Today, we’re exploring the KSW promotion headquartered in Warsaw, Poland. KSW stands for “Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki” or “Martial Arts Confrontation” and it is considered Europe’s largest professional MMA organization. The Martial Arts Confrontation, NSS has held 39 events in its 12 years of operation. KSW 34 is scheduled to take place in Warsaw, Poland on March 5, 2016.

KSW events can be seen throughout Europe on Polsat Sport, Polsat Sport Extra and other private Polsat television stations. Several events are available for view over the internet.

KSW’s TOP 5 Veteran Performers (in alphabetical order)
This section includes athletes that have competed in the promotion at least five times and are not current title holders. Additional noteworthy fighting experience has also been provided.

Jan Blachowicz – 18-5 in MMA overall, (16-2 KSW, former Light Heavyweight Champion, KSW 2010 Light Heavyweight Tournament Champion), (1-2 UFC)

Wins over Christian M’Pumbu (armbar), Aziz Karaoglu (armbar), Daniel Tabera (TKO-punches), Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (dec), Mario Miranda (dec), Houston Alexander (dec), Goran Reljic (dec), Illir Latifi (TKO-kick/punch)

Losses to Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (TKO), Jimi Manuwa (dec), Corey Anderson (dec)

Francis Carmont – 24-11 in MMA overall, (4-1 KSW, KSW 5 Middleweight Tournament Champion), (5-3 UFC)

Wins over Evert Fyeet (rear naked choke), Kelly Anundson (armbar), Jason Day (TKO-punch), Chris Camozzi (dec), Magnus Cedenblad (rear naked choke), Karlos Vemola (rear naked choke), Tom Lawlor (dec), Lorenz Larkin (dec), Costas Philippou (dec), Guilherme Viana (dec), Anthony Ruz (dec)

Losses to Ross Pointon (TKO-doctor), Evangelista Santos (dec), Vitor Vianna (dec), Karol Bedorf (dec), Baga Agaev (armbar), Ronaldo Souza (dec), C.B. Dollaway (dec), Thales Leites (KO-punch), Phil Davis (KO-punch)

Michal Materla – 22-5 in MMA overall, (9-2 KSW, former Middleweight Champion, NSS 6 Middleweight Tournament Champion)

Wins over Evert Fyeet (rear naked choke), James Zikic (dec), Matt Horwich (dec), Jay Silva, Rodney Wallace (KO-punches), Kendall Grove (dec), Jorge Luis Berezerra (TKO-punch), Thomas Woodman (TKO-punch)

Losses to Evangelista Santos (TKO-punches), Antonio Mendes (dec), Jay Silva (KO-punch), Mamed Khalidov (TKO-punch)

Marius Pudzianowski – 9-4-1 in MMA overall, (9-3-1 KSW)

Wins over Eric Esch (punches), Bob Sapp (TKO-punch), Sean McCorkle (dec), Oli Thompson (dec), Pawel Nastula (dec), Rolles Gracie Jr. (KO-punch)

Losses to Tim Sylvia (punches), James Thompson (triangle choke), Sean McCorkle (kimura), Peter Graham (TKO-punch/elbow)

Goran Reljic – 15-6 in MMA overall, (3-2 KSW, former KSW Light Heavyweight Champion), (1-3 UFC)

Wins over Wilson Gouveia (TKO-punch), Rogent Lloret (TKO-punch), Karol Celinski, Tomasz Narkun (dec), Attila Vegh (dec)

Losses to C.B. Dollaway (dec), Kendall Grove (dec), Krzysztof Soszynski (dec), Jan Blachowicz (dec), Tomasz Narkun (KO-punch), Vadim Nemkov (TKO-punch)

NOTE: Plenty of other high profile fighters competed under the KSW banner at one time or another including Alexander Gustafsson, Pawel Nastula, Jasminka Cive, Ariane Lipski, Eric Esch, James Thompson, Christian M’Pumbu, Valentijn Overeem, Attila Vegh, James Irvin, Melvin Manhoef, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Houston Alexander, Tomasz Drwal, Jim Wallhead, Igor Pokrajac, Rolles Gracie Jr., Sean McCorkle, Jesse Taylor, Matt Lindland, Virgil Zwicker, Brett Cooper, Shonie Carter, Jason Guida, Jay Silva, Jordan Radev, Andre Winner, Igor Araujo, Martin Malkhasyan, Evert Fyeet, Andre Fyeet, Antonio Mendes, Alexey Oleinik, Aziz Karaoglu, Dave Dalgliesh, Peter Sobotta, Rodrigo Correira, Daniel Tabera, Anthony Rea, Daniel Acacio, Matt Horwich, Terry Martin, Oli Thompson, Konstantin Gluhov, Thomas Woodman, Ryuta Sakurai, James McSweeney, Przemyslaw Saleta, Kazuki Tokudome, James Zikic, Curt Warburton, Mario Miranda, Rodney Wallace, Paul Slowinski and Sergej Grecicho

KSW CHAMPIONS
All of the current divisional champions are listed. Some of these guys may be headed to a promotion near you in the future.

