Sowinski Stakes His Claim For a Title Shot at KSW 38

This Friday top Polish MMA organization KSW made their final stop before the huge KSW 39 stadium show with KSW 38. The card featured a pair of pivotal matchups in the KSW featherweight ranks plus plenty of strong action from young contenders and Polish veterans alike. If you didn’t catch KSW 38 check out all of the results and highlights below.

Main Event:  Lukasz Chlewicki (14-5-1) vs Artur Sowinski (17-8), 145 lbs

 

A pair of top Polish veterans did battle in this KSW 38 marquee attraction. Sowinski, who shares Tony Ferguson’s propensity for wearing sunglasses in very dark places, entered his KSW 37 title defense against Marcin “Polish Zombie” Wrzosek undefeated since dropping to featherweight but ended up seeing his title wrested from him by second round TKO. Meanwhile 38 year old fireplug Chlewicki also saw a win streak snapped at KSW 37 when talented French machine gun Mansour Barnaoui blew him away with a first round knockout. Now former welterweight Chlewicki is making his first appearance at 145, which seems a more appropriate class for a man who stands at 5’7″.

Sowinski looked much faster than his stocky foe, early, leaping in with a pair of shots before spearing Chlewicki with a counter left to the jaw that put him down on the ground. Sowinski pounced for the finish immediately, smashing Lukasz with dozens of left hands to the body and face, but the 38 year old managed to maintain his composure and reverse position after about a minute of ground and pound. But things only good worse for Lukasz from top position, as Sowinski cinched up a triangle choke that earned the tap under two minutes into the fight. What a terrific all-around performance from Artur Sowinski, who improves his record to 18-8 and proves that he is still an absolute force to be reckoned with in the KSW featherweight division. Could a rematch with the Polish Zombie for the KSW featherweight title be far off for Artur?

Co-Main Event: Antoni Chmielewski (32-15) vs Lukasz Bienkowski (4-1), 185 lbs

For a man nicknamed “Polski Wanderlei”, middleweight prospect Lukasz Bienkowski came out with a very patient approach for his co-main event bout against battle-hardened vet Antoni Chmielewski. After a round-long feeling out process in the first, both men came out with a renewed sense of aggression at the start of round two. Yet both seemed somewhat hesitant to engage, with Antoni occasionally pressing for takedowns against the cage to no significant effect. Bienkowski increased his volume some late in the second, winning bombs from distance at regular intervals. But those strikes were well wide of the mark, as there were really no jabs or feints setting the power shot up for either man. Heading into the third it was anyone’s guess how the refs were seeing this one, and Bienkowski finally started to really hit the target as the third frame wore on. This wasn’t the barnburner that KSW fans were hoping for from these two, as there were a couple of even 10-10 rounds on the judges’ cards, but in the end Lukasz Bienkowski scored the biggest win of his career by unanimous decision to advance his record to 5-1.

Fight 6: Roman Szymanski (9-3) vs. Denilson Neves (11-4), 145 lbs

This bout was 23 year old Szymanski’s first start in the featherweight division, following an impressive early-career run in Poland second-tier show FEN that culminated in earning that promotion’s lightweight title. Meanwhile, 21 year old Brazilian Denilson Neves came into the bout with impressive credentials including an eight fight win streak in the Brazilian regionals and a PLMMA lightweight title victory over well-regarded Polish talent Marian Zlotkowski last November. But despite his foe’s potential, Szymanski made this look easy for most of the three round contest, as he got the fight to the ground with ease and remained a step ahead of Neves whenever the fight got there. Syzmanski nearly cost himself the bout in round three, as he did an Anderson Silva dancing-against-the-cage impersonation that Neves countered with a crushing flying knee to the sternum. That shot crumpled Roman instantly, but when Neves followed up for the kill he bizarrely chose to throw an axe kick to his downed opponent that hit him square in the groin and stopped the fight for several minutes. After a point deduction and a long recovery period Neves got back to work, but by that point Szymanski was recovered and he rode out the rest of the third round en route to a dominant 30-25, 29-26, 29-26 unanimous decision. Kudos to Neves for staying in this one despite facing a lot of early adversity, but this was Szymanski’s fight and the 10-3 featherweight should be looking at a big opportunity against a top KSW featherweight next time out.

