Mamed Khalidov remains the centerpiece of the KSW organization. | Piotr Pedziszewski/Sherdog.com
Although KSW lacks the deep history of M-1 Global or King of the Cage, it is still a venerable organization with more than a decade of promotion under its belt. Headquartered and based in Poland, KSW has been an essential part of the country’s gradually increasing involvement in the worldwide MMA scene. That phenomenon reached its early peak with Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s claiming of the UFC women’s strawweight title, but a new wave of Polish fighters looks to build on her success and rise even higher.
Tournaments were a staple of KSW’s early shows, and it built on a few well-known Polish fighters to eventually become the country’s biggest promotion. By 2009, KSW had hit on a successful formula: a combination of competitive fights featuring Polish and regional talent and an emphasis on name value and entertainment, especially in the person of strongman and local star Mariusz Pudzianowski. Chechen middleweight Mamed Khalidov also became a staple of its shows.
KSW’s over-the-top presentation and entertainment manifests itself in many different ways, including a fighter making his way to the ring in a tank. Few promotions offer more “WTF” moments per show than KSW, but that does not overshadow the excellent matchmaking and talent acquisition that consistently pumps out high-level fighters.
With the UFC coming to Poland for the first time this month, KSW will have to see whether that formula remains viable or if it will have to change to keep up with its mammoth international competition.
Number 1 » This is the granddaddy of them all. Its roots go all the way back to the Japanese wrestling scene of the mid-1980s, beginning as an attempt to develop a real fighting system based on the takedowns and submission holds of professional wrestling; it developed from there into a worldwide system of amateur and professional mixed martial arts.