KSW 63 Preview

KSW return to our screens live on PPV this Saturday night. KSW 63 will take place in a studio on the banks of the historic Wisła river in the Polish capital of Warsaw. The event had hoped to be staged in Croatia, however the plans couldn’t be finalised in the end.

The KSW Welterweight Championship is on the line in the main event, marking its first defence since KSW 49 in May 2019. Defending champion Roberto Soldić (18-3) is a man who needs no introduction. The Croatian is one of the best Welterweights in the world. His striking is world class and he can end things in an instant. Like his hero Cro Cop, if he lands with those kicks, it’s night night. His combinations are a true work of art. We don’t see much of him on the ground because it’s almost impossible to put him there. The challenger comes in the shape of Czech Republic’s Patrik Kincl (24-9). He’s been a knockout machine since joining KSW, beating fan favourites Tomasz Drwal and Tomasz Romanowski. He does also have a ground game, however is more likely to stand and trade. This should be a bit of fun.

Damian Janikowski (6-3) and Paweł Pawlak (18-4-1) compete in the co-main event. Janikowski is a world class wrestler, winning a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games in Greco-Roman wrestling. He likes to use big slams to take you down and use his ground and pound. His striking game just keeps getting better and better and if he lands, he has the power to end it. He’s one of the most explosive athletes you’ll see in MMA. He doesn’t take easy fights, as evidenced by this matchup. Pawlak is a UFC veteran and was most recently the Babilon MMA Middleweight Champion. He’s a very experienced fighter and will look to dominate the striking exchanges with plenty of volume. He’s a very hard man to stop walking forward. I can neither confirm nor deny that the video game Hitman was based on Pawlak. This is a damn good fight.

We have a potential title eliminator between Darko Stošić (15-4) and Michał Andryszak (22-9). Serbia’s Stošić had hoped to be matched with KSW Heavyweight Champion Phil de Fries in this one, however a concussion to the big Englishman put paid to that this time around. Instead we have this feast of violence. Stošić won’t throw massive volume, however what he will throw will register on the Richter scale. He loves big takedowns and from there he has some of the biggest ground and pound in the sport. Every exchange comes with massive danger. Andryszak is a former champion of the division. He’s a man who rarely needs more than the first round. He carries dynamite in his hands and in his feet. He’s also not afraid of the ground and he loves a sneaky Anaconda choke. The bombs will fly in this one.

Antun Račić (25-9-1) is back in action for the first time since losing the KSW Bantamweight Championship in his last bout. The Croatian can put a relentless pace up on the feet and on the ground. His kickboxing is very good and he can wrestle for days. Cardio usually isn’t an issue, be prepared for 15 minutes of non stop action. His opponent is Jakub Wikłacz (11-3-1). He fights out of Arrachion Olsztyn which is the home of KSW Middleweight Champion Mamed Khalidov and the former gym of ex UFC champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. He is going to want to grapple in this one where he can attempt his excellent submission game. The rumour is that the winner of this matchup will get the next shot at champion Sebastian Przybysz. Lots to play for in this one.

In a potential fight of the night encounter, Tommy Romanowski (13-8) will wage war with Aleksandar Rakas (16-8). Romanowski was the winner of KSW’s version of TUF, Tylko Jeden. He’s won 8 of his last 10 in a style that has made him a massive fan favourite. He leaves everything inside that cage and win or lose he will put on a show. He is here to stand and trade. Croatia’s Rakas is a strong all rounder. He can hurt you with his kickboxing and he can trick you into submission on the deck. This should be a fun one.

The studio era has been a bit of a transition period for KSW. With some of the biggest ticket sellers coming to the end of their careers (Mariusz Pudzianowski, Mamed Khalidov) or having left the promotion (Michał Materla), it has been necessary to blood some new fighters. With little to no crowd, it’s led to a lot more inexperienced fighters on cards than we’d be used to seeing. The Flyweight division has seen a lot of new faces and KSW 63 will be no different with two bouts scheduled. One of which is Emilia Czerwińska (debut) vs Weronika Eszer (debut). Czerwińska comes from a K-1 background and has won titles on a national and international level. Eszer is a black belt judoka and also a Polish amateur MMA champion. We could be looking at the stars of the future here.

There’s more young fighters looking to make a name for themselves in the Light Heavyweight division. Damian Piwowarczyk (3-0) will take on Marcin Trzciński (1-0). “Piwo” is the new breed of fighter that can do everything well. He’s a threat on the feet and on the floor. He had an impressive win via guillotine choke against Sławomir Bryla on a Babilon MMA show earlier this year. He has been very active and is raring to go in this one. Trzciński is stepping up a level in competition in this one. He likes to use his striking to set up takedowns. He hasn’t shown much of a finishing threat to date, however at this weight it only takes one mistake to lead to your downfall.

In another Flyweight contest, Sara Smajic (2-1) will face Aitana Alvarez (1-0). Croatia’s Smajic is a prospect out of the UFD Gym in Düsseldorf, home of her fellow countrymen Soldić and Račić. She is predominantly a boxer and picked up a nice win against kick-boxer Kaylee Vos at EMC 5. Spain’s Alvarez comes in undefeated. She comes over from the AFL promotion and impressed in her debut on the Valkyries ladies only show. She is an all rounder and will perhaps try to take this down to negate her opponents boxing.

Michał Domin (3-2) and Szymon Karolczyk (4-1) will open the show. Domin came up short in his KSW debut last time out against Robert Ruchała. He has yet to see the final bell in his professional career and is a finishing threat standing and grappling. Karolczyk is taking this on a week’s notice, replacing Armenia’s Armen Stepanyan who pulled out due to injury. He trains out of Ankos MMA in Poznań and has a lovely submission game. He’s aggressive on offence wherever the fight goes and will throw up submissions from his back if needs be. This is a big opportunity for him and his first appearance on the big show.

KSW 63 is live on PPV this Saturday at 19:00 Dublin time. Access costs €10 and can be bought at KSWTV.com.

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.