Former Chelsea goalkeeper Ricardo Prasel fell short in his bid to become the KSW heavyweight champion as he ran into inspired British fighter Phil De Fries in Poland on Saturday night.
Prasel spent a season as Chelsea’s third-choice goalkeeper back in 2009/10, working alongside Petr Cech and Henrique Hilario under Carlo Ancelotti.
The 6ft 7in former shot-stopper was tormented by the likes of Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack in training, as they’d use him to practice free kicks every day and they ‘never missed’.
“At Chelsea, I got on so well with everyone. Hanging out with them for a few months was magical at that time, I was around the best in the world,” Prasel told the Daily Star.
After leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2010, he was forced to retire due to a hip injury while still in his early twenties but he has since managed to find success in a new sport.
“When I ended my playing career I thought my athlete life was over. I got into jiu-jitsu through my brother who already practiced it and that’s when it all started. It was the most remarkable thing I did in my life,” Prasel added.
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The 32-year-old is now among the best heavyweight fighters on the planet after picking up 13 wins from 17 professional MMA bouts.
Prasel almost got signed to the UFC back in 2019 but fell to a first-round TKO loss against Don’Tale Mayes on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Since then, he’s been making waves in KSW, picking up wins over Michal Kita and Daniel Omielanczuk to earn himself a title shot against De Fries.
The man from Sunderland defended his KSW Championship belt for the seventh time when he took down Prasel in round one before locking up a rear-naked choke submission for the win.
Post-fight, De Fries doubled down on his call out of five-time World’s Strongest Man turned heavyweight contender Mariusz Pudzianowski, who has won five consecutive fights by KO in KSW.
“I think ‘Pudzian’ is the No. 1 contender. He’s on a five-fight winning streak. Also, he’s the money fight and the big eyes fight. Maybe I’m just saying that to get the fight,” he told MMA Junkie pre-fight.
“They want the ‘Pudzian’ fight, but I think ‘Pudzian’ wants loads of money to do it. I don’t blame him. Like, why? He can get paid a fortune to fight non-ranked guys or wrestlers.
“So why fight a guy who is dangerous when you can get the same money elsewhere? So he wants them to pay him, and I want a little bit extra. I have nothing but respect for ‘Pudzian.’ I would love to fight him.”