There’s a certain level of expectation when it comes to a Mariusz Pudzianowski fight. The KSW star and former World’s Strongest Man may look like someone’s overly buff grandfather at this point, but he still hits like a brick.
At KSW 61 on Saturday, it was Lukasz Jurkowski who found that out first-hand. In front of an arena full of fans, a first for the promotion since the onset of COVID-19.
Jurkowski opened the action, firing off a spinning kick early, and worked his jab. He’d repeat that spinning attack again later in the round, just missing up high. A low kick, however, nearly put him off balance. Pudzianowski fired a kick after nearly catching his opponent’s attempt. But the jab of Jurkowski continued to play a factor. Pudzianowski finally drove Jurkowski against the fence, but that would not last long — just long enough to get a “Pudzian” chant going in the Ergo arena. Jurkowski continued with his jab, but Pudzianowski caught his opponent with one of his own. Moments later, perhaps buoyed by that exchange, Pudzianowski drove into a takedown, putting Jurkowski on his back. Jurkowski closed his guard as the strongman went to work on top. Hammer fists and elbows followed, though he struggled to find the room he needed to work. Heavy shots to the body by Pudzianowski came in fits and starts, but Jurkowski escaped the round.
Jurkowski appeared to catch Pudzianowski early in the second, but then fired off a spinning back fist, very ill advised. That put Jurkowski off-balance enough to set up a takedown, and Pudzianowski moved to half guard. Soon enough, Jurkowski was rolling to his side, with little to do but cover up. Three full minutes remained in the round as Pudzianowski landed forearm strikes. A heavy forearm across the throat controlled Jurkowski whenever Pudzianowski wasn’t dropping bombs. Somehow, Jurkowski managed to move to his knees after a near-finish, and he was saved by the bell once again.
Jurkowski nearly didn’t make it back to his stool between rounds, however. It looked very much as if the fight could be stopped prior to the third. But Jurkowski soldiered on, and even managed to drop Pudzianowski with a spinning back kick! The strongman regrouped and landed another early takedown, however, putting the fight in his wheelhouse. It wasn’t long before the ground and pound ended it.
Fight of the Year it wasn’t, but Mariusz Pudzianowski is nothing but not entertaining. He has also won three straight fights, which might actually inch him to a title shot that could potentially close out his career. As iffy as some of his competition has been, there’s little to be lost from it.
Official Result: Mariusz Pudzianowski def. Łukasz Jurkowski by TKO, Round 3, 1:32