KSW 56 Preview

Roberto Soldic
Roberto Soldic

European giants KSW are back in the new European fight capital of Łódź this Saturday. KSW 56 returns to Klubu Wytwórnia in Poland’s third largest city, live only on PPV.

A blockbuster fight between KSW Welterweight Champion “Robocop” Roberto Soldić (17-3) and Michał Materla (29-7) headlines the card. Soldić is stepping up to middleweight to face the Polish legend. Robocop, who has won his last 4 on the bounce, is known for his elite striking. His kicks, punches and combinations have bamboozled his opponents. Materla is a man who has seen everything however. His game plan will be to use his grappling which turned the tide on  Soldić‘s UFD teammate Aleksandar “The Joker” Ilić last time out. This all comes down to Materla’s ability to get the fight to the deck and if he can’t, this may be a very tough night for the man from Szczecin.

The KSW Light Heavyweight title sees a rare defence as “The Giraffe” Tomasz Narkun (17-3) looks to extend his run as the longest reigning KSW champion against undefeated Croat Ivan Erslan (9-0). Narkun, a member of the Berserker team, has won 8 of his last 9 with the only defeat coming against heavyweight champion Phil de Fries. Erslan is a wrecking ball. His last 4 opponents were all finished in the first round. Narkun is going to need to use his grappling game to get through the early barrage, and then finish it off with his submissions.

Media favourite Karolina Owczarz (3-0) is back in the cage once again to take on Justyna “Lara Croft” Haba (2-1). Łódź native Owczarz started her career as a boxer and has since been rounding out her game under the tutelage of Łukasz Zaborowski and Emil Grzelak at Shark Top Team Łódź. Haba will be her biggest test to date. The Rzeszów flyweight can get it done wherever the fight goes. A win for Owczarz will likely mean KSW will have to dust off the red championship belt that has been vacant since Ariane Lipski joined the UFC.

A welterweight title eliminator will take place between top Polish prospect Andrzej Grzebyk (17-3) and Lithuanian hero Marius Žaromskis (22-9). Grzebyk was a double champion in FEN and looked sensational in his KSW debut against Tomasz Jakubiec. He has shown he has the “it” factor. Žaromskis is no pushover. He has fought all over the world, from Bellator to Strikeforce to Dream. The big question is does he have enough left in the tank to stop the surging Grzebyk?

A pair of KSW debutants duke it out in the middle of the card. Former SBG man Francisco Barrio (7-1) has been thriving on the Croatian scene since joining American Top Team Zagreb. Barrio is an elite level wrestler, winning silver in multiple PanAm tournaments. His undefeated opponent Mateusz Legierski (6-0) is a former Oktagon champion in Slovakia. Legierski is a silky striker with the power to end it early. Don’t be surprised if he utilises a knee through the middle to dissuade the takedown attempts.

In the lightweight division, they have a fireworks show planned. Sebastian Rajewski (9-5) pits his fantastic striking ability against the all-action Croatian “Nitro” Filip Pejić (14-4-2). This will all come down to whoever can dictate the pace. Rajewski will be looking to dominate in the kicking exchanges and Pejić will be looking to get in close and land combinations. This has the potential to be the fight of the night.

Another bout with title implications is “Mad” Max Coga (22-6-1) and Daniel Torres (10-4). Coga is a recent signing and was scheduled to face Cage Warriors champion Morgan Charrière at their Trilogy event in September before a failed COVID test. Should he win this, he’ll have another Frenchman in his sights in KSW Featherweight Champion Salahdine Parnasse. Torres is a game opponent and can mix it anywhere. He’s very quick and is a very hard man to stop once he gets going. Coga will need to use his experience against the Brazilian and avoid Torres’ kicks. From there he opens up his vast submission and combination arsenal.

Opening up the card is a battle between newly turned professionals Robert Ruchała (3-0) and Michał Domin (3-1). Ruchała is a good grappler, whereas Domin prefers the stand up. Domin struggled in the grappling department against SBG’s Nikolay Grozdev back in June so will need to have shown some improvement there to be in with a chance in this one. It will be interesting to see how these young fighters adapt to the big show so early in their careers. Opportunity is knocking, who will answer?

KSW 56 is live on PPV at KSWTV.com at 7pm Irish time next Saturday evening.

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.