over time. These guys are top young talents and must-see tv.

Ivan Erslan (13-2) is walking trouble and a giant handful for opponents. The Croatian will march you down, swing in bunches and aim to knock your block off. Nine of his wins have come via knockout. The 31-year-old is tough and durable, and has fought for the belt in the past. Rafał Haratyk (16-5-2) will make his KSW debut on Saturday, and comes in from ARES, and is also an ACA veteran. The 36-year-old Pole is a submission player with heavy wrestling. On the feet, he can also hold his own.

Filip Macek (27-18-1) returns in search of his first KSW win after coming up short to Sebastian Przybysz last time out. The Reinders MMA man is a submission whiz who was chokes for any occasion. The 32-year-old will grab your neck given a quarter of an opportunity and has Brabo, Anaconda and guillotine chokes on his record. Oleksii Polischuck (10-4) is a Ukrainian training out of Poland. The 27-year-old is a very good wrestler with heavy ground and pound. In the submission game, he’s very adept with arm locks.

Vojtech Garba (8-4) is one of the new Czech names on the KSW scene. The 27-year-old is a very solid kickboxer who utilises leg kicks very well and bludgeons with his elbows. He also possesses a lot of power in his hands. Michał Dreczkowski (3-0) is another promotional debutant. The Ankos MMA man is also a kickboxer. He has a high kick to avoid at all costs and inflicts a lot of damage with his strikes. This should be a cracker.

Continuing the striking theme, the fourth fight on the card should also be hotly contested in the standing realm. Adrian Dudek (6-2) is a kickboxer who has a lovely body kick that shuts opponents down. The 31-year-old has ended five of his wins with his strikes. Lukáš Dvořák (6-2) is a newcomer who comes from a Muay Thai background. The Czech has won four fights by submission so isn’t a one trick pony. If it hits the deck, it’ll likely be him who initiates it.

Sahil Siraj (8-2) hails from Afghanistan and trains out of Sweden. The 33-year-old has mostly utilised his kickboxing in his career to date. He’s a quick starter with fight altering power. On the mat, he’s accomplished at leg locks. Ahmed Abdulkadirov (9-1) was born in Austria and trains out of Slovakia, and will strap on the KSW gloves for the first time. Like his opponent, the 28-year-old sprints out of the blocks trying to end it with big shots. He works the body very nicely.

Josef Štummer (3-0) is an undefeated Czech. The 26-year-old is very competitive on the feet and has a decent submission game. His toughness and durability has been a bonus so far. Dawid Kareta (4-3) trains out of the Polish city of Cieszyn, which is about a fifteen minute drive from the Werk Arena. He’s a good submission player who is also an Oktagon veteran. Not much of a knockout threat in his pro career so far.

Irish eyes will be on the opening fight on the card. Carl McNally (2-1) is looking to bounce back from his first loss back in December. The Belfast man has that “je ne sais quoi” and has highlight reel rolling thunder armbar and helicopter guillotine wins on his amateur record. The 29-year-old has a nasty guillotine and is a very competitive striker. Tobiasz Le (3-1) had an extensive amateur career prior to turning pro with over twenty-five fights. The 29-year-old is another guy from Cieszyn and has represented Poland at IMMAF level. He tends to stay standing and utilise his kickboxing game, and he has dangerous knees to be careful of.

KSW 87 is live from 6pm Irish time on Saturday and access can be purchased at KSWTV.com or on the ViaPlay subscription service in select countries (including the U.K.).

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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