Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki poster boy Mamed Khalidov extended his current winning streak to seven fights on Saturday, submitting hard-hitting veteran Melvin Manhoef with a first-round guillotine choke in the KSW 23 headliner.
Khalidov, 32, held his own in the standup at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, though neither man was able to land cleanly during their early exchanges. The Pole then quickly closed the distance, faking a kick and looking for a double-leg takedown. Though Manhoef stifled that attempt, Khalidov locked up a standing guillotine. The Dutchman tried to slam his way out of the technique, but Khalidov maintained his grip, forcing Manhoef to tap out soon after hitting the canvas.
“He did a great job, and he won fair and square. I cannot argue about that,” said Manhoef. “I want a rematch, if it’s possible, because I’m not finished.”
UFC veteran Sean McCorkle halted a three-fight skid in the evening’s co-main event, snatching a submission victory over former five-time World’s Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski. However, “Big Sexy” appeared to have no answer for Pudzianowski’s wild power punches to start the contest and unsuccessfully tried to take the fight to the floor several times. Pudzianowski met him with sprawls and put him on his back, where the strongman unloaded with ground-and-pound before voluntarily returning to his feet.
The tide then quickly turned after McCorkle stuck his opponent with a hard jab. The hulking Pole then erred while trying for a diving takedown, allowing McCorkle to sprawl out and isolate Pudzianowski’s left arm. Pinning “Pudzian” on his side, the American locked up a kimura and torqued the hold, forcing Pudzianowski to submit.
“That guy is by far the strongest human being I have ever felt. He hurt me really bad on the ground,” said McCorkle. “I love [Pudzianowski], and he is one of the favorite people I’ve ever met. These fans are the best fans anywhere in the world, and this production is better than the UFC.”
Michal Materla retained his KSW middleweight title in a hard-fought contest with UFC veteran Kendall Grove, earning a unanimous decision on the strength of his takedowns and top control despite suffering considerable cosmetic damage to his face. Though Grove spent a good portion of the bout on his back, the Hawaiian used his long frame to score with clean strikes both standing and from his guard. The bout was scheduled for just three rounds, but KSW officials decided to extend the contest into a fourth, sudden victory frame, during which both men delivered meaningful offense. In the end, however, it was Materla who saw his hand raised, securing the 29-year-old his seventh straight victory.
Welterweight champion Aslambek Saidov successfully defended his belt for the first time against onetime Strikeforce competitor Ben Lagman, submitting the American with a second-round armbar. Saidov controlled the bout with his wrestling from start to finish, threatening twice with a keylock in the first frame before attempting a kimura from side control in round two. Though Lagman managed to escape the initial technique, the champion quickly transitioned to an armbar and elicited the tap.
Earlier, Karolina Kowalkiewicz became the first women’s champion in KSW history, submitting fellow flyweight Marta Chojnoska with a first-round rear-naked choke. Kowalkiewicz came out aggressive from the get-go, throwing straight punches and initiating the clinch, where Chojnoska attempted a head-and-arm throw. The technique was countered, however, and Kowalkiewicz took her opponent’s back, flattening her out before raining down punches to the ears and locking up the fight-ending submission.
Undefeated grappler Mateusz Gamrot kept his pro record pristine by earning a second-round technical knockout over Mateusz Zawadzki. Gamrot put his superior wrestling to good use in the first frame, scoring multiple takedowns and controlling his opponent. The Pole then hit a double-leg takedown in the second round that signaled the beginning of the end for his countryman, who could not answer the bell the start the third round after absorbing a sustained stream of ground-and-pound to close the second stanza.
In the evening’s opening contest, Brazilian talent Luiz Ricardo Simon took a unanimous decision from the previously unbeaten Mateusz Piskorz, lacerating the Pole above his right eye and staggering him midway through the second frame of their welterweight showdown. “Kado” especially controlled the bout’s final five minutes, consistently scoring with one-twos and left hooks to the head, as well as hard kicks to the legs and body of the fatigued Piskorz.