Fight 5:  Kamil Selwa (10-5) vs. Anzor Azhiev (6-2), 135 lbs

This bout between a KSW featherweight veteran and one of the better bantamweight working in the Polish regionals represented KSW’s first-ever 135 pound contest. Both men came into this historic bout with some momentum, as Selwa sported a four fight win streak dating back to an ACB 13 loss to UFC talent Damian Stasiak while Azhiev choked out featherweight Vaso Bakocevic in his last bout at KSW 33. Selwa’s goal through much of that fight was to keep things on the feet and score with his boxing skills, but Azhiev is a grappling menace and he did a great job of identifying and capitalizing on takedown opportunities. Selwa is certainly skilled on the ground as well and managed to defend effectively, but this one was all Azhiev once it hit the mat and he ended up scoring a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ cards. Anzor Azhiev uses his grappling acumen to advance his record to 7-2 and put himself in pole position for a shot at the inaugural KSW bantamweight title later this year.

Fight 4: Gracjan Szadzinski (5-1) vs. Kamil Szymuszowski (15-4), 155 lbs

Kzymuszowski is the former PLMMA welterweight champion and was ranked among the top contenders in the KSW 170 pound division before cutting to lightweight for this one. He was originally tasked with vaunted Russian lightweight Marif Piraev (13-1-1), but when Piraev was hospitalized with weight-cutting issues Gracjan Szadzinski took the call on just three days’ notice.  Szadzinski stepped into the biggest spot of his career fresh off a strong 2016 campaign that saw him go 2-0 in the Polish regionals, and he started the fight by applying strong pressure and looking for power strikes. Yet grappling beast Szymuszowski found his opening for the takedown soon enough and pounded away opportunistically on his short notice foe. The second and third rounds were much closer, with Gracjan staving off more of Kamil’s takedown attempts and making the fight a standup contest for extended periods as both men excited the crowd by tossing around heavy leather. In the end Kamil Szymuszowski did enough to earn a majority decision and run his record to 16-4, including 4-0 under the KSW banner. Much respect to Gracjan Szadzinski as well, who was very competitive throughout the fight on just three days’ notice and against the toughest foe of his young pro career.

Fight 3: Grzegorz Szulakowski (7-1) vs. Renato Gomes (20-9), 155 lbs

The Brazilian lightweight was aggressive early, forcing Szulakowski to the mat a few times, but the Polish fighter did a good job of scrambling and re-establishing position. Szulakowski achieved the first dominant position of the fight with a takedown and transition into mount, and he managed to sink a triangle choke that Gomes rode out to the first round bell. Szulakowski continued his ground domination in the second, advancing to mount and controlling the entire from from the top, before repeating that feat at the start of the final round. Finally Szulakowski managed to achieve the crucifix position and hail down a storm of elbows that forced the TKO stoppage at 4:19 of round 3.  Grzegorz Szulakowski advances to 8-1 and 3-0 in the KSW cage, and he looks like a strong domestic contender moving forward.

Fight 2: Sebastian Romanowski (11-7-1) vs. Lukasz Rajewski (6-2), 145 lbs

Romanowkski is a young veteran at age 26 who has been on a 1-3 downslide with losses to top competition in KSW, ACB, and FNG. While Rajewski is a year older he comes into this one looking like the stronger prospect, with five straight wins since he suffered back-to-back losses at KSW 27 and 30. This one started as a grappling battle with Romanowski searching for the takedown but Rajewski defending effectively. Sebastian continued to press the issue but was rejected at every turn, with Rajewski scoring the majority of the damage inflicted in rounds 1 and 2. Romanowski finally made some headway with a takedown in the third, but before long Rajewski was back to his feet and scoring points as the fight wound to a close. In the end all three judges saw this grueling battle the same way as Lukasz Rajewski advances to 7-2 and extends his win streak to five straight.

Fight 1: Maciej Kaziecko (2-0) vs. Tomasz Matusewicz (2-0), 155 lbs

The KSW 38 broadcast started out with a battle between early-career undefeated prospects. The 23 year old Kaziecko made quick work of his even younger 20 year old foe, blasting him early with strong body kicks before finding the target with a huge overhand right. Kaziecko followed up and seconds later the fight was waved off, your winner by TKO in his KSW debut is Maciej Kaziecko (3-0).

 

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