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Ricardo Prasel at ’60 or 70 percent’ after injuries, but knows it’s still enough to beat Phil De Fries for KSW title

Ricardo Prasel
Photo via KSW

Ricardo Prasel isn’t at his best physically going into his KSW championship fight with Phil De Fries this Saturday in Poland, but is confident that even his diminished state will be enough to dethrone the promotion’s reigning heavyweight king in the main event of KSW 74.

“It was one of the most difficult preparations I’ve ever had,” Prasel told MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca. “I considered talking to my manager and pulling out of fight a month ago. In fact, I told him I wasn’t going to fight due to an injury. It’s an injury that has been bugging me since my last fight, but I did some injections that allowed me to fight and I’ll have surgery later. I chose to fight even though I’m not at my 100 percent so I wouldn’t let this opportunity for the belt get out of my hands.”

Prasel declined to reveal the injury he suffered so it won’t become a target in the fight, and said he was at 60 or 70 percent of his physical condition during camp. In his most recent bout, Prasel tapped Daniel Omielanczuk in under two minutes with an achilles lock.

“I was a huge underdog for my last two fights,” said Prasel, referring to his stoppage wins over Michal Kita and Omielanczuk at KSW, “and I chose to be in there now regardless of not being at my best, pain or no pain, to do everything I can. Even if I leave [the cage] destroyed, but bring the belt home. It’s a big dream to be fighting for this fight and I didn’t want to let it escape.”

The injury forced Prasel to adapt his training, he said, but “I don’t think it’s something that will affect me in the fight” because “the adrenaline will help me perform in there.”

“Phil is on a great winning streak, a UFC veteran who weights 285 pounds,” Prasel said. “He has heavy hips, comes from a wrestling background and smashes people until they give up. It’s a fight that, in theory, it’s a bit [bad for me] style-wise because I’m a jiu-jitsu guy, too. It’s going to be an interesting fight, one of the toughest guys I’ll ever face, if not the toughest so far, but I believe my jiu-jitsu is better than his.”

De Fries has won 12 of 15 bouts since leaving the UFC in 2013, and defended the KSW championship six times over the past three years.

Prasel, a former soccer player in Brazil and Europe, came up short in his RIZIN debut against 2022 PFL heavyweight finalist Ante Delija in 2018, and lost to Don’Tale Mayes for a UFC contract at Dana White’s Contender Series the following year. Now, he feels it’s his time to shine.

“I’m a former soccer player and now I’m fighting for the title of the biggest promotion in Europe,” he said. “I can’t put into words how gratifying it is to be here. I never expected to become a professional MMA fighter and now I’m fighting for a major title. People thought my sports career was over when I stopped playing soccer. Nobody expected I would get this far, not even my family. Not even me, really.”

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