KSW 82 Preview; Hooi v Grzebyk, Przybysz returns

The road to KSW’s massive stadium show in the PGE Stadion Narodowy makes its penultimate stop this weekend. KSW 82 will take place in Poland’s capital of Warsaw and will be held in front of an invite only crowd at the ATM Studio. Seven barn burning matchups await us in what should be a festival of violence.

For most of these fights, you can say sparks are going to fly. The main event is where this should be unleashed in its purest form. Brian Hooi (19-9) has been a revelation so far in the promotion, thrilling fans in the glory of victory and in the agony of defeat. The Dutchman is a human highlight reel. None of his KSW fights have gone the distance and his wins have been spectacular, both knockouts. “Hooibooi” is an explosive kickboxer who takes risks and has the power to put you to sleep quicker than an anaesthesiologist. Business usually ends abruptly with the Ruthless Fight Company man. Andrzej Grzebyk (19-6) isn’t so bad on the feet himself. Rising to prominence as a double champ in FEN, the 32-year old has been a mixed bag since joining the company. Kickboxing is also his game and he picks out your faults better than your own mother. The Rzeszów man works his levels, weaponizes patience and has an innate ability to know when to go for the kill. These men are bonus material and I’d imagine they’ll be picking up extra cheques here.

Sebastian Przybysz (10-3) is the former KSW Bantamweight champion looking to build towards winning his gold back. The Gdynia man has been one of the most successful players at the lowest weight in promotional history, winning seven of nine. The 29-year-old’s submissions are absolutely delicious and he backs it up with a very competitive, combative striking style that wears you down before he goes in for the finish. Filip Macek (27-17-1) comes in from regional rival Oktagon MMA. The Czech was one of their best fighters who unfortunately zigged when he should have zagged in title fights. The 31-year-old is an exquisite martial artist with plenty of experience. The Reinders MMA man started out as a fine karate striker, he’s grown into a ruthless submission expert. He’s got twenty wins by submission, and he’s not a one trick pony. Guillotines, triangles, leg locks, the man can leave you unconscious or twist you into a pretzel by the time you’ve had your breakfast.

We say “blink and you’ll miss it” a lot, it’s never been truer in this matchup. Bogdan Gnidko (9-0) is a man who’s spent less time in a KSW cage than I have despite having two knockout victories to his name. 43-seconds is all it’s taken the Ukrainian to dispatch his opponents to date, including a lightning quick 5-second win over Damian Piwowarczyk. If he feels mercy, he might just submit you. Every win is within three minutes of the very first round. Rafał Kijańczuk (12-5) is a man who shares the same philosophy, except he likely won’t be looking for a tap. Barring a single decision, the Pole has finished everyone within the distance and usually quite quickly. The Chełm man has a personality and picks classic walkout music, and then the cage door shuts. Do not go gentle into that good night.

Donovan Desmae (16-7) has been entertaining European MMA fans since turning pro in 2012. “Vegas” is a mainstay at the top of the table in terms of continental talents and has been a great addition to both Cage Warriors and KSW rosters. The Belgian can do anything, can compete on the feet with the best of them and and sinks in submissions beautifully. This man faces the toughest tests on offer every time and is aggressive enough to go for the finish on each occasion. Raul Tutarauli (31-7) is one of those unsung heroes of European MMA. The Georgian has fought everywhere from ACA, to M-1 Challenge, to GFC. The 31-year-old fell to an armbar defeat to Roman Szymański in his promotional debut, so will be looking to show who he really is this time out. Like most men from the Caucasus region, he can grapple. His biggest threat is in the stand-up however. The Guram Fight Club Man has vicious power that’ll change your evening in a hurry. This is a beautiful duel.

Anita Bekus (6-3) is truthfully someone I’ve underrated in the past. The Bydgoszcz born fighter came into MMA after a successful fitness competitor career and is not short of muscles at all. Strength is her key and she can overpower her opponents with ease. Tragedy struck in her last bout where her arm got fractured by a Sofiia Bagishvili armlock. The Octopus Łódź fighter will be looking to get back to winning ways at the weekend. Aleksandra Toncheva (5-3-1) is a very game opponent. The Bulgarian is an IMMAF veteran and has won various European and World championships, including a win over KSW favourite Aleksandra Rola. The 31-year-old is comfortable wherever a fight may go and has the cardio to go the distance.

Gracjan Szadziński (9-5) is a man you don’t want to look at the wrong way. This is a Berserker who only has one mode, eliminating all who cross his path. Kickboxing is his game and finishing fights is what he does. The Szczecin man only has one thing on his mind and that is violence. A lovely guy outside the cage, the worst man to meet inside it. Wilson Varela (8-5) is another man who doesn’t like to leave it in the judges’ hands. The Frenchman lost his KSW debut to high flyer Maciej Kazieczko, however he has won two on the bounce leading into Saturday. The Marseille man is athletic and can finish fights in any realm very quickly.

Wiktor Zalewski (4-0) is one of the newest signings. The Płock native is a kickboxer with devastating finishing ability. A veteran of CAVE MMA and Strife, this man gets it done by fist, knee, elbow and foot. Danger may or may not be his middle name (it’s not). Robert Maciejowski (6-4-1) is a very tough dude. Durability is his best defensive asset and knockout striking is his offensive specialty. This kickboxer earned his spot the hard way and will fight tooth and nail to keep it.

KSW 82 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.

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