Mamed Khalidov (Piotr Pedziszewski/Sherdog)Poland: MMA’s Newest Hotbed of Talent Riley Kontek May 20, 2014 Spotlight Right now, the current craze on MMA talent comes in the form of Russian fighters. It seems every time you hear of a hot fighter or a tough prospect to keep your eye on, they are from Russia. It has been a hotbed for talent that will continue to give positively to the sport. However, there is another country in Europe that has quietly produced talent left and right as of late, and that is Poland. Poland has become a territory that features extremely talented fighters known for their awesome grappling ability, fantastic technique and overall skillfulness. Take, for instance, the countries top promotion, KSW. KSW has consistently delivered exciting shows with top-notch talent, many of whom hail from Poland. The promotion’s biggest star is top-10 middleweight Mamed Khalidov, who fans have yearned to see in the UFC for many years. Khalidov has main-evented KSW show after KSW show, dispatching of UFC veterans left and right. His most recent performance came over the weekend, when he faced a challenging foe in the form of UFC and Bellator vet Maiquel Falcao. Almost effortlessly, Khalidov tapped out the ferocious Brazilian with a slick armbar. The company is also carried by guys like Michal Materla, Karol Bedorf and Mariusz Pudzianowski, though the latter of the three is more of a celebrity attraction than a legitimate threat in the sport. Not only does KSW promote those stars, but the organization also brings in notable names such as Tim Sylvia, Sean McCorkle and countless other guys who cut their teeth in the UFC. KSW’s shows are high quality and have the feel of a company that is a big fish in a little pond in the market that is European MMA. The promotion’s television presentation is marvelous, and the level of competition is something that should be talked about more in the MMA world. The success of Polish talent isn’t limited to KSW. The Polish presence in the UFC has increased over the last year or so. Whereas in the past one would be hard-pressed to find any Polish fighters on the roster, the UFC now boasts names like Jan Blachowicz, Daniel Omielanczuk, Krzysztof Jotko and Piotr Hallmann. Outside of Blachowicz, who has yet to debut for the company, each of those fighters has won one fight in the UFC. Omielanczuk and Hallmann are 1-1, and Jotko is 1-0. That makes for a promising groups of fighters for a company full of top mixed martial artists. Don’t just think it’s limited to the men, either. Poland also has two top-15 female fighters to boast about. Those ladies are Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. This past weekend, at KSW 27, Kowalkiewicz added an impressive submission of Jasminka Cive to a resume that already included a decision win over Simona Soukupova. One week earlier, Jedrzejczyk notched the fifth victory on her spotless record with a unanimous verdict over Karla Benitez. Both ladies remain undefeated and have welcomed increasingly tougher competition. The pair of Polish ladies have signed with Invicta FC, and they are now set to make their U.S. debuts in the near future. They add great depth to the company, and they could eventually become title challengers there. The list of promising Polish talent doesn’t end there. There are also such up-and-comers as Marcin Lasota, Marcin Tybura, Lukasz Sajewski and Damian Grabowski. Sooner or later, the UFC is going to go into Poland and put on a show. When the promotion does, it will have the option of signing many of these fighters who would not only make the card deeper, but would also continue to bolster the UFC’s divisions. MMA in certain countries comes in phases. Russia is the current hotbed. Ireland is starting to pick up the pace. Australia had a ton of potential not long ago. And Poland is a spring of talent that is just waiting to be tapped.