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KSW 42: Narkun vs Khalidov fight card preview

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KSW 42: Narkun vs Khalidov

The Polish combat extravaganza sets up another card with a lot of substance.

Glamour appears to be the theme for KSW’s latest offering, as KSW 42 kicks off this weekend in Lodz, Poland. Here’s a rundown of Saturday’s event.

Considering champion vs champion matches are all the rage, the main event for this card will be KSW’s middleweight champion Mamed Khalidov (34-4-2 draws) facing off against KSW light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun (14-2). Khalidov has been something of a mythical entity in the sport, as one of the most highly touted and most talented and ferocious competitors never to have signed with a major promotion such as the UFC or Bellator (or even Strikeforce, for that matter). Undefeated since 2010, he’s gone through the best names outside of the major promotions such as Jesse Taylor, Brett Cooper, Kendall Grove, Maiquel Falcao, Tor Troeng, Igor Pokrajac, and Michal Materla. Last year, Khalidov won a unanimous decision against Borys Mankowski after a stunning finish over former UFC fighter Luke Barnatt, and now hopes to keep his winning ways against a very tough opponent.

Narkun started his career with a win on the local scene for his debut, then moved on to M-1 Global and other regional orgs before landing at KSW. Despite losses to Vyacheslav Vasilevsky and Goran Reljic (a loss he later avenged), he earned solid wins over Karol Celiński, Simon Carlsen, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and Marcin Wójcik. With the win over Wójcik, Narkun has racked up a nifty little five-fight win streak. The knock on Narkun for some time has been that he is a bit undersized for his weight class, but has a lot of explosive strength and good boxing basics with a knack for putting pressure on his opponent and making him carry his weight. Experience and technique favor Khalidov, though. Mamed’s submission game is savvy, his ground strikes are brutal, and his use of range is great. Having a more complete and polished striking game also boosts his odds of winning, but this fight is must-see either way.

The co-main is an interesting tilt between middleweights Michal Materla (25-5) and former UFC fighter Scott Askham (15-4). Despite being released from the promotion, Askham had some fun moments in the UFC, having KO and TKO wins in the octagon (and a pre-UFC win over Jack Marshman). His first fight after his release was a split decision win over Luke Barnatt last September. Materla has 12 submissions on his record, with three knockouts and four TKOs. He’s had losses earlier in his career against Evangelista Santos and former UFC fighter Antonio Mendes, and went 1-1 against Jay Silva, avenging a loss in their first encounter. Also on his record are wins over Matt Horwich, James Zikic and Tomasz Drwal. Materla’s also currently on a three-fight win streak with wins over Antoni Chmielewski (TKO), Rousimar Palhares (KO) and Paulo Thiago (TKO).

Two titles will also be on the line, as Brazilian phenom Ariane Lipski (10-3) faces Argentinian challenger Silvana Gomez Juarez (6-1). Lipski has won 8 straight fights, with only one of those going to the judges. Her last four bouts have been against Juliana Werner (KO), former UFC fighter Sheila Gaff (KO), Diana Belbita (armbar) and Mariana Morais (rear naked choke). Fun fact: Gomez is still inexplicably booked to fight the week after, headlining an LFA show against Colombian buzzsaw Sabina Mazo.

Following a controversial win against “Stormin’“ Norman Parke, a rematch in Dublin led to a no-contest for KSW lightweight champion Tomasz Gamrot (13-0-1 NC) after an eyepoke put an end to that fight. Now he faces a new challenger in Grzegorz Szulakowski. Szulakowski had an injury loss to eventual UFC fighter Teemu Packalen, but has been undefeated since with his last two wins being against Renato Gomes (20-10) and Kamil Szymuszowski (16-5). Gamrot has sharpened his game to be more of an all-around fighter, and this has the makings of a compelling matchup.

Following Bellator’s experiment of matching two boxers against each other in an MMA match, this event will see the professional MMA debuts of both Karolina Owczarz and Paulina Raszewska, while featherweights Filip Wolanski and Bartlomiej Kopera face off in what should be an athletic fight with some genuinely good grappling exchanges. As a final note, SBG Ireland’s Chris Fields was unable to make it to Poland in time due to inclement weather situations, and will be replaced by German fighter Hatef Moeil (4-3) to face Marcin Wójcik (10-5) at heavyweight.

The full fight card is as follows:

Tomasz Narkun vs Mamed Khalidov – Catchweight (198lbs)

Michal Materla vs Scott Askham – Middleweight

Macin Wojcik vs Hatef Moeil – Heavyweight

Lukas Jurkowski vs Martin Zawada – Light Heavyweight

Mateusz Gamrot vs Grzegorz Szulakowski – Lightweight championship fight

Filip Wolanski vs Bartlomiej Kopera – Featherweight

Ariane Lipski vs Silvana Gomez Juarez – Flyweight

Karolina Owczarz vs Paulina Raszewska – Flyweight

Krystian Kazubowski vs Christopher Henze – Welterweight

Also, if you’ve never seen a KSW trailer before, you’re definitely missing out. Here’s one for the main event, with more available via their YouTube channel.

KSW 42: Narkun vs Khalidov takes place this Saturday, March 3rd at 10:00am EST. The event will be streaming live for international viewers via Fite.tv or KSW’s proprietary video player on their website.


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