Mamed Khalidov Retains Middleweight Title with Bizarre Performance in KSW 35 Headliner

By Tristen Critchfield May 27, 2016
Mamed Khalidov was successful in his first Kontrontacja Sztuk Walki middleweight title defense, but it was hardly a vintage performance.

Khalidov (32-4-2) defeated Aziz Karaoglu (9-7) via majority decision in the KSW 35 headliner at the Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, on Friday, extending his winning streak to 12 straight fights. Two judges scored the bout 29-28 for the 35-year-old champion, while a third submitted a 28-28 scorecard. However, he barely resembled the fighter regarded by many as one of the top talents outside the UFC.

It was a bout that saw referee Marc Goddard warn Khalidov for timidity in the third round after the champion spent much of the contest flopping to his back in hopes of drawing his opponent into his guard. For the most part, Karaoglu ignored the invitations, which disrupted the rhythm of the fight as Goddard was forced to repeatedly call for one standup after another.

However, Khalidov likely did enough work in the first and second frames to cement the victory. He successfully executed a single-leg takedown in round one and escaped a guillotine before moving to mount and then taking his foe’s back before the horn sounded. Khalidov whiffed on a variety of spinning kicks in the second stanza, after which he would fall to the canvas in hopes luring Karaoglu to the ground with him. His most significant offense of the frame occurred late in the round when he was able to frame a triangle choke on his adversary. Khalidov was breathing heavily when he released the hold.

Round three was Karaoglu’s best, and while Khalidov was clearly wary of his power, the German-based fighter mostly walked down his foe without doing any serious damage. Khalidov was ultimately able to stay out of trouble until the final horn without receiving the forewarned point deduction.

In a post-fight interview, Khalidov speculated that he could take as much as a year off.

In the co-main event, Marcin Rozalski handed Mariusz Pudzianowski his second straight loss, as he submitted the five-time World’s Strongest Man winner with a surprise second-round guillotine choke. The end came 1:46 into the period when Pudzianowski (9-5) appeared to briefly tap out with his left arm, something he would dispute after the conclusion of the bout.

It looked as though it was going to be a rough outing for Rozalski (6-4) after he was taken down and battered by Pudzianowski ground-and-pound in the opening stanza. The assault continued in the second frame, with “Pudz” executing a powerful double-leg in the opening minute and assuming top position once again. Shortly thereafter, Rozalski scooted to a seated position near the fence, where he ensnared his foe’s neck. Rozalski then dropped for the fight-ending maneuver, forcing Pudzianowski to ask out of the heavyweight contest moments later.

Michal Materla survived an early burst from Antoni Chmielewski to win via first-round technical knockout in a middleweight showdown. A time for the stoppage was not announced. It was Materla’s (23-5) first KSW appearance since dropping the middleweight title to Khalidov in a 31-second KO defeat this past November.

Chmielewski (32-15) exploded out of the gate, landing a takedown and flurrying for a quick finish with aggressive ground-and-pound. However, Materla survived the barrage and eventually reversed and moved into top position. From there, “Magic” passed guard and moved to his opponent’s back, where he unloaded with a series of unanswered punches. Chmielewski was given plenty of leeway to recover, but the contest was mercifully halted after the longtime promotional veteran curled up near the fence and continued to absorb Materla’s blows.

Elsewhere, Mateusz Gamrot made sure Mansour Barnaoui didn’t add another belt to his trophy case. The Polish prospect outworked the former M-1 and BAMMA champion over the course of three-rounds, winning a hard-fought unanimous verdict (30-27, 30-26, 30-26) to capture the vacant KSW 155-pound crown. Barnaoui was stripped of his M-1 title shortly after he agreed to face Gamrot.

The contest was extremely competitive early, as both men took turns moving into advantageous positions in the opening stanza. The bigger Barnaoui (12-4) did well landing punching combinations and sprawling on takedowns, but those moments were few and far between against the relentless Gamrot (11-0), who always seemed to be one step ahead of his opponent. The 25-year-old gradually overwhelmed Barnaoui with his scrambling ability and control as the bout progressed, punctuating his win with a dominant third round in which he spent most of the frame landing short punches and elbows from the Frenchman’s half guard.

“The Ultimate Fighter 22” cast member Marcin Wrzosek (11-3) earned his first victory since falling at the reality show’s finale in December, as he outpointed Filip Wolanski (9-2) in a featherweight encounter. All three cageside judges submitted 29-28 scorecards for “The Polish Zombie.”

Wolanski’s best moment came in the first round, when he briefly wobbled his foe with a stout right hook. Wrzosek recovered and gradually asserted himself, relying on superior footwork and head movement to get the better of exchanges down the stretch. His best work came in the final stanza, where he repeatedly battered Wolanski in the clinch with short elbows and knees to the body.

Rafal Moks (11-8) halted a two-fight skid under the KSW banner with a split verdict over Robert Radomski (12-4) in a featured lightweight tilt. Two judges saw it 29-28 for the Berserkers Team representative, while a third scored it in favor of Radomski.

Although the combatants entered the fight with 14 combined submission victories between them, much of the first half of the bout was spent on the feet. The taller Radomski got the best of the action standing, as he gradually found a rhythm with his jab and right hand. However, Moks put a permanent stamp on the fight down the stretch, threatening with a guillotine in round two and taking his foe down three times in the final stanza.

Lukasz Chlewicki (14-4-1) grinded his way to a unanimous decision triumph over Azi Thomas (6-2) in a lightweight contest. All three judges scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Chlewicki, who has won four of his last five. Thomas was effective in spurts, particularly in standup exchanges, but Chlewicki was able to take his opponent down in each frame and spent large portions of time controlling the fight from top position.

In earlier action, Marcin Wojcik (9-4) took a unanimous verdict (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) over Michal Fijalka (15-6-1) at light heavyweight and Kamil Szymuszowski (15-4) defeated Mindaugas Verzbickas (10-4-1) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) at welterweight.

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