After Stopover in Bellator, Former UFC Heavyweight Phil De Fries Signs with KSW

Phil De Fries Bellator MMA
Phil De Fries Credit: Bellator MMA

Former UFC/Bellator heavyweight Phil De Fries has a new home.

Poland’s KSW has steadily emerged as a alternative destination for MMA free agents not happy with offers in the west. And it looks like they’ve snagged another name: Former UFC heavyweight Phil De Fries. De Fries (14–6 (1)) made a brief stopover in Bellator recently, submitting James Thompson at Bellator 191 in December. That, however, appears to have been his lone fight for the promotion. KSW announced Thursday morning that it had signed the English fighter.

De Fries also added that he was “very excited to compete for KSW.”

Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (which essentially translates to “martial arts confrontation”) has become the premiere MMA promotion in Poland, beating the UFC to the punch at a time when it had an established, dominant Polish champion in Joanna Jedrzejczyk. KSW 39 in Warsaw broke the UFC’s attendance record, as the event last year sold upwards of 56,600 tickets. The promotion has continued to make inroads in Europe, hosting cards in London, England and Dublin, Ireland in recent years.

De Fries is expected to make his debut for the promotion some time in the first half of 2018. With the win at Bellator 191, the heavyweight is on a 2 fight win streak. In his UFC tenure from 2011-2013, he went 2-3 in the promotion, with wins over Rob Broughton and Oli Thompson. De Fries also has a notable win over Brett Rogers outside the major promotions, and a loss to current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic back at UFC on Fuel TV 1.