Roberto Soldic registered a late candidate for knockout of the year as he starched KSW legend Mamed Khalidov to capture the middleweight title and become a two-division KSW champion at KSW 65 in Gliwice, Poland.
After a cagey start gave way to some heavy kick trading, a slip from Soldic gave Khalidov the chance to work from top position with the pair on the mat. But “Robocop” did a good job of working his way back to the fence and getting back to his feet before tossing Khalidov to the mat, then returning to the centre of the cage to resume his striking attack for the remainder of the round.
Soldic applied the pressure at the start of Round 2, using his low leg kicks to help slow Khalidov’s movement. Then, with Khalidov on his back, a stray kick to the Pole’s legs ended up inadvertenty landing in the middleweight champion’s groin, causing a lengthy pause to allow the veteran to recover.
When the action resumed, the pair engaged in a thrilling toe-to-toe exchange as Khalidov attempted to put the Croatian on the back foot.
But Soldic would not be denied and, after stinging Khalidov with a series of short punches, a colossal counter left knocked out Khalidov instantly, leaving the Pole a bloody mess on the canvas as KSW’s team of medics rushed into the cage to tend to the fallen champion.
A wild finish to a superb matchup, and a late contender for knockout of the year honours. Roberto Soldic wins the KSW middleweight title with a left hook from the heavens. #KSW65 pic.twitter.com/bQQb2SEMOc
— Simon Head (@simonhead) December 18, 2021
There was an anxious wait while Khalidov regained his senses, but the former champ eventually sat up and returned to his feet before sharing a moment of respect with Soldic before the Croatian was officially crowned a two-division KSW champion.
In the co-main event of the evening, Salahdine Parnasse avenged his knockout loss to Daniel Torres by defeating the Austria-based Brazilian in their rematch to recapture the KSW featherweight title.
Torres stunned Parnasse to claim the featherweight strap, but had already lost his title before setting foot in the KSW cage for the rematch after missing weight for the title tussle. But with Parnasse on championship weight, the title was still a factor for the Frenchman when the pair faced off for a second time.
And Parnasse made amends for his 109-second knockout loss at KSW 58 in January as he avenged his lone career defeat with a unanimous decision with a superb technical performance over five rounds to return to the top of the featherweight tree and improve his record to 16-1-1.
The KING is BACK!!! 👑
🇫🇷 @SalahdineP regains the KSW featherweight title!! #AndNew pic.twitter.com/O8guO3FqAe
— KSW (@KSW_MMA) December 18, 2021
Earlier in the night, veteran heavyweight Michal Kita added another win to his extensive record as he handed prospect Marek Samociuk a first-round battering to claim the 21st win, and the 13th knockout, of his career.
Kita went into the fight on the back of two TKO defeats as he lost to Phil De Fries and Darko Stosic. But the 41-year-old used all of his experience to get the finish as he forced his man to the mat, then hammered him with ground strikes to seal the victory.
There was also a big win for German featherweight contender Lom-Ali Eskijew, who outbattled Poland’s former UFC veteran Damian Stasiak in a thrilling three-round scrap at 145 pounds.
After earning a unanimous decision victory, Eskijew called for a shot at the KSW featherweight title, and his performance may just have pushed him toward the front of the queue to fight for the belt in 2022.
👑 CHAMP CHAMP 👑
🇭🇷 Roberto @Soldic_MMA 🇭🇷
👏👏👏 #KSW65 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/T1tXIOw8tL
— KSW (@KSW_MMA) December 18, 2021
KSW 65: Khalidov vs. Soldic – Official Results
- Roberto Soldic def. Mamed Khalidov via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 3:40 – for middleweight title
- Salahdine Parnasse def. Daniel Torres via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 49-46) – for featherweight title (Torres missed weight and was stripped of his title pre-fight)
- Lom-Ali Eskijew def. Damian Stasiak via unanimous decision
- Roman Szymanski def. Mateusz Legierski va TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:47
- Michal Kita def. Marek Samociuk via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:22
- Adam Niedzwiedz vs. Miroslav Brož scored a majority draw
- Damian Piwowarczyk def. Marc Doussis via submission (triangle armbar) – Round 2, 2:22
- Anita Bekus def. Magdalena Sormova via unanimous decision
- Patryk Likus def. Piotr Olszynka via knockout (spinning back elbow) – Round 1, 4:59
- Shamad Erzanukaev def. Bartosz Rewera via unanimous decision