Heavyweight Champion Karol Bedorf – 13-2 in MMA overall, (9-2 KSW)
Bedorf trains out of the Berserker’s Team/Ankos Stocks and won the KSW Heavyweight Championship by defeating PRIDE FC veteran Pawel Nastula. He has defended the title twice; stopping Rolles Gracie with strikes to the body at KSW 28 and stopping Michael Kita with a kick to the head at KSW 33.

Light Heavyweight Champion Tomasz Narkun – 11-2 in MMA overall, (3-1 KSW)
Narkun trains out of the Berserker’s Team and won the KSW Light Heavyweight Championship by knocking out UFC and RIZIN FF veteran Goran Reljic in England last October. Reljic had beaten Narkun by decision in their first meeting at KSW 29 in Poland nearly a year earlier.

Middleweight Champion Mamed Khalidov – 31-4-2 in MMA overall, (16-0-2 KSW)
Khalidov trains out of the Arrachion MMA Fighters Team and as part of the official KSW Team. He won the light heavyweight title knocking out PRIDE FC veteran Daniel Acacio at KSW 11. Khalidov fought Ryuta Sakurai to a draw at KSW 13 while still holding the light heavyweight title. He moved down to middleweight and won the KSW Middleweight Championship by knocking out Michael Materla at KSW 33.

Welterweight Champion Borys Mankowski – 18-5-1 in MMA overall, (7-2 KSW)
Mankowski trains out of the Ankos Stocks Team. He won the title submitting Aslambiek Saidow by triangle choke at KSW 27. This was Mankowski’s second chance at the title, having lost to Saidow in their first meeting 2 years earlier due to a leg injury. He first defended the title at KSW 29, choking out David Zawada and then again at KSW 32, submitting UFC veteran Jesse Taylor by guillotine choke.

Lightweight Champion currently vacant
The most recent lightweight champion was Maciej Jewtusszko. He vacated the title due to injury and now competes as a welterweight.

Featherweight Champion Arthur Sowinski – 16-7-0-2 in MMA overall, (5-3-0-1 KSW)
Mankowski trains out of the Silesian Cage Club. He won the title by decision defeating Kleber Koike Erbst at KSW 33 last November. He also fought for the lightweight title losing by Brabo choke against former champion Maciej Jewtusszko at KSW 21. Sowinski knocked out Jewtusszko one year earlier at KSW 17.

Women’s Strawweight Champion Karolina Kowalkiewicz – 8-0 in MMA overall, (5-0 KSW)
Kowalkiewiczi trains out of Gracie Barra Lodz out of Lodz, Poland. She won the title submitting Marta Chojnoska by rear naked choke at KSW 23 in 2013. She also made her UFC debut last month defeating Randa Markos by decision.

5 KSW FIGHTS YOU SHOULD SEE

KSW 21: Mamed Khalidov vs. Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove
Mamed Khalidov is truly the face of the KSW promotion. He is 16-0-2 in the promotion and has held both the middleweight and light heavyweight titles. He has black belts in tae kwon do and Kyokushin Karate as well as a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Kendall Grove is The Ultimate Fighter Season 3 tournament champion and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.

Khalidov controlled the pace and striking throughout the opening round. He landed a spinning heel kick to the head and a jumping punch to the face but most of his offense was leg kicks. Grove didn’t land anything. In round 2 Khalidov got more aggressive but he struggled to hit the significantly taller Grove. In turn, Grove had a hard time landing cleanly and never truly locked in on Khalidov’s movement. He was able to stuff Khalidov’s takedown and applied a front choke but he couldn’t secure it. Khalidov got a takedown and the pair fought from Grove’s guard. When Grove rolled to seize an armbar Khalidov stood up and grabbed Grove’s left leg, rolling back and flipping to stomach for Achilles Lock.

KSW 31: Mariusz Pudzianowski vs. Rolles Gracie Jr.
5-time World’s Strongest Man, 6-time Europe’s Strongest Man and 6-time Poland’s Strongest Man, Marius Pudzianowski brought a 9-3-1 MMA record into the fight. Rolles Gracie Jr. is 3rd Degree black belt in both judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a UFC veteran and a professional wrestler.

The majority of Pudzianowski’s fights are “punch until someone falls” – type of affairs that are light on technique and heavy on testosterone. He’s been in the cage with some monsters including Sapp, Esch, Sylvia and Thompson but Gracie had legitimate technique. Rolles just didn’t get a chance to show it. Pudzianowski landed one punch – a thundering overhand right – and Gracie fell face down on the mat covering up, waiting for the ref to step in.

KSW 31: Tomasz Drwal vs. Michal Materla
Drwal is a 5-time UFC veteran and earned a Master’s Degree in Physical Education. Materla is a Polish Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion and an ADCC Submission Wrestling Championships competitor. He also earned and defended the KSW middleweight championship title 4 times.

