Poland’s Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW) is one of the world’s most exotic and entertaining MMA promotions.
On Saturday, September 14, KSW will land for the second time in London, England, with a stacked fight card loaded with some of the promotion’s most well-known talents.
The event will feature an eye-popping three title fights – yes, three title fights! – and eight total bouts.
Dricus Du Plessis vs. Joilton Santos
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In one of the first fights of the event, former welterweight champion Dricus Du Plessis (12-2) will make his highly-anticipated return to the KSW cage, this time debuting at middleweight. The South African has yet to compete since an October loss to welterweight champion Roberto Soldic back in October.
Following the bout, Du Plessis was booked to face Borys Mańkowski in March, but the bout was canceled due to Du Plessis health reasons. Speaking to The Body Lock then, Du Plessis advised that, “The doctors have decided that for me to cut to 77 kg [170 lbs] is just not healthy anymore and too dangerous for the longevity of my career, and I will now compete at 84 kg [185 lbs].”
At KSW 50, the 25-year-old Du Plessis will look to make an impression in his middleweight debut against KSW newcomer Joilton Santos (30-7).
Brazil’s Santos, 26, fights out of Düsseldorf, Germany. With a comprehensive career on the Brazilian regional circuit under his belt, Santos has recently stepped onto the bigger stages of world MMA with bouts in Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB), now Absolute Championship Akhmat (ACA); Russian Cagefighting Championships (RCC); and Cage Warriors.
To date, Santos is riding an impressive six-fight winning streak that includes the likes of UFC veteran and former Cage Warriors champion Craig White. In fact, Santos is a dizzying 17-1 since the beginning of 2017.
Damian Janikowski vs. Tony Giles
For those familiar with KSW and its ingrained love of Olympic accolades and Polish talent, it should come as no surprise that KSW’s historic fiftieth event features Damian Janikowski (3-2), a decorated wrestler at the highest levels of competition.
Janikowski, 30, is one of Poland’s top wrestlers to transition to mixed martial arts. Prior to turning to MMA in 2017, Janikowski won a bronze and silver medal at the European Championships, a silver medal at the 2011 world championships, and even a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.
The wrestler’s MMA career began in emphatic fashion, scoring three straight wins. However, Janikowski has hit a cold spell of late, falling by first-round knockout to his toughest tests to date in ex-KSW middleweight champion Michał Materla and Aleksandar Ilić, respectively.
Janikowski will look to return to his winning ways against KSW debutant and England’s own Tony Giles (6-1).
Giles is a tried-and-true finisher, having won all of his six wins by way of finish, with four knockouts and two submissions to his name.
The Englishman has made his way to the KSW cage under the Ultimate Challenge MMA (UCMMA) and Warrior Challenge MMA (WCMMA) banners, and will likely look to put on a show on his home turf in London, England.
Norman Parke vs. Marcin Wrzosek
KSW featherweight and lightweight champion Mateusz Gamrot (15-0, 1 NC) is widely considered to be one of Europe’s top fighters, let alone lightweights. However, the undefeated Pole is in an enigmatic position – rumblings indicate that Gamrot has stepped away from fighting for the time being.
As such, KSW promoted an interim featherweight title fight between undefeated 21-year-old French phenom Salahdine Parnasse (13-0-1) and Roman Szymański (11-5), which Parnasse won to capture the title.
An interim championship will be on the line in the lightweight division, too, as former Gamrot opponent, Ultimate Fighter winner, and UFC veteran Norman Parke (27-6-1) will face Ultimate Fighter veteran Marcin Wrzosek (14-5) at KSW 50.
Parke, 31, began his MMA career way back in 2006. After signing with the UFC in 2012, Parke compiled a 5-3-1 record with the promotion before his eventual release in 2016. The Northern Ireland MMA staple would go on to compete in ACB, BAMMA, KSW, and BRAVE CF, going 6-1 with 1 NC since his departure from the UFC.
Parke has fought Gamrot twice, dropping a unanimous decision to the champion and ending up on the wrong end of repeated eye pokes resulting in a No Contest.
Since, Parke has rattled off four straight wins and will look to win the interim title with a victory over Wrzosek.
Wrzosek, also 31, competed on the twenty-second season of the Ultimate Fighter, which pitted Team USA against Team Europe. The Pole scored three wins en route to the semi-finals, where he fell short to would-be finalist Saul Rogers. Despite the loss, Wrzosek made his UFC debut on the Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale show, where he lost a split-decision to Julian Erosa.
Following his brief UFC tenure, Wrzosek signed to what has quickly become his natural home, fighting six times under the KSW banner. Wrzosek has gone 4-2 in the KSW cage, once challenging ex-champ Kleber Koike Erbst for the featherweight title. His interim title fight with Parke will mark his lightweight debut for KSW.
Roberto Soldić vs. Michal Pietrzak
Roberto Soldić (16-3) might very well be the best welterweight outside of the United States. The Croatian known as “Robocop” has steamrolled the vast majority of his opponents, totaling a blistering 94% finishing – and 88% knockout – rate.
Soldić signed to KSW in 2017 on the strength of a six-fight winning streak, successfully debuting against Borys Mańkowski at KSW 41 to capture the promotion’s welterweight title.
Soldić would snap his seven-fight streak against the aforementioned Du Plessis, who knocked out the Croatian in the second round of their KSW 43 title clash. Soldić would return the favor in the pair’s immediate rematch, winning back his title with a third-round knockout of the South African.
Since, Soldić has added two devastating first-round knockouts to his increasingly terrifying resume, defending his title once in the process. He will be unable to defend his title at KSW 50, as his bout was moved to a non-title match on Tuesday due to a change in opponent.
