According to KSW president Martin Lewandowski, most fans believed that Scott Askham was another can for Michal Materla to crush ahead of their first clash at KSW 42. Yet, it took just a little over a minute for the English debutant to dispatch the Polish legend when he connected with a well-timed body kick that ended their Lodz meeting abruptly.
Ahead of this weekend’s rematch at KSW 49 – this time for Mamed Khalidov’s newly-vacated middleweight crown – Materla denied that he shared the fans’ opinions ahead of his first date with Askham, having witnessed the success his striking skill set brought him during his time in the UFC.
“I’ve always got respect for my opponents,” Materla told MMA Fighting’s podcast.
“It doesn’t matter if he has fought in KSW or not. I knew that Scott was a very good striker and I knew it wouldn’t be any easy fight. He was better on the day, but this time the fight will be different, for sure.”
Considered one of the greatest to ever compete in a KSW cage, Materla doubts that losing to Askham in the fashion that he did affected his legacy. In fact, he thinks the rematch provides him with an opportunity.
“I don’t think it did really,” replied Materla when asked if the loss to Askham affected his legacy. “I’ve lost before and I want the people to remember me as a guy that never quit; that never gives up. Sometimes we make mistakes in the fight, but I always come back stronger.”
Materla underlined that he has a very different approach in mind for Askham this time around.
“It has to be different. Each time I lose a fight, I go back and I learn more skills and add more tools to my locker. I always try to do something new after I lose,” he said.
“We’ve changed a couple things for sure. I’ve put together three or four very strong training camps. Two was in Poland, one was in the United States and one was in Majorca. I’ve tried to be much more prepared for the fight than I was before.”
Although he didn’t manage to take the fight to the ground in their first meeting, “Cipao” believes he has a clear advantage in the grappling department.
“My background is jiu-jitsu and I always try to go to the ground with my opponents, but of course, at this level it’s not so easy to put the guys to the ground—especially when he has got skills in stand-up fighting. I know if we go to the ground I will have the advantage. I’m from a very strong grappling team in Poland, Berserkers Team. My coach is always preparing me for jiu-jitsu—it’s my strongest skill set for sure.”
The former champion is adamant that he will have the title wrapped around his waist again on Saturday night.
“I don’t know how the fight will finish, but I know my hand will be raised after it.”