By the age of 32, Mariusz Pudzianowski had already won five World Strongest Man titles, six European Strongest Man titles and had 16 Strongman Super Series victories.
After winning all the accolades in the sport on several occasions, the Polish Pudzilla set their sights on a new avenue – Mixed Martial Arts.
While it’s fair to say that Pudzianowski isn’t the most technical fighter you can meet, he rarely fails to disappoint when it comes to leaving fans on the edge of their seat.
This weekend, the Polish sporting legend returns to the cage to headline KSW 70 in a much-anticipated encounter with Michal Materla.
The Polish compatriot has been fighting professionally for nearly two decades and has 31 wins in 39 fights.
Ahead of the big fight, Planet Sport looks back on five of Pudzianowski’s most exciting victories.
5 – Rolles Gracie Jr
Rolles Gracie Jr comes from a proud family of fighters, but despite his experience in the UFC and WSOF, the Brazilian-American fighter came up short against Pudzianowski in 2015.
The Polish fighter ended the proceedings after just 27 seconds, making it his second fastest knockout.
An overhand right, followed by the Pole’s trademark ground and pound, ended the competition prematurely.
4 – Bomber
KSW 64 witnessed one of the “biggest” fights in the history of the organization as 587 pounds of humanity entered the octagon.
In one corner stood local favorite Pudzianowski. In the other was the 327-pound Senegalese wrestling sensation known as Bombardier.
In the end, the fight fell short of expectations as Pudzian knocked out his opponent in 18 seconds. Still, seeing these giants in the cage at the same time was a sight to behold. Moreover, the Pole deserves credit for his emphatic finish.
3 – Bob Sap
In one of the greatest freak show fights in MMA history, Pudzianowski took on former American football player, professional wrestler, actor, kickboxer and mixed martial artist, Bob Sapp.
After two disappointing performances against James Thompson, KSW needed to restore Pudzianowski’s killer image. There was no better way to do that than to put him in the ring with another man of limited skill.
The plan worked to perfection as Pudzian went straight after Sapp, brought him down the ropes and finished him off with a series of strikes.
Was it a great technical fight? No. Was the fight predictable? Yes. But was it exciting? Watch it and listen to these fans.
2 – Butter bean
With over 100 fights in boxing, MMA and kickboxing under his belt, Eric ‘Butterbean’ Esch is no joke.
At 43 however, the American was clearly past his prime when he faced Pudzianowski in 2010.
In one of the most surreal MMA encounters you’ll ever see, Pudzianowski tasted a few nasty punches before responding with a takedown and a ground-and-pound finish.
The American, who teased the Pole before the fight about his punches, said afterwards: “I never said he fought like a girl. he was hitting like a girl. His takedown was good. I can’t complain. He won.”
1 – Marcin Najman
This list is definitely not for MMA purists, and this fight is no exception.
However, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the casual Polish viewer to understand why it’s number one.
Pudzianowski, as Poland’s greatest sporting hero at the time, was making his debut against boxer Marcin Najman. While internationally people might have laughed, in Poland it was the Super Bowl of domestic fights.
Considering the pair had never had an MMA fight before, no one knew what to expect. In the end, what we got was a first-round punch, as Pudzian chased his opponent with kicks before blasting his way to the finish.
The most technical part of it all was the referee’s grip on Pudzian after the final. He probably would have put on a better show than poor old Najman.
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