Mamed Khalidov (top) | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Polish promotion Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki on Saturday confirmed the co-main event matchups for KSW 15, scheduled for Mar. 19 at Torwar Hall in in Warsaw, Poland. Middleweight standout Mamed Khalidov will take on UFC and Strikeforce veteran Matt Lindland at the event, while light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz will fight another Team Quest member in Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.
After a breakout year in 2009, Khalidov went 1-1-1 in 2010, losing a five-round decision to Jorge Santiago and drawing with Japanese veteran Ryuta Sakurai before knocking out Yuki Sasaki on Dec. 30. The Sasaki match came at Sengoku’s year-end “Soul of Fight” event and marked the last fight on the 30-year-old’s contract with the promotion.
Lindland, meanwhile, went 1-2 in his recent stint under the Strikeforce banner. The Team Quest co-founder notched a technical knockout of Kevin Casey last May, but that win was sandwiched between losses to Ronaldo Souza and Robbie Lawler, who submitted and knocked out Lindland in the first round, respectively.
“[Lindland’s] forte is definitely his wrestling, so it will be difficult to take him down,” Khalidov said to Sherdog.com of his upcoming opponent. “But from what I saw, he also likes to strike. ... I’m not of the mindset that if he lost by KO, I’ll rush in with strikes. There’s plenty of time before the fight, so we will prepare accordingly.”
Blachowicz has won four straight fights since returning from reconstructive surgery on his right knee in May, bringing his current win streak to nine in total. His last victory came over Spanish veteran Daniel Tabera, whose corner threw in the towel late in the second round of their bout at KSW 14.
His opponent, Sokoudjou, has been on a recent globetrotting spree. Having competed in Australia, Abu Dhabi, Israel and the U.S. in the past 12 months, the “African Assassin” will now fight on continental Europe for the first time. Sokoudjou went 3-2 in 2010, last earning a unanimous decision victory over Valdas Pocevicius in at Israel Fighting Championship on Nov. 9th.
“[Sokoudjou] is a great name to have on your record,” said Blachowicz. “He fought with the best, winning some and losing some. I remember watching his fight in Pride and being in awe, and now I have the opportunity to fight him.”