KSW 78 Preview; Materla vs Grove II; Tommy vs Paczuski

The start of a new month brings with it the start of another twelve event year for KSW. The circle cage will be returning to Szczecin’s Netto Arena this Saturday night. The 5000 fans in attendance at KSW 78 will be treated to nine fights under KSW MMA rules.

Michał Materla (31-9) is the beating heart of KSW. Very few have made the impact he has made on Polish MMA. Going 20-7 in the promotion, the Berserker Team member has been a blood and thunder warrior, winning ten by knockout and five by submission. Boredom doesn’t exist around “Cipao”. The 38-year-old will have the crowd roaring him on in his hometown of Szczecin. They have seen him do it before, his bloody brawls on the feet and putting his BJJ black belt to good use. Materla is an institution and will face a former foe on Saturday. Back at KSW 23, Kendall Grove (24-18) came into the dragon’s den and lost a decision in one of the bloodiest wars in promotional history. The American is a true veteran of the sport and has competed for the UFC and Bellator. The 40-year-old has no fear and won’t be shy to recreate the scenes of the first fight. Both men can brawl, both can cinch in submissions in the blink of an eye. Will history repeat itself?

The co-main event has all the hallmarks of a barnburner. Tomasz Romanowski (17-8) makes the jump up to middleweight for this one, and he brings with him a fan favourite striking style. This man will stand and trade with anyone. Tommy has won four on the bounce with three coming via knockout, all against strong opposition. The 33-year-old is also a member of the Berserker team so his usual loud pop will be even louder. Radosław Paczuski (5-0) will face him down from the blue corner. The Warsaw man is a championship kickboxer and Muay Thai specialist. The 29-year-old has an impressive undefeated record and has only fought for top European MMA promotions. Movement and power are his keys to victory here. This should be a cracker.

Roman Szymański (16-6) has been one of the best lightweights on the European scene over the last number of years and has only lost to KSW champions in that time. The Poznań man has had a trio of victories since 2021, with two finishes as a result of strikes. The 29-year-old can fall back to his wrestling if needed and is a tough matchup for anyone. Raul Tutarauli (31-6) is a legend of Georgian MMA. The 30-year-old had a hugely successful run in Russia with ACA and M-1 Challenge. The Guram Fight Club man is a knockout machine and uses knees, elbows, kicks and punches to brutalise opponents. He’ll provide a title worthy test for the Pole.

Borys Mańkowski (22-10) is another key piece of KSW history, including being one half of the legendary Coliseum main event back in May 2017. The Czerwony Smok man is a BJJ black belt and has some of the best wrestling in Europe. The 33-year-old pairs that up with nice boxing. He comes at you with volume from the first second to the last. Valeriu Mircea (27-8-1) trains out of Italy and comes from Moldova. Striking is where he’s most dangerous and he possesses big knockout power. The 29-year-old also has a strong wrestling and judo base which helps keep things on the feet where he can do the most damage. Two veterans compete in what should be a fascinating contest.

Łukasz Sudolski (10-1) is the Babilon MMA Light Heavyweight champion and he makes his KSW debut on Saturday night. He’s another Berserker that will enjoy the crowd’s backing. The 29-year-old was unsuccessful in his Dana White Contender Series attempt and is looking to continue on the road back to the top. At 6ft4in, he’s tall and athletic. Striking is his main weapon and six of his wins have come via knockout. Kleber Silva (20-11) is also a promotional debutant. The 35-year-old is a former Jungle Fight champion who has also had a Bellator win to his name. Not an easy man to finish, most of his losses come via decision. On the offence, thirteen of his wins have been on the feet. These lads will likely try and remove each other’s heads.

Rafał Kijańczuk (11-5) is known for his fun walkout music and his quick first round knockouts. The WCA man is willing to take risks to get them, and has come undone four times himself. Throwing knees and bungalows is his style. Marc Doussis (8-1) is walking trouble. The UFD Gym man is likely going to walk straight into the centre of the cage and try to use his own devastating stopping power to get the win. The German can also fall back on his strong wrestling game if the heat gets too much. Don’t blink during this one.

Łukasz Rajewski (11-8), brother of title contender Sebastian, is looking to snap a two-fight skid. The Czerwony Smok man is a Sanda specialist that controls the distance very well and uses lovely movement to terrorise his foes. He’s worked hard on his grappling in the meantime and has some nice leg locks. Sahil Siraj (7-1) is one of the most intriguing names on the card and comes in with a reputation of being an exciting fighter. Training out of Sweden, he’s a no nonsense striker who is out to finish you as soon as humanly possible. Footwork versus power.

Oskar Szczepaniak (3-1) from Szczecin is one of the hardest tongue twisters on the card. The 23-year-old is a young up-and-coming talent. The Berserker has a very slick BJJ game and his striking is improving all the time. Raimondas Krilavičius (7-2-1) comes from the Lithuanian scene. The 26-year-old did show some good BJJ skills in a brief stint outside of his native Lithuania, a first round rear naked choke win against Moraad Moreno on a Superior Challenge show. Two young men to watch.

Borys Dzikowski (2-0) opens the card for the second time running and he’ll be hoping for lightning to strike the same spot twice. The Rawicz man got the highlight reel head kick knockout on his debut against Arkadiusz Mruk at KSW 74. First round knockouts are his jam. Andre Langen (1-0) comes in at short notice after the original opponent Damian Mieczkowski pulled out. The German is a boxer and kickboxer who won his debut via ground and pound. Another fight that shouldn’t need the judges’ input.

KSW 78 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.