With just 3 fights in 4 years, I was impressed with how good Drwal looked in this fight. He was superior to the 2009 version of himself that fought in the UFC. Drwal’s accuracy is what was most impressive. He tagged Materla early and kept him missing for much of the opening round. Even when Materla rushed him for a clinch, Drwal shook him off and sent him to other side of cage. When Materla succeeded in taking Drwal down he couldn’t finish him.

The heat was on Materla in the second round. He landed a hard right straight that wobbled Drwal and followed with knees to body. It only seemed to make Drwal more aggressive. They traded strikes in clinch and Drwal opened a cut on Materla’s left eye. The round ended with Materla getting a takedown. The final round was more of the same with Drwal looking like the sharper, fresher athlete. Materla scored a takedown, moved to side control and worked his way to a top crucifix position. He maintained position and landed a series of punches to face. The ref stopped the fight but Drwal jumped up and didn’t appear badly hurt.

KSW 32: Maquel Falcao vs. Brett Cooper
Cooper is a long-time veteran of Bellator MMA and fought in their Season 8 and Season 10 middleweight tournaments. Falcao won Bellator MMA’s Season 6 middleweight tournament in 2012 and fought for the middleweight title in 2013.

Cooper definitely seemed game to fight, throwing kicks and punches for range, but Falcao jumped in the fire. He was bobbing and weaving, moving forward and engaging Cooper. Falcao moved into clinching range and seized Cooper’s head. Cooper unloaded 8 to 10 unanswered punches to the body and head that should’ve lit up Falcao but the Brazilian landed a right to the head of his own and kept moving forward. He landed a left-right to the head that stunned Cooper. Falcao recognized it and kept charging, backing Cooper to cage but missing on a lunging left straight. They circled back to the center of the cage and Falcao attacked. He landed an overhand right as a set-up, tagged him with a straight left and dropped him with a straight right for the finish.

KSW 32: Rafal Moks vs. JimWallhead
“Judo” Jim Wallhead is a black belt in judo, a 3-time Under-21 British Judo Champion and a veteran of the BAMMA and Bellator MMA promotions. Rafal “Kulturysta” Moks is a body builder and the former M-1 Global Middleweight Champion.

There was a long feeling out process but it was obvious from the start that Wallhead wanted to keep it standing and Moks wanted to bring it to the mat. Wallhead showed superior footwork and was able to stuff Moks’ takedowns. One failed takedown resulted in Moks falling to his back for a heel hook. Wallhead escaped and Moks continued to stalk him, throwing solid kicks to the body. Moks was definitely more aggressive in the opening round. Wallhead woke up in the second, landing a hard uppercut to the chin 30 seconds into the round. Moks would continue to land leg kicks but Wallhead controlled the pace. Moks stayed on the attack but the majority of his offense was contained. Wallhead backs up Moks with a jab and landed a solid straight right to the top of Moks’ head. He landed another straight right to the body and it was clear Wallhead’s superior boxing and movement had become too difficult for Moks to deal with. Wallhead backed up to draw Moks toward him and he walked in to a straight right. He was visibly shaken. Wallhead charged Moks, dropping him to the canvas with a left-right-left combination. A short right-left hook combo to a now seated Moks was all the ref needed to see.

NOTE: These are just 5 fights I would recommend viewing. A hardcore fan of the promotion may have a totally different list. Do you have a KSW fight you think everyone should see? Let us know in the comment section below.

NEXT UP: Korea’s ROAD FC promotion

About The Author

James Hirth
Staff Writer

James Hirth has been covering combat sports in a variety of media formats (magazine, internet and radio) since the late 1990’s. He was first exposed to Mixed Martial Arts (then called No Holds Barred) when a training partner brought in a grainy VHS tape of an event called the Japan Open Vale Tudo ’94. James recalls “I’m the first person I‘m aware of who was familiar with Rickson Gracie’s fights before Royce. I saw a tape of UFC 1 a few weeks later and I was hooked”. Having done everything from in-house play-by-play and judging at live fights, ringside camera work and even cornering a fighter - in addition to previews and interviews - James has witnessed the growth of the sport. James has studied a variety of martial arts for more than 30 years. Growing up in Chicago and the youngest of 8 children, James’ oldest brother would take him Downtown to the theaters of The Loop on Saturday mornings in the late 1970’s to see martial arts films. Like many youth of that day, seeing Bruce Lee on the big screen changed his life. His brother would also introduce him to the arts of Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido where he spent 10 years training and teaching at the same academy. After receiving his Bachelors of Science in Business Operations he spent 5 years in the field of Marketing Research in The Loop. The 9-11 tragedy resulted in significant layoffs in the industry and he would return to teaching martial arts, this time for a non-for-profit organization. He spent more than a decade teaching and developing a variety of martial arts programming in multiple branches of the organization. He not only taught all ages and in more than a dozen Chicago Public Schools, but had the opportunity to train Cook County Juvenile Probation Officers and the children of local FBI agents. Now James is thrilled to bring his years of experience to The MMA Corner and Press Box Insider.