KSW’s best fighter got a win in front of its largest crowd.
In a battle of champions, Mamed Khalidov defeated Borys Mankowski by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) in the catchweight main event of KSW 39: Colosseum on Saturday in front of more than 50,000 at PGE Narowody Stadium in Warsaw, Poland.
On the broadcast, KSW boasted that it drew 58,000 to the stadium, more than the UFC’s all-time attendance record of 56,214 set by UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm in 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Per KSW, this event is now second ever in attendance after Pride: Shockwave in 2002, which featured a main event of Mirko Cro Cop vs. Kazushi Sakuraba in Tokyo.
Khalidov, the KSW middleweight champion, didn’t completely dominate his welterweight counterpart, but controlled the fight throughout. Mankowski had his moments in the second and third rounds, especially with a hard right hand that seemed to drop Khalidov in the second, but Khalidov emerged as the winner on the judges’ scorecards.
Khalidov (34-4-2) is one of the best fighters in the world not currently in the UFC. The Poland native has won 14 straight fights and has not lost since 2010. Khalidov, 36, has 11 finishes in that span.
Mankowski (19-6-1) had six straight wins coming in, including over UFC veterans Jesse Taylor and John Maguire. Also a Poland native, he has not lost since 2012. Mankowski, 27, has held the KSW welterweight title since 2014.
In the co-main event, Polish hero Mariusz Pudzianowski defeated fellow former strongman Tyberiusz Kowalczyk by submission (strikes) at 2:50 of the second round.
Pudzianowski landed multiple hard leg kicks in the first round that opened up a nasty welt on Kowalczyk’s left calf. That ultimately led to Pudzianowski landing a big punch in the second, getting in top position and raining down hard strikes. A short elbow was the thing that triggered Kowalczyk tapping out and Pudzianowski followed with another big elbow before referee Marc Goddard could step in.
Pudzianowski (11-5, 1 NC) has now won two straight after a two-fight losing streak. The super heavyweight fighter is a former five-time World’s Strongest Man. Pudzianowski, 40, is KSW’s biggest draw and a major reason why they were able to bring so many people to PGE Narodowy Stadium. Kowalczyk (3-1) had won all three of his career fights via first-round stoppage coming in.
The rest of the card had its fair share of highlights. Marcin Rozalski won the KSW heavyweight title with a 16-second knockout of Fernando Rodrigues Jr. Rodrigues faceplanted after getting hit with a Rozalski right hand.
KSW light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun came away with a first-round submission win over challenger Marcin Wojcik. The finish came via triangle choke right at the end of the round.
There were three other title fights on the card as well. Mateusz Gamrot defended his lightweight title against UFC veteran Norman Parke by unanimous decision; Kleber Koike Erbst beat Marcin Wrzosek by unanimous decision to defend the featherweight belt; and Ariane Lipski won the inaugural women’s flyweight title by first-round submission over Diane Belbita.