Looking to stop Soldić’s momentum is one of Eastern Europe’s top middleweights, Michał Pietrzak (8-3), who will step in for an injured Patrik Kincl (22-9, 1 NC) on less than a week’s notice.
Pietrzak, one of Poland’s own, is a noted grappler in the region. Per a KSW press release, Pietrzak has captured national titles in wrestling and no-gi grappling.
As an MMA fighter, Pietrzak has made his mark on the Polish regional scene. Pietrzak has won eight of his last ten, including the three-fight winning streak of late that propelled him to the KSW stage. He will face a stiff test in his promotional debut in the form of the reigning welterweight champion, Roberto Soldić, at a catchweight non-title bout at 176 pounds.
Tomasz Narkun vs. Przemyslaw Mysiala
There’s a solid argument to be made that Tomasz Narkun (16-3) is the best light heavyweight in a European promotion today. The 29-year-old champion burst out onto the international scene in early 2018, when Narkun stunned the world by denying KSW legend Mamed Khalidov his second promotional title in Khalidov’s failed move up.
Prior, Narkun was no slouch; the Pole captured the KSW light heavyweight title in 2015, defending it four times ahead of the first Khalidov fight.
Narkun reaffirmed that his win over Khalidov was no fluke at KSW 46 when he again bested the KSW middleweight champion. Then, it was Narkun’s turn to make a move for a second promotional title. At KSW 47, Narkun was soundly bested by heavyweight champion Phil De Fries, but he will look to remind fans of how dominant he can be at 205 pounds at KSW 50.
Standing in Narkun’s way is Przemyslaw Mysiala (23-9-1), one of Poland’s most tenured veterans.
A veteran of Cage Warriors, BAMMA, Bellator, and The Ultimate Fighter Season 28, Mysiala has been fighting professionally since 2004. The Pole is 7-1-1 in his last nine fights, excluding a knockout loss to Maurice Greene (an exhibition bout on the Ultimate Fighter, which does not count on a fighter’s professional record).
Somehow, Mysiala has yet to fight in KSW to date. At KSW 50, the 36-year-old light heavyweight veteran will look to earn the biggest win of his career and the KSW light heavyweight title against Narkun.
Phil De Fries vs. Luis Henrique
The only man to defeat Tomasz Narkun since 2014, KSW heavyweight champion Phil De Fries, has experienced a massive career resurgence in KSW.
Beginning his professional career in 2009, De Fries parlayed an undefeated run on the English regional scene (7-0, 1 NC) into a UFC contract in 2011. A 2-3 run brought De Fries’ UFC tenure to an end, but in hindsight, his opposition was top notch. De Fries’ three UFC losses came to arguably the best UFC heavyweight ever, Stipe Miocic; the ever-massive Todd Duffee; and Bellator title challenger Matt Mitrione.
Following his UFC departure, De Fries alternated wins and losses in several promotions while fighting the likes of Satoshi Ishii and Ivan Shtyrkov. Finally, the Englishman found a home in KSW, where he captured the vacant heavyweight title in his debut.
Since, De Fries has defended the title twice and established himself as one of the best heavyweights in Europe – and a fan-favorite among the KSW audience. At KSW 50, he will look to defend his title once more against dangerous submission specialist Luis Henrique (12-5).
Henrique, 26, is also a UFC veteran. The Brazilian heavyweight signed to the UFC in 2015 on the strength of an 8-1, 1 NC record, and like De Fries, faced a tough slate of opponents.
In his promotional debut, Henrique fell to eventual UFC title challenger Francis Ngannou, but would bounce back with back-to-back submission victories over Dmitrii Smoliakov and Christian Colombo, respectively. Three straight losses to Marcin Tybura, Arjan Singh Bhullar, and Ryan Spann signaled the end of Henrique’s UFC career, but he landed on his feet soon after.
A victory in Brazil’s Watch Out Combat Show (WCOS), for whom Henrique had fought in the past, allowed the 26-year-old to return to the win column. Soon after, Henrique would sign with KSW, making his successful debut against the highly-touted Michał Andryszak (20-8) at KSW 49 in May.
Now, Henrique will look to halt the momentum of De Fries and capture the KSW heavyweight title at KSW 50.
KSW 50 will be available on DAZN, as well as around the world on pay-per-view via KSWTV.com. Below are the start times for the event, which takes place on Saturday, September 14:
- Los Angeles, California, USA: 10:00 AM
- New York, New York, USA: 1:00 PM
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 2:00 PM
- London, England: 6:00 PM
- Warsaw, Poland: 7:00 PM
- Tokyo, Japan: 2:00 AM
- Sydney, Australia: 3:00 AM
The event is set to feature:
- Phil De Fries (c) (17-6) vs. Luis Henrique (12-5) – 265 lbs title
- Tomasz Narkun (c) (16-3) vs. Przemyslaw Mysiala (23-9-1) – 205 lbs title
- Roberto Soldić (c) (16-3) vs. Michał Pietrzak (8-3) – 176.5 lbs non-title catchweight bout
- Norman Parke (27-6-1) vs. Marcin Wrzosek (14-5) – Interim 155 lbs title
- Damian Janikowski (3-2) vs. Tony Giles (6-1) – 185 lbs
- Antoni Chmielewski (32-17) vs. Jason Radcliffe (15-7) – 185 lbs
- Dricus Du Plessis (12-2) vs. Joilton Santos (30-7) – 185 lbs
- Aleksandra Rola (2-0) vs. Catherine Costigan (6-2) – 155 lbs
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.