British powerhouse Phil De Fries will be aiming to defend his KSW heavyweight crown at KSW 74 in September – having been booked in to face former Chelsea goalkeeper Ricardo Prasel.
Prasel, 32, joined the Blues as an 18-year-old third-choice goalkeeper under the tenure of Jose Mourinho, training alongside the likes of Petr Cech and Didier Drogba before being forced to retire from the sport in his early twenties due to injury.
Having switched to MMA and forged a fine record of 13-3, he will face his toughest test yet in the form of 36-year-old veteran De Fries who has been competing professionally since 2009.
READ MORE: Phil De Fries overcame crippling anxiety and UFC heartbreak before KSW heavyweight reign
The leading British heavyweight, fighting out of Sunderland, has successfully defended the KSW belt on six separate occasions since his 2018 win over Michal Andryszak.
His most recent defence came in the form of a five-round beat down of fellow former UFC contender Darko Stosic – who was forced to submit following a barrage of punches from the 6ft 4in powerhouse.
Prasel, meanwhile, has bounced back from defeat on Dana White's Contender Series to record two wins from as many KSW bouts – most recently triumphing over Daniel Omielanczuk.
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Having won that bout with a stunning Achilles lock after only 98 seconds, he turned to the crowd and gave them a brutal message before calling for his title shot.
He said: "Where is the underdog now? F*** you underdog, my name is Ricardo Prasel that is my name. I now I want a chance for the belt, this is my dream.
"I have two wins against two big fighters now [in KSW] and I'm very happy."
Prasel spoke back in 2018 of his move from football to MMA – and decided which one made him feel more special.
He said: "Even if not for a long time, stepping a foot on the Chelsea field and seeing so many stars was a dream come true. Fighting now is as incredible as playing for Chelsea. I saw the world through both sports."
Champion De Fries, who will go into the bout on a nine-fight win streak, has been on a long journey of his own to get to this point – finding an unlikely home on the continent after overcoming crippling anxiety.
He told Daily Star Sport earlier this year that he plans to call time on his career at the age of 40 to home school his two young daughters, but admits that anything can happen in MMA.
He said: "What ever happens, happens. But KSW have treated me very well. They've been absolutely great – they have been very honest. I'm very happy here but you never know what's going to happen."
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