This Saturday marks the return to Wembley for Polish MMA titan Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki; better known as KSW.
So far the event has gained a reputation amongst the hardcore fans for being slightly cursed as a result of so many major fights falling apart. The London mega-card & marquee 50th event was originally supposed to be headlined by Phil DeFries VS Damian Grabowski, but Grabowski had to withdraw from the bout due to a hand injury sustained from training a few weeks back.
Heading into the original bout, Grabowski was riding a two-fight win streak and had easily secured both his victories by way of vicious knockout. Since leaving the UFC in 2017, Grabowski appeared to be on the up & up, as he had snapped his three-fight UFC losing streak and was looking better than ever before in doing so. It’s a shame we won’t get to see him face DeFries in London as that main event would have made for a dynamic scrap.
Despite the main event cancellation, KSW has put together what is arguably a better main event as DeFries will now face Luis Henrique (12-5) on Saturday night. Henrique similar to the fallen Grabowski is riding high on a two-fight win streak. Henrique possesses a wild stand-up game and will look to stand straight in the center of the cage and bang it out with whoever KSW put opposite him. DeFries instead sits as the current KSW heavyweight king-pin, he holds a (17-6) professional record and way more diverse skillset, whilst Henrique is mainly a scrappy brawler. DeFries can brawl with him too, but it’s more likely that he’ll choose to strike technically with Henrique or opt to drag the fight to the canvas where he can hope to exploit the holes in Henrique’s ground game.
On Saturday DeFries is hoping to keep the positive momentum going and will look to add another successful title defense to his resume and earn his 6th consecutive win in just under two years in front of the home crowd.
Northern Ireland’s Norman Parke (27-6-1) is defending his lightweight title in the co-main event of the night. Parke was originally meant to take on Marian Ziółkowski but that bout was canceled when Marian injured his knee. Parke will now scrap it out with Polish featherweight contender Marcin Wrzosek. You may remember Marcin from TUF 22 (McGregor VS Faber), where he reached the semi-final stage before losing out to Saul Rogers. Since leaving TUF in 2015, Marcin has fought with average success going (4-2) in KSW.
Both Parke and Marcin are decent at both grappling and standing on the feet. So stylistically it should be a decent technical chess match between the pair.
With Marcin getting the short notice call up to fight in London you’d imagine he’ll go for broke in hopes of dealing a massive upset. As for Parke, he’ll hope to stay composed and secure a successful title defense.
And finally, we come to the last title fight where Tomasz Narkun (16-3) will try to defend his light heavyweight gold belt against Przemyslaw Mysiala (23-9-1). Narkun claimed the title back in 2015 (KSW 32) by defeating then king-pin Goran Reljiç in just the first round. Fast forward to 2019 and he’s beat some of the best in the world, trumping middleweight don Mamed Khalidov twice and beating legends like Sokoudjou & Marcin Wøjcik.
Narkun’s last bout at KSW 47 where he attempted to dethrone the aptly mentioned heavyweight champion Phil DeFries but failed, losing a unanimous decision. As for Narkuns opponent Mysiala; known as ‘The Polish Bear’ is a fierce knockout specialist and holds a litany of devastating finishes on his resumé. If you’re going to discount his TUF exhibition loss to Maurice Green in June 2018 then he’s essentially riding a 7 fight win streak heading into the title bout on Saturday. It’s a fun stylistic clash as both guys are huge powerhouses who will look to take the head off the opposer at every possible opportunity.
Despite the card being hit with a few injuries blows, the KSW powers that be have managed to bring an impressive showing to the London crowds. Sadly there’s no Iranian hulk or Martyn Ford on the card, but don’t be put off as there’s tones to love and dig into. You can watch the fights on Fite.