KSW 80 Preview; Ruchała v Eskijew; Breese v Leśko

KSW return with their monthly dose of Polish MMA goodness this Friday night, only their second Friday card in their history. KSW 80 will take place on St. Patrick’s Day in Lubin, a City an hour’s drive away from the Silesian capital of Wrocław. There’s ten fights on deck, including one for a KSW international championship. This card is chock-full of talent.

An interim KSW Featherweight Champion will be crowned on the night. Incumbent title holder Salahdine Parnasse will attempt to turn his interim Lightweight title into the full belt on June 3rd at the PGE Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw. Robert Ruchała (8-0) has been a shining star in KSW’s new era, and the Nowy Sącz man is looking to add a belt to his trophy cabinet to join his five winner’s trophies. The 24-year-old is a savage grappler and burst onto the scene with a pair of armbar finishes. His striking has been coming on leaps and bounds every fight. In his last outing, he beat UFC veteran Damian Stasiak in Ruchała’s hometown in a very close, competitive fight, an outdoor show up in the mountains in October. This young man has a loyal following and he’s on the way to become one of the biggest stars in Poland. An extremely difficult task awaits him. Lom-Ali Eskijew (20-6) is an absolute savage. The UFD Düsseldorf man has the skills to pay the bills. This wounded lion is looking to bounce back from a defeat to Daniel Rutkowski (a man who may be UFC bound shortly) via split decision. The training room in his gym is filled with killers such as Roberto Soldić and Abus Magomedov. “Leon” is one of the most dangerous apex predators in that gym. The 30-year-old has a dominant wrestling game with a dangerous kickboxing game to match. When he smells blood, he invariably goes in for the kill. Knockout power on the feet and dangerous submissions on the mat, he can get it done anywhere. Eskijew loves a highlight reel finish and won’t give anybody an easy night. This is a big fight that will dictate the direction KSW is going.

Tom Breese (15-4) is looking to get back into the win column after losing a controversial TKO to Paweł Pawlak at KSW 76. The Englishman is an elite black belt in Jiu Jitsu and is a match for anyone on the feet. Big power flows through the Brummie’s hands and when in the right frame of mind, he’s a match for anyone in the world. Bartosz Leśko (12-2-2) steamrolled into KSW and beat Light Heavyweight prospect Damian Piwowarczyk by decision at KSW 70. The Gdynia man was a FEN mainstay before a solid stint in ACA. The 26-year-old is an artist in taking the back and synching in a choke and is very competitive in the stand up exchanges. Breese is his biggest test to date and he’ll be keen to show he’s up to the challenge.

Luis Henrique Da Silva (19-8) is a man who rocked up to KSW 75 and caused carnage. The UFC veteran landed the front kick to the face from hell against former LHW champion Tomasz Narkun. The Brazilian is on a three-fight win streak and his last five wins have come via knockout. The 33-year-old is steamrolling his way to a title shot and isn’t looking to take any prisoners along the way. Oumar Sy (7-0) is one of the hottest LHW prospects on the continent. The Frenchman is a well rounded finishing threat, mixing his five finishes with three knockouts and two rear naked chokes. The 6ft5in athletic phenom has eyes on the UFC and a win on Friday will give him a big leg up in that regard.

Damian Piwowarczyk (5-2) is a very bright prospect looking to steady the ship after losing two on the bounce. The 25-year-old dropped a decision to Bartosz Leśko back in May and was caught cold against Bogdan Gnidko, falling victim to a five-second knockout. The big 6ft5in man is a very skilled grappler who uses his long limbs in the submission game. The Białogard man can also cause issues in the striking realm. Bartłomiej Gładkowicz (9-3) came to prominence in the Babilon MMA promotion. “Clark Kent” came up short in his KSW debut with a decision loss to Oumar Sy. The Łódź native is well rounded and pairs his wrestling with his striking nicely. Both men have a lot of upside, with lots of clout to be won.

Kacper Koziorzębski (8-5) will be competing close to home on Friday night. The Wrocław man is 2-3 in the promotion and is generally known as a solid wrestler with decent striking. The 27-year-old is in need of a win and will look to use the home crowd to his advantage and get the win here. Borys Borkowski (4-2) is 1-2 in the KSW gloves. The Rzepin man is a fine kickboxer who has won three of his four wins with his striking. The 25-year-old’s losses have been to very tough opposition, Dominik Hamburger and Marcin Krakowiak. Lots at stake for both men.

Wojciech Kazieczko (3-0) is a very exciting young prospect. The 25-year-old is a dynamic kickboxer who has won two of his three victories via strikes. The Zielona Góra man has a very fan favourite style and fireworks are never far behind. In his amateur career, he got a win via a rare buggy choke. Danu Tarchila (5-1) is the new kid on the block. The Moldovan is an aggressive striker with a killer instinct. At 19-years-old, he’ll be one of the youngest fighters on the roster. For what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in bravery. Make no mistake, this is a big step up for him.

Michał Michalski (9-5) makes his first appearance since May 2021 and he is a fan favourite. Born about 30 minutes outside of Lubin, the local fans should be pretty voiceforius during his bout. The 33-year-old is 3-3 in KSW and all his wins have come via knockouts. The losses have come against very tough guys and he’s a kill or be killed kind of guy. Giorgi Kvelidze (10-4) is another newbie. The Georgian has that Caucus grappling background and a solid kickboxing game. He’s won three in-a-row and is looking to silence the crowd.

Emilia Czerwińska (2-0) showed an impressive wrestling defence game against Sara Luzar Smajić last time out. The accomplished kickboxing champion used her striking to finish her debut bout against Weronika Eszer. She is another fighter born nearby Lubin, about an hour away in Zgorzelec, not far from the German and Czech border. Yasmin Guimarães (4-1) will make her European debut on Friday evening. The Brazilian trains out of Rio de Janeiro and had a great striking record in the amateur ranks. After turning pro, the victories keep coming, however it’s by decision more often than not.

Mateusz Janur (6-5) is a bonafide, born and raised Lubin native. The 5ft11in middleweight has competed for Brave CF and Babilon MMA. He has some good kickboxing and is a quick starter who has gotten four opponents out of there in the first. Andi Vrtačić (3-1) is the latest Balkan warrior to join the KSW ranks. The 28-year-old is an exciting striker from Pula, a city long rumoured to host a KSW show in their 27 BC Colosseum. Two of his three wins have come via decision, however he likes to bring the heat.

Kamil Szkaradek (3-0) is a man with an impressive amateur career to ameliorate his undefeated pro record. The Nowy Sącz man is an all-rounder with solid grappling and decent striking. Two out of three wins on his pro record are decisions. Patryk Chrobak (3-2) takes this fight on a week’s notice after the previous opponent fell out. The Bielsko-Biala man is known as an exciting well-rounded fighter who goes hunting for finishes. The 23-year-old has two knockout wins and a submission. He was defeated in his KSW debut, a fight against experienced Paweł Polityło.

KSW 80 is live from 6pm Irish time on Saturday and access can be purchased at KSWTV.com or on the ViaPlay subscription service in select countries (including the U.K.).

Seán Denny is a Dublin man who writes mostly on the European scene, with a keen interest in the Irish, UK and Polish scenes in particular. Follow me on Twitter at @DennyRants.

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