It was a close-run thing, but KSW lightweight champion Marian Ziolkowski held on to his 155-pound title after a tightly-contested title tussle with Sebastian Rajewski.
The pair clashed in the main event of KSW 71 in Torun, Poland, as defending champion Ziolkowski was forced to get off the canvas to secure victory against a game challenger who pushed him all the way to the final bell.
Ziolkowski settled into the usual rhythm we’ve seen from him in past title defences as he worked smartly behind his rangy left jab in a steady opening round.
But in Round 2, Rajewski found his range and connected with a big shot that dropped the champion to the canvas. The challenger let his man back up, but then took him down to the canvas again after a sloppy kick from the champion.
The remaining rounds were tightly contested, but, after a wobbly middle portion of the fight, Ziolkowski returned to his fundamentals and negotiated his way through the championship rounds to earn scores of 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 from the three cageside judges.
It meant that “The Golden Boy” retained his title for the third consecutive time as he claimed the 25th victory of his career.
Zimmerman too good for Rozalski
In the co-main event of the evening, heavy hitters Marcin Rozalski and Errol Zimmerman traded leather in a special mixed rules striking bout.
Competing under the K-1 kickboxing ruleset, but wearing four-ounce MMA gloves, kickboxing legend Zimmerman finished former KSW heavyweight champ Rozalski after dropping the Pole twice in Round 1, then twice more in Round 2.
Zimmerman dropped Rozalski mid-way through the round with a pair of clubbing right hands, then scored a second knockdown with a thumping leg kick that left the Pole injured. But Rozalski was able to beat the count and continue the fight, and survive the round.
Zimmerman added another knockdown early in Round 2 with a flying knee, then a big follow-up right hand that decked Rozalski as he put himself one knockdown away from victory.
And that knockdown came moments later as Zimmerman sent the big Pole to the canvas for the fourth time to secure the TKO victory.
Torres outbattles Mankowski
The event also featured a thrilling lightweight clash between former welterweight champion Borys Mankowski and former featherweight title challenger Daniel Torres.
Both men left it all in the cage as they went back and forth in a rollercoaster of a three-round clash at 155 pounds.
And, when the fight went all the way to the final bell, it was Torres who earned the unanimous decision from the cageside judges to potentially put him next in line for a shot at the lightweight title.
KSW 71: Official Results
- Marian Ziolkowski def. Sebastian Rajewski via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) – for lightweight title
- Errol Zimmerman def. Marcin Rozalski via TKO (four knockdowns) – Round 2, 1:24 – K-1 in MMA gloves
- Daniel Torres def. Borys Mankowski via unanimous decision
- Artur Szpilka def. Sergey Radchenko via TKO (elbows) – Round 2, 2:50
- Roman Szymanski def. Valeriu Mircea via TKO (retirement) – Round 1, 5:00
- Jakub Wiklacz def. Bruno Santos via unanimous decision
- Michal Martinek def. Filip Stawowy via unanimous decision
- Donovan Desmae def. Artur Sowinski via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:42
- Marc Doussis def. Przemyslaw Dzwoniarek via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 2:59