Mamed Khalidov is the most legendary figure that the KSW banner has ever produced, but it took a loss to surging light-heavyweight champion, Tomasz Narkun, to rekindle his love for the fight game.
Ten years Khalidov’s junior, Narkun snapped the 38-year-old’s 20-fight unbeaten streak under the KSW banner with a third-round submission in the main even of KSW 42. Ever since the defeat, Khalidov claims he has been training with a new motivation; something he hopes will be a big factor in their rematch this weekend in Gliwice, Poland.
“It’s something that really had an impact on me because it was a long time since my last loss,” Khalidov told MMA Fighting.
“It’s a special rematch for me. To be honest, for my last three or four fights I was preparing without a certain motivation; that special fire you need for the big fights. That loss was really good for me because I was hungry for the training process for our rematch. I had lost my love for fighting to a certain extent before that happened.
“I feel like I’m training for this fight like the way I used to train when I was young. It feels like I’m training with a new motivation, its like I’ve got hot blood.”
At KSW 42, Khalidov was expected to be the slower starter of the two given Narkun’s size advantage, but he shocked the watching world when he knocked the towering Pole down twice in the first round. Despite getting on in years, “Cannibal” showcased some deft head movement in the second stanza before meeting his demise from a triangle a little over a minute into the third round.
Although he didn’t have his hand raised, Khalidov was fulfilled in the sense that he achieved his ever-present primary objective—entertaining the fans.
“The satisfaction of the audience has always been my priority; once the people enjoy the fight I’m happy. The second most important thing, of course, is winning, but that doesn’t always keep the fans on your side. What keeps the fans on your side is putting on entertaining fights.”
“I did a lot of striking in the lead up to that fight,” he added. “The plan was to come out fast and the plan was working. I think I should have used a lot more punches when I did take him down and looked for the knockout. When I had him down I thought it would be better to get the fight back on the feet because I had a lot of success in the striking exchanges earlier on. In the end, as we all saw, it didn’t work out for me.”
A win this weekend will further solidify Khalidov’s unparalleled legacy with KSW. However, his sole objective going into the KSW 46 main event remains the same as always.
“My main goal is to have the same fireworks again. I don’t want to have a boring chess match, I want the fans to get the same satisfaction from this fight as they got form the first fight. Yes, I made a mistake on the ground in our first fight, but I’ve worked a lot on that and I feel like my ground game is great too. For a long time I was known primarily a submission fighter, so I will be ready,” he said.
(Editor’s note: Quotes in this article have been edited for clarity and concision.)
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